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Larne Harbour and Anchorages

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Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign

Waypoint

5451.7N 00547.55W

Charts

AC 1237 Chart of Larne Lough & Approaches, AC 2198 Chart of North Channel Southern Part, SC5612-15 Chart of Larne Lough N Part, SC5612-16 Chart of Larne Lough S Part, C64 Imray Chart of Belfast Lough to Lough Foyle and Crinnan

Rules & Regulations

Yachts should not berth on any commercial quays, including Castle Quay, without HMs permission

Hazards

Hunter Rock 2 nm north east of Harbour entrance marked by lit South and North Cardinal Marks

Tidal Data Times & Range

High Water Dover +0100, Belfast + 0005. MHWS 2.8m MHWN 2.5m MLWN 0.8m MLWS 0.4m   (links)

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General Description

Larne Port Control   VHF #11     028 2887 2179
Harbour Master         028 2887 2100
East Antrim Boat Club      028 2827 7204    http://www.eabc.org.uk/?page_id=366
Blue Circle Boat Club Magheramorne   028 2827 3569 

The Port of Larne is a very busy commercial harbour. It’s basically the Dover of Northern Ireland, without the Marina. There is a continuous flow of ferries, some of them high speed cats, into and out of the Ro-Ro docks on the west side of the Lough entrance both day and night; the noise is continuous. 

The UKHO chart tidal diamonds show average flows through the narrows of just under 2 knots but speeds of up to 3.5 kts have been recorded.  There are plenty of places to anchor (listed below) within Larne Lough once through the entrance and some of these are pleasantly secluded but the foreshore can be muddy which may preclude landing. The only anchorage which gives access to shops etc is the East Antrim Boat Club at Wymers Jetty on Curran Point and even then it’s a fair old hike through the lorry parks etc to get to them.

The east side of the entrance is dominated by Ballylumford Power Station and there are no shops there. There is a small Boat Dock on that side but it is very shallow and normally crowded with local fishing dories and angling boats.  On the other hand the two bays outside and to the SE of the entrance (Ferris & Brown’s) offer good overnight anchorages and there is a landing spot in the SW corner of Browns Bay not too far (about half a mile) along the coast from a small shop/PO which also stocks Calor Gas. Mind you it would be unwise to use those anchorages in unsettled conditions.

The one good thing about Larne is that if you wanted to pick up crew in N.Ireland they’d only have to lugg their dunnage about quarter of a mile from the Ferry terminal to the East Antrim Boat Club to join you. (Ferries run from Stranraer, and in the summer from Troon; the Fleetwood ferry has been taken out of service ). 

Apart from that Larne has little to attract the cruising yachtsman - it’s a culture shock after the little harbours and anchorages around the rest of the Irish Coast and although it is an extremely good bolt hole if caught out by the weather once inside, unless already well provisioned, everything is just a little difficult and time consuming. ... read more

Approach

Tidal Information:

The tidal streams flow through the entrance normally turning at High & Low Water; about half way through the flood a weak counter current sets in, flowing northwards past the Yellow Stone and Ballylumford “A” Jetty reaching a maximum of a knot or so at Springs, useful if trying to make an early start to catch the ebb Northwards up the Antrim coast

Approach:

Whichever way you are coming in, although it is not mandatory, you should call the “Larne Port Control” (VHF#11) and let them know your intentions.

From the North plan to pass between Ballygalley Head and The Maidens rocks to the Initial Fix (see chartlet) and watch out for ferries closing from the port bow as one closes with the No1 green buoy. Cross to the East side of the deep water channel before abeam that buoy.

From the South come round the north end of the Island Magee giving the headlands a good couple of cables offing, don’t bother with the Initial Fix or the No1 buoy, watch for ferries overtaking on the Starboard quarter and stay to the East Side of the deep water channel.

There are Lead-in-Marks on the far shore opposite the entrance but aim to come in to the left of them with the taller of the two occulting lights a bit to the left of the lower light.  The harbour is accessible in all weathers day and night; the main problem at night is that the whole area is awash with lights so picking out the navigation lights will be difficult if not familiar with the Lough.

If intending to use the anchorage off Wymers Jetty, do not cross to that side until clear of Phoenix Quay, the fourth and last Ro-Ro quay on the West side. ... read more

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

There is nowhere in Larne Lough for an alongside berth; the Boat Harbour shown on the chart opposite the Ro-Ro quays has 0.6M at LAT so would have enough water for a very shallow draught boat at neaps but even then once in, if there is room (unlikely), there is nothing here for a visiting yachtsman except the small foot passenger ferry to Larne from there. That ferry is run for the convenience of the shift workers at the power station so it would be wise to book in advance. ... read more

Your Ratings & Comments

5 comments
UPDATE APRIL 2017
Written by Don Thomson | 11th Apr 2017
I reviewed these notes in April 2017. Nothing seems to have changed here but I've updated the chart in the gallery
Update 2015
Written by dononshytalk | 1st Apr 2015
These notes were reviewed by Don in April 2015. The changes advised by our members have been incorporated in the main text.
Larne Port Control
Written by larneyin | 21st Feb 2014
Larne Port Control now uses Ch11
Update November 2013
Written by dononshytalk | 22nd Nov 2013
Updated 21st November 2013 by Don Thomson. No changes were made and the East Antrim Boat Club website was not added to the main text as it contains information relevant to Club members
Larne update
Written by larneyin | 2nd Feb 2012
Stena Fleetwood run closed December 2010. P&O run to Cairnryan 5 miles north of Stranraer - 7 sailings each way on weekdays, 6 on Sundays. Fast Ferry service to Troon & Cairnryan during summer months (mid-March - mid-October). East Antrim Boat Club web site: www.eabc.org.uk
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