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Portsmouth Harbour 1- Entrance plus Haslar, Camber and Gunwharf

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Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign


None Given


Admiralty 2036, 2037, 2045, 2628, 2629, 2631, SC5600

Rules & Regulations

Boats under 20m must use Small Boat Channel, All must keep watch on VHF Ch 11 (in entrance), 10Knts Speed Limit in Harbour. Must Keep 50m Away from MOD Ships and Property, and 100m away from submarines.


Narrow Busy Entrance with Strong Tidal Flows

Tidal Data Times & Range

HW +0029 Dover, MHWS 4.7m, MHWN 3.8m, MLWN 1.9m, MLWS 0.8m Tide tables:   (links)

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General Description

For the small craft mariner, Portsmouth is unmissable. The entrance is subject to strong tidal streams, very narrow, tightly controlled, and extremely busy. Once through the entrance things open right up, and deeper within there are vast drying areas traversed by well marked channels. The visiting yachtsman or motorboater will find numerous mooring opportunities. Portsmouth is a historic Naval City, and everywhere you go will be reminded of this. For those with a love of the sea it is a must.

From the days of Henry VIII and the capsising of the Mary Rose right up to the modern nuclear powered submarines and aircraft carriers, Portsmouth has seen them all. The visitor will have ample choices to look at various exhibits and restored vessels, from the remains of the Mary Rose, HMS Victory, HMS Warrior, and various submarines at Haslar.

The harbour is naturally formed with an entrance only around 200 m wide, and with a tremendous number of large ship movements you can expect a ship movement through the entrance roughly every five minutes. Extreme care is required with the harbour being under control of the Queen's Harbour Master, whos' staff are usually afloat  shepherding small craft mariners through the entrance.

There are a raft of rules and regulations (c/w dire penalties for transgressions) to ensure that accidents don't occur in the narrow entrance. ... read more


Pilotage directions for Portsmouth Harbour...  Before making any attempt at entry, it will be wise to read through and understand the rules and regulations regarding the boat channel. These are published in the "More Info" section of our coverage.  Note main entrance channel and small craft channel have changed, QHM notice(s) ... read more

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

For the visiting yachtsman or motorboater there are plenty of opportunities for berthing your boat just within this historic harbour.  Very close to the entrance on the Gosport side is Haslar Marina, and it's close to the Gosport ferries that can take you across to Portsmouth.

Two other marinas,  Gosport Marina,  and the Royal Clarence Marina come up just after Haslar on the Gosport side. These are covered in a separate article.  All have visitors berths available.

Finding a mooring on the Portsmouth side is more difficult, and involves getting permission and crossing the busy harbour. Gunwharf Quay and the Camber Docks are the only possibilities.

On the Western side within a short distance of the entrance is Haslar Marina. For many this popular marina is the easiest option to go for.

... read more

Your Ratings & Comments

What to do when you visit Portsmouth...
Written by Bryant | 23rd Sep 2017
Expand the "Eating Drinking and Entertainment" section for detailed coverage from VMH member Garry Flashman
Portsmouth Harbour - Small Boat Channel moved to the west
Written by Mark Turner | 25th Apr 2017
The latest Portsmouth Harbour LNTM shows that inbound and outbound traffic should leave no 4 Bar buoy close to port, following the extensive dredging and re-alignment of the main shipping and small boat channels. Previously, the small boat channel ran to the west of No 4 Bar buoy and inbound traffic left No4 Bar to starboard..

1 of 1 people found this helpful
Update Spring 2016
Written by dononshytalk | 21st Mar 2016
These notes were reviewed by Don in March 2016. Everyone has increased their prices and where we have been able they have been updated for the 2016 season.
Update April 2014
Written by dononshytalk | 2nd Apr 2014
These notes were reviewed April 2014. As far as we can tell there are no changes in the facilities; some of the marinas have increased prices, others remain the same; all have been updated to 2014. The only thing to note is that, in a perusal of Local Navigation Warnings, we noticed a couple referring to the Oil Fuel Jetty and especially the hazard caused by mooring lines to dolphins outside the entrance to the Gosport Marina. We have attempted to describe this mooring but if you are in any doubt and do intend to use the Gosport Marina, give the QHM a call for clarification.
2 of 2 people found this helpful
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