Harbour Information

You are viewing the expanded version of this Harbour, for faster browsing
use the regular version here

Ramsgate Harbour

Your Comments: 13 Read or add your comments

Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign


Entrance 51:19'.5 N 001:25'.5E


Admiralty, 1827, 1828, SC5605

Rules & Regulations

Call Ramsgate Port Control on VHF channel 14 before entry. Contact Ramsgate Marina on channel 80 for berthing instructions when entering the Royal Harbour.


Commercial traffic. Goodwin and other associated Sands.

Tidal Data Times & Range

HW +0020 Dover MHWS 4.9m, MHWN 3.8m, MLWN 1.2m, MLWS 0.4m. Tide-tables:   (links)

This site is designed for slower, roaming broadband connections, like you would get at sea, so it needs JavaScript enabled to expand the text.

General Description

Ramsgate Port Control tel 01843 572112 VHF #14
Ramsgate Marina  tel 01843 572100  VHF #80

Ramsgate is a useful and important harbour of refuge if you are coming from the English Channel and heading towards the Thames or the North Sea. Likewise if you are heading south and west from these areas. It can be tackled in all weathers short of storm force winds from the East.

There is no longer any ferry traffic out of Ramsgate to the Continent (which simplifies entry and departure for the visiting yachtie) but that has been replaced by a considerable amount of commercial traffic servicing the offshore windfarms. This traffic works out of the East Marina and is given priority over leisure traffic.

Accommodation for small craft consists of one area in the tidal harbour and a much larger locked in area. There are plenty of berths available even for quite large craft, and if you need to abandon your boat for a while the inner harbour could prove very useful...

Entry and exit can be made by normal draft craft at all states of the tide, but exceptionally deep draught vessels (2 m) are advised to wait a couple of hours either side of low water. There is no problem with depths in the approach or entrance to the main harbour (where the ferries ply), but the entrance to the Royal Harbour although dredged to 2 m can get silted up.

Once inside the so-called Western Marina is dredged to 3 m, likewise with the locked Inner Harbour.

Yachts are welcomed by the harbour authorities, and the berths are right in the town making provisioning simple. Furthermore hauling and repairs can be tackled by an army of specialists who are close at hand.

The harbour was developed to serve the fleets sailing ships that once had to anchor in the Downs nearby, either waiting for a suitable wind for travelling "Down Channel", or "Up Thames". The Downs Anchorage proved a graveyard for a great many unmanoeuvrable square rigged sailing ships. Once caught there by storm force easterlies there was no escape. The sad remains of these vessels litter the area. (See the history section).


Whichever direction you approach Ramsgate from you will have to deal with the dredged shipping channel that leads into the outer harbour. It is a requirement that you call the harbour control on #14 to advise them of your intentions both inbound and outbound

This is extremely well marked with green conical starboard hand buoys, red can port hand buoys as well as cardinal marks.

If these don't make things clear enough there are also a pair of leading marks within the outer harbour consisting of a black-and-white triangle with the apex pointing downwards as the rear and a black triangle with a white stripe, apex pointing upwards as the forward mark.

At night a sectored light shows the way for the shipping, it's narrow white sector showing the channel. (DirOc.WGR.10s5M). A further white light (Oc.5s) is mounted behind this on the leading line.

For yachtsmen or motorboaters this isn't too relevant because they have to keep out of the approach channel anyway.......

The nature of the commercial traffic into Ramsgate has changed since the demise of the Continental Ferries but that has been replaced by up to twenty Wind Farm catamarans a day and several large cargo ships per week importing cars.  The wind farm traffic fans out when leaving the harbour, most of it going to and returning from the NE whilst the car importers stick to the entry channel. 

Further Pilotage Directions..

In the approach Ramsgate can be a little difficult to identify as the breakwater is low-lying.The tide sets across the harbour entrance in a NE/SW direction, with the north going tide running from about 1½ hours to HW to 4 hours after HW.

When coming from the South you will have either passed through the Gull Stream channel through the Goodwins or have passed completely outside of them. The main thing is to identify the entrance channel markers and stay south of them. Pay attention to the West Quern Bank which you most probably will leave well to port. (Unless perhaps coming from Sandwich).Run parallel to the dredged channel and either call Ramsgate Port Control on VHF channel 14 as you get close or lurk in the small craft holding area to the south of the South Breakwater awaiting permission to enter.

Approach from the East also involves identifying the shipping channel, and then keeping to the recommended yacht track which parallels it to the South. The instructions given above can then be carried out.

From the North just keep about a mile offshore and once more in the approach identify dredged channel. The recommended crossing for yachts is accomplished by identifying the number three green conical buoy (Fl.G.2.5s). Leave this on your port hand side and crossing the dredged channel at 90° (i.e. heading south). Once across the narrow channel turn hard to starboard and parallel the main channel inwards. Obviously before crossing the dredged channel have a good check both ways for shipping and if unsure radio in. Remember the shipping is constrained by draft and has right of way. Another small craft holding area has been established to the North of the number three green conical buoy where you are expected to wait if you have to linger while ferries come or go. The Harbour understands that many yachts from the North will want to sneak in around the North breakwater and they are comfortable with this;  but do be aware it is the shallower approach!! Ed Note 2018 This is even more true now that there is no ferry traffic.

Traffic signals are displayed at the root of the Northern breakwater. Three vertical green lights displayed here show that it is clear to enter and three vertical red lights mean no entry. A flashing orange light means that a ferry movement is occurring so no vessels should enter the approach channel (or if you are inside the Royal Harbour you must not leave).  Co-located with those lights are traffic signals facing in towards the Royal Harbour and we will explain those below.

After receiving permission to enter from Ramsgate Port Control on VHF channel 14 (24 hours a day) make your entry and head for the Royal Harbour which will be on your starboard side. Do not cut the corner as there are shallows, instead head north-westerly until the entrance opens up completely and you can see a green conical buoy on your starboard side marking these shallows. Leave this well to starboard, and note that the once seasonal red can buoy is laid to the port side of this entrance channel is now permanent. Let the chart be your guide  (re the seasonal red can - the Droggie has yet to update his chart)

Rest assured that although Ramsgate was a busy ferry port, it was nothing like on the scale of Dover for traffic movements. My first entry here many, many years ago ( sans GPS, sans VHF) simply involved approaching the entrance cautiously from the North East, checking all was clear and sailing in.... Nowadays that is even more true.

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

Once inside the Royal Harbour you will see that Ramsgate Marina actually consists of three distinctly separate areas.

Immediately on your port hand side as you enter is the so-called Western Marina. This is the place most visitors make for immediately. It is apparently dredged to 3 m so deep draft craft should have no problems here. Pontoons are being refurbished in Feb 2010, and should be ready soon before the season starts.  Be aware that the fingers in the Western basin have been strengthened with triangular plates so it's a good idea to put some extra fenders for'd.  These can be seen on Googlemaps


More details and prices...

Slightly deeper into the harbour lies the Eastern Marina... this has slightly less water available and is mainly used by fishing craft and boats servicing the new windfarms. The windfarm boats are a newish feature in this harbour, and their activity should be taken into account by visitors.

If gilling around sorting sails and fenders be aware of the drying bank in what appears to be a large expanse of water on the eastern side of the harbour. It is marked by a green conical buoy (Fl.G.5s) at its western extremity.

If there doesn't appear to be any berths in the Western Marina (which has some long pontoons and many finger berths) call Ramsgate Marina on VHF channel 80 or telephone 01843 572110 (this is the dockmaster - if no reply call 572 100) for instructions. In the normal course of events berths are plentiful in this western section. A link to the website is below:

The third section of the Marina is for longer term stays by arrangement. It is entered by a lifting bridge and a gate which opens approximately 2 hours either side of high water. The entrance lies just to the west of the Eastern Marina, and when the gate is open a red and yellow flag is displayed during the day, with a single green light by night.

The summer charges at the Marina (2022) are £3.33 per metre per night with short stays of less than four hours at 50% of the daily rate. The charge  includes electricity. The winter charges are about 50p a metre less.

For leaving your boat a bit longer the charges come out at £19.72 per metre per week or £76.04 per metre per 28 days. Skippers are asked to report on VHF Channel 14 before leaving the Royal Harbour because of possible ferry movements. Skippers should also check the signals at Port Control facing the Royal Harbour; if these are red you should hold in the Royal Harbour (or on the pontoon) until they are green. If they are red there will be augmented by the flashing orange Ferry Terminal Movement Signal

This Marina is run by the local council...

The information above was checked in March 2022


Water and electricity are available on the pontoons, with WiFi available through the harbour. Ashore you will find a modern ablutions block with free toilets, showers and a coin-operated launderette. There is 24 hour security with the inevitable CCTV.

For the boat both diesel and petrol are available from the fuel barge which is adjacent to the north entrance to the West Marina. Fuelling is possible from 7:38 AM to 8 PM in the summer.

Both Calor and Camping Gaz refills are available close by.

A 40 tonne travel lift can handle most liftings, with all kinds of repair services available from pressure washing onwards. Many of the marine related businesses are located in the Arches behind you the harbour, so are therefore very close by.Here you will find Chandlers (Calor gas and camping gas), engineers, sail makers and repairs.

For trailer Sailer's there are two slipways one in the inner harbour, and another by the East Marina. Both have 5 tonne weight limits and usable only by prior arrangement the Marina (details given above).

The Royal Temple Yacht Club is the resident and welcoming club for Ramsgate. Their premises overlook the harbour and they make a point of offering hospitality to the visiting yachtsman. They can be contacted on 01843 591766, and we provide a link to their website below:


The town can meet all the provisioning needs, and is close by. Banks with cashpoints plus all the High Street names can be found.

Transport is covered by a mainline railway station which offers frequent services to London Victoria and Dover. Non-stop coaches to London are also available from near the Inner Marina as are local buses. The car ferry services do not take foot passengers and sail to Ostend.


Ramsgate is a seaside town on the Isle of Thanet in east Kent, England. It was one of the great English seaside towns of the 19th century and is a member of the ancient confederation of Cinque ports. It has a population of around 40,000. Ramsgate's main attraction is its coastline and its main industries are tourism and fishing. The town has one of the largest marinas on the English south coast and Port Ramsgate has provided cross channel ferries for many years.
History of Ramsgate

Ramsgate began as a fishing and farming hamlet. Ramsgate as a name has its earliest reference as Hraefn's ate, or cliff gap, later to be rendered 'Ramisgate' or 'Remmesgate' around 1225 and 'Ramesgate' from 1357. The legendary mercenaries Hengest and Horsa landed in the 5th century to herald the pagan Anglo-Saxon age in England. The Christian missionary St. Augustine landed in Ramsgate in 597 which re-established the link between England and the Christian church in Rome.

Ramsgate's harbour is a defining characteristic of the town. The construction of Ramsgate Harbour began in 1749 and was completed in about 1850. The Harbour has the unique distinction of being the only Royal Harbour in the United Kingdom. Because of its proximity to mainland Europe, Ramsgate was a chief embarkation point both during the Napoleonic Wars and for the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940.

The Downs

The Downs are a roadstead or area of sea in the southern North Sea near the English Channel off the east Kent coast, between the North and the South Foreland in southern England.

The Downs served in the age of sail as a permanent base for warships patrolling the North Sea and a gathering point for refitted or newly-built ships coming out of Chatham Dockyard, such as HMS Bellerophon, and formed a safe anchorage during heavy weather, protected on the east by the Goodwin Sands and on the north and west by the coast. They also lie between the Strait of Dover and the Thames Estuary, so both merchant ships awaiting an easterly wind to take them into the English Channel and those going up to London gathered there, often for quite long periods. In 1639 the Battle of the Downs took place here, when the Dutch navy destroyed a Spanish fleet which had sought refuge in neutral English waters.

It has depths down to 12 fathoms (22 m). Even during southerly gales some shelter was afforded, though under this condition wrecks were not infrequent. Storms from any direction could also drive ships onto the shore or onto the sands, which — in spite of providing the sheltered water — were constantly shifting, and not always adequately marked.

Links to information concerning shipwrecks in the Downs area:



Ramsgate's main industries are tourism and fishing. The town has a thriving marina with over 800 moorings and a range of marine-related businesses that operate in premises in the renovated arches under Royal Parade. The town caters for students of EFL (English as a foreign language) at its colleges.

Although Ramsgate has the most valuable fish landings in Kent (~£700,000 in 2003), the fishing industry is in decline.

Port Ramsgate has provided cross channel ferries for many years. Previously Sally Ferries provided a service of passenger and car ferries to Dunkirk. Currently a service of freight and car is provided to Oostende.

There is some light industry in the town. An emerging industry is power generation, with 800 jobs expected to be created by the Thanet offshore wind project, a wind farm just off the coast.

Ramsgate Market is held in High Street, King Street and Queen Street every Friday and Saturday between 8a.m. and 4p.m.


Ramsgate's main attraction is its coastline, particularly Ramsgate Main Sands, which has been awarded a 2008 Blue Flag award. The water quality, tested in 2007, passed the legal minimum, mandatory standard.

The local council publishes a website specifically aimed at tourists visiting Ramsgate and neighbouring towns.

The previous prime seafront site which was Ramsgate pleasure park is currently undergoing major redevelopment.

Ramsgate has developed a continental cafe style culture with bars and restaurants on its seafront parade.

There is an annual Powerboat Grand Prix event based out of the harbour of Ramsgate during the summer. Ramsgate carnival is an annual parade also during the summer. Other events include the annual Addington Street Fair and the French Market.

Port Ramsgate

The harbour provides shelter from the effect of storms and is close to the Goodwin Sands. It is now the site of one of the largest and most thriving marinas on the English south coast (there were 12,000 visiting boats in 2005) with 800 moorings.

The town has had a long and chequered relationship with cross channel ferries. Passenger ferries to Dunkirk were operated for many years by Sally Ferries who eventually were forced to close due to stiff competition from Dover-Calais ferries and the Channel Tunnel. Transeuropa Ferries passenger(with vehicle only) and freight ferries now frequently sail to the Port of Ostend in Ostend, Belgium.

Hovercraft were formerly operated (from 1969 until 1982) by Hoverlloyd from Pegwell Bay, near Ramsgate, to Calais.

By Road

Ramsgate is connected to the national road network primarily through the A299Thanet Way which continues onto the M2/A2 for the M25(approx 1 hour) and London. The A256 provides a link to Dover and onwards onto the A20 for the Channel Tunnel. Bus services are provided by Stagecoachbus' "Thanet Loop" scheme.

By Rail

Ramsgate railway station is situated at the top of the town near the parish of St Lawrence.

A new high-speed service to London has been announced and is planned to start in December 2009. According to the South Eastern Railway company, it will be part of the UK's first high speed 'Javelin' commuter service, and the journey time from Ramsgate to the new St Pancras terminal, with excellent transport links, will be 84 minutes.

Currently, trains run from Ramsgate to London Charing Cross and London Victoria. Commuting time to the capital is currently 1 hour 50 minutes.

The trains pass via Margate, Chatham and Bromley South, or via Canterbury West or Dover Priory and Ashford International. Ramsgate railway station is operated by Southeastern (train operating company).

The text on this HISTORY page is covered by the following licence

Eating, Drinking & Entertainment

The hungry and thirsty crew will probably not be disappointed with Ramsgate. For eating out the choices start with McDonald's and range through Indian, Thai, Greek, and Chinese... not forgetting continental and seafood restaurants. A good selection of pubs and wine bars are also available.... for further investigation a couple of links are provided below:



Eating Out.

THE 10 BEST Restaurants in Ramsgate - Updated June 2023 - Tripadvisor


Your Ratings & Comments

Good vibe
Written by rupertemerson | 9th May 2022
Ramsgate has come up in the world in the last few years and now offers interesting "alternative" businesses and eateries in the arches. Have a peep inside the Greek restaurant (spicy pastourma recommended). The Royal Temple Yacht Club is very friendly and welcoming, also offering spotless overnight accommodation. The pontoons remain less than ideal and some screech as they bounce. Facilities were on the blink but the marina had half prices to compensate in May 2022. There is a decent Waitrose behind the RTYC for victualling.
Update May 2022
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 3rd May 2022
I reviewed these notes in May 2022. The prices quoted have been checked for this year and are still quite low when compared to the rest of the South Coast. Lots of wind farm activity.
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 15th Mar 2021
I reviewed these notes in March 2021. Nothing has changed with respect to the general information on Ramsgate harbour but be aware that the Windfarm activity has increased. The information on Covid 19 can be found via the link in the General information section. Prices have increased for 2021
Written by Don Thomson | 28th Mar 2018
We have modified the text in the Approach section to account for the changed traffic patterns here. The warnings mentioned in the members notes about the pontoons has been noted in the text and we've added a link to Google showing an overhead of the fingers. Prices up a little.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Western Marina - Visitor berths
Written by Jaypea | 11th May 2017
Overnight stay 31st March. Arrived in F4-5 Southerly which seemed to create swirling breeze inside the harbour making it tricky to control windage. The berths have fairly unforgiving hard plastic decking to the sides but also a nasty triangle of [exposed] iron running from finger to main pontoon. Fairly prompt action by the crew is called for to avoid bow impact. We saw two 30'+ boats hit within an hour of our own arrival :( Marina staff are very helpful, one of them is also the Pilot and is happy to advise on tides/passage planning. Marina facilities clean and modern. Some nice options for eating and drinking.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Tidal Harbour Subject to Swell in Easterlies
Written by Matthew West | 22nd Aug 2016
It is worth noting that Ramsgate Harbour can be subject to swell in easterly/south easterly winds in the tidal harbour, which can make it quite uncomfortable. I've stayed there twice and both times been affected by this. The easy solution is to go into the locked harbour when these conditions prevail, but that does have restricted entry/exit.
2 of 2 people found this helpful
Update Spring 2016
Written by dononshytalk | 16th Mar 2016
These notes were reviewed by Don in March 2016. Thanks Mike Kent (below) for the heads up on ferry traffic. The whole atmosphere has changed here; no lorries lumbering around the ferry terminal, no ferries steaming in and turning around, no ferries to deal with in the outer approaches. They can still be quite busy with wind farm traffic which is high speed (minimum 6kts) and there is a car importer operating from the RoRo berth on Tuesdays. Prices have been held for visiting yachties.
Ramsgate Ferries
Written by mikekent | 6th Mar 2015
Sadly the Ferry running to Ostend went bankrupt so there are now no ferries operating out of the port.
Commercial activity is limited to small fishing boats, pilot boats meeting ships going up the Thames and fast working boats going to the offshore wind farms to the North.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Update April 2014
Written by dononshytalk | 9th Apr 2014
These notes were reviewed in April 2014. The seasonal, lit red can buoy just outside the Royal Harbour is now a permanent feature. We have noted that there are International SS lights facing into the Royal Harbour from the Port Control at the root of the Northern Breakwater which should be obeyed for exit from the Royal Harbour.

Re our members "grounding" in the entrance to the Royal Harbour in April 2013..There has been dredging in the Port over the winter of 2013/14 and the lump he encountered should have gone now but for accurate soundings in the approach to the Royal Dock go to the port website/Approach/Hydrographic surveys - the 2 metre channel is still quite narrow.
Watch out on final entrance
Written by LindseyGill | 3rd Apr 2013
When entering or leaving the Royal Harbour (ie after you have entered the outer harbour) watch out as there is now a sand bank midway between the green and red buoy's. Coming out at low springs last weekend I went through the middle and ran aground (1.5m keel). It was very soft sand and I was moving slowly too so nothing dramatic. Port control advised me to stay close to the green buoy which coming out was on my port side. The boat that followed us out went aground too and did the same as us.
1 of 1 people found this helpful

View all 13 feedback items

© visitMyHarbour.com | website design created by Black Culm Ltd