Marina Information (use the icons to find out more)

Canvey Area (inc Southend, Leigh on Sea, Benfleet, and Holehaven)

Your Comments: 5 Read or add your comments

Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign


Off end of Southend Pier 51:30'.8 N 000:43'.4 E Hole Haven Entrance 51:30'.5 N 000.33'.235 E


Admiralty, 1185, SC5606

Rules & Regulations

8 knt Speed Limit in Creeks


Shipping in the Main Channel, Creeks all Dry Out.

Tidal Data Times & Range

Dover +0125 At Southend MHWS 5.8m, MHWN 4.7m, MLWN 1.4m, MLWS 0.5m   (links)

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General Description

The area described stretches from Southend Pier to Hole Haven Creek, and is home to a couple of thousand shoal draft yachts and other shallow craft. These are either moored off the foreshore or tucked up in the muddy little creeks. One thing they all have in common is that they take the ground when the tide leaves (except perhaps for a few fishing boats moored at Holehaven and in Ray Gut).

In general the area is not suitable for deeper draft fin keelers, except for a couple of temporary anchorages, a long way from any facilities.

The town of Southend is fronted by extensive drying mud flats that reach almost to the end of the pier. A deepwater gutway runs inwards towards Leigh on Sea and branches off a short way to Smallgains Creek, which houses a boatyard with mud berth moorings at the eastern extremity of Canvey Island. Another arm continues past Two Tree Island where many small craft are moored in semi shelter and then winds and twists it's way up Benfleet Creek, where there are two yacht clubs with extensive drying moorings and a boatyard, (that nestle in total shelter no matter what the wind is doing). ... read more


Yachts and motorboats making for Leigh on Sea, Canvey or Benfleet will have to locate Ray Gut, and should allow a suitable rise of tide before starting the run in from the Sothend Pier area. Those making for Holehaven will be to the south of the Sea Reach shipping channel (i.e on the Kent side, out of the way of shipping.) Pliotage directions are now given:

The harbour authority in this area is the PLA, and in this particular area above the Sea Reach No.4 Buoy and Crayfordness operates on VHF channel 68, and can be telephoned on 01474 660311. They operate patrol launches callsign " Thames Patrol" also on VHF channel 68. A link is provided below to a part of their site dealing with safety and regulations:

... read more

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

Ray Gut can provide a useful Anchorage for even deeper draft craft on a temporary basis. Although it doesn't look too promising on the chart, it is not as totally exposed as it looks. If the wind is in the North you have the lee of the land, while if it has South or Southwest in it, the extensive drying banks to windward will give you some shelter from the waves.

At low water within the gutway, all will be calm but as the tide gradually covers the steep banks things will get more lively. Even at high water the banks take some sting out of the waves.There are no facilities nearby and anchoring here can feel very isolated, especially when the tide is fully in and you appear to be anchored in the middle of nowhere.The holding ground is good but it may be worth buoying your anchor in case it fouls any old ground tackle on the seabed.

The other possible mooring options are Smallgains Creek (Canvey Island) and Benfleet Creek, both only suitable for boats able to take the ground. Holehaven on the other side of Canvey Island can provide a deeper water anchorage.  These are now described:
... read more

Your Ratings & Comments

Written by Moonfish | 7th Sep 2016
As from 1100 today(07/09/2016) the chimney at Grain on the Hoo peninsula. Has been demolished. This long standing navigational aid has gone
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Update Spring 2016
Written by dononshytalk | 23rd Mar 2016
These notes were reviewed by Don in March 2016. A link has been provided to the Benfleet Yacht Club's 2015 survey of Benfleet Creek but you should be very aware that the depths around here are very much a moving feast.
Update April 2014
Written by dononshytalk | 16th Apr 2014
These notes were reviewed April 2014. The chart in our gallery is the latest and it appears that the buoyage at the entrance to the Ray Gut has changed and there are new soundings all the way up. Whatever else, it is clear that the present "Leigh" SHM needs to be left to PORT when entering this channel and this information has been confirmed by a local tug skipper
sea fishing along the coast of essex
Written by joe | 22nd Jul 2013
im 38 and been sea fishing for over ten years, i can honestly say i have had no results along southend coast from beach, i think this trolling for cod and flat fish like dabs should be banned until we start getting results, i find it to be disappointing living near the Thames and having to travel to Clayton to where the best coast is for fishing. best result i ever had is from old Leigh on sea, i caught bass which was very good for size but still little under size to eat, i caught flounders from the beach in Leigh which were good size and nice to eat, boat angling is very good at times out by the towers, ive had 10 dog fish in under hour, which was only 1 off, after me fishing these waters in spring are good, but only on Boat. thank you people i keep you up dated
Update 2013
Written by dononshytalk | 25th Mar 2013
Thsea notes were reviewed by Don T on the 25th March 2013. The only real change is the ownership and telephone number of the Marina at Smallgains Creek and they are still a very cheap option. If you explore the Benfleet YC website you'll notice a "new" navigational warning about buoyage in the Gore Channel on the North Kent Coast and another reference protective berms over the cables out to the Kentish Flats Wind Farm - both those changes have already been edited on to the Admiralty charts and are available to visitmyharbour members.
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