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Shoreham Harbour

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Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign


Safe Offing 50:47'.894 N 00:14'.656 W Harbour Entrance 50:49'.501 N 00:14'.843 W


Admiralty 2044, SC5065

Rules & Regulations

Give Way to Commercial Traffic


Shoaling Entrance, Commercial Traffic, Questionable in strong onshore winds.

Tidal Data Times & Range

HW +0015 Dover MHWS 5.9m, MHWN 4.5m, MLWN 1.8m, 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

For many of us older sailors from pre GPS days Shoreham....

... is more likely to be remembered not for the delights within, but for the very conspicuous powerstation with its massive chimneys. This always used to serve as a useful landmark to aid in fixing your position while coasting.

This landmark has long been demolished but the harbour remains, and still is the site of a fair amount of commercial activity. Coasters regularly ply in and out of the harbour shifting timber, aggregates, stone etc. A new chimney has been erected and at over 100 m high still marks Shoreham from seawards.

For the passing leisure boats sailor Shoreham with all its commercial activity has never had a massive appeal. It does however offer very safe and sheltered berths within it's eastern arm, and the port authorities are yacht friendly.

Very large yachts can be accommodated on the quayside within, and smaller vessels have a purpose-built Marina.

Day-to-day supplies can be obtained nearby, and hauling and slipping can be organised within the harbour. Serious stocking up requires a cab ride.

For details of the new Rampion windfarm in the approaches to Shoreham click on this link Windfarm Alert 


Shoreham Harbour lies about 4 miles westwards of Brighton......

......and can be identified by the large silver chimney half a mile eastwards of the entrance.

Offshore a southerly cardinal buoy (Q(6)LFl.15s) marks the edge of a sewer outfall and is fairly close to the leading line into the harbour. The waypoint given on our chart (50°47'.894N, 00°14'.656W) is close to this buoy.

From this safe distance off, the approach can be made inwards. The transit marks consist of a low light on the end of the middle pier (Oc.5s.10M), and a taller lighthouse further back (Fl.10s.13m.15M). The transit marks lineup on 355°, and this is the best approach.

In strong onshore winds particularly on the ebb it can get very rough in the approach as the waters shallow. In these circumstances the approach could be dangerous for small craft and entry should be reconsidered. Carefully.

The entrance is liable to silting up and is constantly being dredged, however other than at dead low water springs there should be sufficient depths for yachts. The prudent skipper would probably leave it a couple of hours after low water, particularly if there's any kind of swell running.  It is interesting to note that the Hydrographers have changed the depth notations in the harbour entrance for the 2018 chart. We have questioned this with the Port and they say they are still dredging the entrance twice a year to maintain 1.9 metres

Full pilotage information..

In the close approach the West going tidal stream commences about two hours before high water, and the East going stream about two hours before low water.

Tidal streams encountered in the entrance are unlikely to exceed 3 kn, but the River Adur making up the western arm of the harbour can ebb at up to 5 kn during springs. The eastern arm being blocked off by the locks has virtually no tidal stream.

There are various tidal eddies worth bearing in mind. During the West going stream and in particular one hour either side of high water there is a south-westerly set from the East Breakwater towards the West Breakwater. This then bounces inwards somewhat and bends round to the north-east.

For the small boat mariner it is simply useful to be aware that you are likely to be pushed first one way and then the other as you enter the harbour and that special care should be taken as you approach the middle pier (the one that separates the harbour into the eastern arm and the western arm).

The middle pier mentioned above displays a traffic control signal. If in approach you see an Oc.Or.3s light displayed it means that no vessel shall "enter the port or be navigated in such a way as to hinder the passage of vessels leaving the port".

The harbour authorities operate on VHF channel 14 or telephone 01273 592366, and it may be wise to consult with them before entering. A link to their website is provided below:


Upon entering the harbour visiting yachts enter the Eastern Arm and then have to lock through into the Southwick Canal. The locks are manned 24 hours a day 365 days a year and the lock keepers are small boat friendly. Contact them on VHF channel 14 and they will guide you through the procedure of using the smaller Prince George Lock. Boats directed to temporary berths waiting for the lock must remain manned at all times. Locking in is normally on the half hour and locking out on the hour.

The Western Arm is not used by visitors unless they have specific business there. This arm has a boatyard and the Sussex Yacht Club, along with numerous houseboat berths. Virtually all moorings in this section dry out.

The other traffic signals that could be encountered are described below:

Light displayed from the Lifeboat House focusing on the Eastern Arm....Oc.R.3s " no vessel shall proceed along the Eastern Arm for the purpose of leaving the port, moving to another berth in the Eastern Arm, or passing into the Western Arm of the Port".

Light displayed for the Lifeboat House focusing on the Western Arm....Oc.R.3s " no vessel shall proceed along the western arm for the purpose of leaving the port, moving to another berth in the Western Arm, or passing into the Eastern Arm of the Port.

Paying attention and obeying the signals is obligatory.

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

Yachtsmen and motorboaters will find a berth at the Lady Bee Marina, just inside the locks on the port hand side. All visitors must pre book a berth at the Marina before arrival. They have installed new pontoons to the East of the Sailing Club pontoons so have extra capacity (but a massive list waiting to move from Brighton!) Normally, as a visitor you would be moored on the hammerheads

This is owned by the harbour authorities themselves.

The charges for visiting non commercial small craft entering the canal and staying overnight (2022) work out at £3.75 per metre per day up to 12m  Those fees are inclusive of VAT, harbour dues and electricity and locking fees.

Telephone the Lady Bee Marina on 01273 591705, or check the website below:


Larger pleasure craft can also be accommodated within the canal on the quayside, at Aldrington Quay, which is past the Marina and the boat yard on the port hand side.

Be aware that if you are not going into the Lady Bee Marina you will have to pay a £25 locking fee to get into the canal.


Water is available at the Marina together with electricity, showers and toilets. Calor gas and Camping gaz are available at the Marina, together with chandlery. Repairs can be organised through the Lady Bee Marina or the Sussex Yacht Club who have their own lifting facilities in the Western Arm of the harbour.
Diesel fuel can be obtained but there is no dedicated fuel berth for yachts. Diesel and Petrol, I'm afraid, is at the far end of the canal about a mile and a half away which, with four or five cans is quite a way.

The Sussex Yacht Club web site can be found at:


There are some shops (including a fairly well stocked Co-op) in Southwick Square about quarter of a mile north of the Marina but for large supermarkets you will need to take a taxi or bus to Hove.

Shoreham has good rail connections to London or Brighton being on the West Coast line, and is well served by buses too.

Trailer Sailers can launch from the Marina into the non tidal canal and lock through to reach the sea. Charges are around £45.00 per launch, recovery, and passage through the lock.


 Verbal or written reports delivered in plain English at the level you require, in a pragmatic way. We work with private owners, yacht brokers, charter companies, insurance companies, finance companies, and also coding organisations.
 We specialise in surveying FRP and steel vessels, charter yachts and all small marine craft. With 25 years in the marine industry, www.marinesurveysuk.com are members of BMSE and YDSA Call Matt on   07798 554535   or email [email protected]

More Info

Tidal streams- The streams are very strong between the piers, where both the in-going (flood) stream and the out-going (ebb) stream often attain a rate of 6 knots.  The flood stream begins about -0525 Dover; the ebb stream begins about +0030 Dover.

The flood stream is divided by Middle pier and its rate decreases in both arms.  During the flood stream a dangerous eddy runs strongly down the western side of Middle pier and round its end into the eastern arm; an eddy also runs outwards along the western side of the eastern pier (Lat. 50° 50’ N., Long. 0° 15’ W.).


Shoreham-by-Sea (shortened to Shoreham) is a small town, port and seaside resort, also being the major settlement in the Adur District of West Sussex in South East England. Shoreham-by-Sea railway station is located less than a mile from the town centre and London Gatwick Airport is 23 miles away. Shoreham has a population of 17,537 according to the 2001 census, and is historically part of Sussex.

The town is bordered to its north by the South Downs, to its west by the Adur valley and to its south by the River Adur and Shoreham Beach on the English Channel. The town lies in the middle of the ribbon of urban development along the coast between the city of Brighton & Hove and the town of Worthing. Shoreham civil parish covers an area of 984.88ha and has a population of 19,175 (2001 census).


Old Shoreham dates back to pre-Roman times. The church of St. Nicholas is in part of Anglo-Saxon date. The name of the town has an Old English origin.[2] The town and port of New Shoreham was established by the Norman conquerors towards the end of the 11th century. The original name of the river was Sore, which is an old name occurring in medieval times, it was also known locally (into recent times) simply as the Shoreham River. Dryden penned the name Adur to support his theory that the Roman 'Portus Adurni' was situated near the mouth of the river, unfortunately it was taken up by map makers and it has remained to the present day.

St Mary de Haura Church (St Mary of the Harbour) was built in the decade following 1103 (the Domesday Book was dated 1086), and around this time the town was laid out on a grid pattern that, in essence, survives in the town centre. The Church is only half the size of the original - the former nave was ruinous at the time of the Civil War although remnants of the original west facade survive in the Churchyard to some height.

The severe storms of the 14th and 15th centuries wreaked much damage along this part of the south coast and that part of the town which lay to the south of High Street (which originally ran through the middle of the town) was swept away. It included the Hospital of St John. The original harbour by Old Shoreham (once the site of the Grammar School playing fields) then silted up and the mouth of the river moved in time eastwards, and once met the sea as far east as Portslade.

The rise of Brighton, Hove and Worthing - in particular the arrival of the railway in 1840 - prepared the way for Shoreham's rise as a Victorian sea port, with several shipyards and an active coasting trade. Shoreham Harbour remains in commercial operation.

Shoreham Beach

Shoreham Beach, to the south of the town, is a shingle bank thrown up over the centuries by the sea through the process of longshore drift as an extension to Lancing parish in the west. This blocks the southerly flow of the River Adur which turns east at this point to discharge into the English Channel further along the coast at a point that has varied considerably over time. Once the harbour mouth was stabilised it was defended by Shoreham Fort. Converted railway carriages became summer homes around the turn of the century, and Bungalow Town, as it was then known, became home for a short time to the early UK film industry. Shoreham Beach officially became part of Shoreham-by-Sea in 1910. Much housing in the area was cleared for defence reasons during the Second World War and most of what remained after the war is now gone, replaced by modern houses.[4] The Church of the Good Shepherd, built in 1913, still stands. Along the Adur mud flats adjacent to Shoreham Beach sits (and at high tides floats) an extraordinary collection of house boats – converted barges, tugs, mine sweepers etc. The seaside shingle bank of Shoreham beach extends further east past the harbour mouth, forming the southern boundary of the commercial harbour in Southwick, Portslade and Hove. The Monarch's Way long-distance footpath, commemorating the flight of Charles II to France after the Battle of Worcester, follows the beach westwards from Hove past Portslade and Southwick, terminating by the harbour mouth's east breakwater.

Landscape & Wildlife

Transversed by the River Adur and with the downs and the sea nearby, the area supports a diverse wildlife flora and fauna. The mudflats support wading birds and gulls, including the Ringed Plover which attempts to breed on the coastal shingle. The Pied Wagtail is common in the town in the winter months. Insect fauna includes dragonflies over the flood plains of the river. The south and west facing downs attract at least 32 species of butterflies including a nationally important population of the Chalkhill Blue Butterfly on Mill Hill. The underlying rock is chalk on the downs, with alluvium in the old river channels. The Adur district is fortunate to have a large variety of habitats in a small area, including natural chalk downs and butterfly meadows, freshwater and reed beds, salt marsh and estuary, brackish water lagoons, woodland, shingle seashore, chalk platform undersea and large expanses of sand.

Farmers' Market

Shoreham-by-Sea is home to the largest Farmers' Market in Sussex and one of the largest in the South of England, it is held in East Street on the second Saturday of each month and usually has in excess of 60 stall holders.


Shoreham Airport, located in Lancing to the west of the main town, is now in private ownership. It is the oldest licensed airport in the UK, the Art Deco terminal building is listed as of historical interest and has also been used as a set for the filming of one of Agatha Christie's classic Poirot stories, Lord Edgware Dies, a Crimewatch type reconstruction in 2000 by Meridian television, an episode of the BBC TV Series Tenko as well as scenes from the film of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code.

The town is also served by Shoreham-by-Sea railway station, located on the West Coastway Line.

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

Eating, Drinking & Entertainment

The Lady Bee Marina has two bar/restaurants (New Ports Arms and Port Kitchen), while the Sussex Yacht Club in the western arm is welcoming to visitors from other yacht clubs. The club provides lunches throughout the week (other than Mondays) and dinners are served on Friday and Saturday nights in their interesting clubhouse.

There are pubs within walking distance of the Marina. The link below provides a list of pubs around the Southwick area (near the Marina):



Your Ratings & Comments

Written by Don Thomson 3 | 20th Jul 2022
These notes have been amended with information received from Shoreham for which we are most grateful
Update May 2022
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 4th May 2022
I reviewed these notes in earl May 2022. The Lady Bee Marina has reacted to the migration of skippers from Brighton Marina and there are now three extra pontoons here which are shown on the UKHO chart in this article. Their dues have gone up but do include the locking fee if you are using the marina.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Busy industrial harbour with marina tacked on
Written by Tyro Sailor | 25th Jul 2021
Visited 15th June '21 with several other boats en route from the Solent to Eastbourne.

The lockkeeper was very patient, given the antics of some of our number on the way in and out. Once inside we rafted up on the outer pontoons of the marina but the shelter was complete. Lots of fishing boat movements though, and occasional larger vessels - but these outside the lock. Heads/showers were open and adequate but cramped and not very pleasant.
Calor supplies at the chandlery (where you also pay the reasonable berthing fees) and other shops including a Co-op a ten-minute walk inland, as above.
2 of 2 people found this helpful
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 16th Mar 2021
These notes were reviewed in March 2021. Lady Bee Marina prices have been increased since we last wrote otherwise very little has changed. There are no specific rules in force for Covid but National rules apply and their toilets and showers are closed for the moment.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Written by Don Thomson | 28th Mar 2018
Despite the 2018 chart, the depth in the entrance is still dredged to 1.9 metres. Prices at the Lady Bee have gone up
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Correction to Lat/Long of "Safe Offing" waypoint.
Written by George Metcalfe | 6th Sep 2017
Under the "Waypoint" heading near the top, the Safe Offing waypoint Northing is incorrect. It says 50:49.894 N but it should be 50:47.894 N. It is specified correctly further down, under the "Approach" heading.

Editors note: Thanks for that, now corrected
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Update Spring 2016
Written by dononshytalk | 16th Mar 2016
These notes were reviewed again by Don in March 2016. Prices still haven't changed and everything else remains the same.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Update April 2014
Written by dononshytalk | 11th Apr 2014
These notes were reviewed in April 2014. Prices haven't changed and Shoreham is becoming a harbour that is attracting more yachties.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Update 2013
Written by dononshytalk | 18th Mar 2013
These notes were updated by Don T on the 18th March 2013. Prices have been adjusted for 2013 otherwise there is little change. The Sussex Yacht Club website URL has been included.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
National Coastwatch Institution
Written by SailorAlan | 18th Oct 2010
May I suggest that you might like to add to the charts or notes the positions and watch hours of the National Coastwatch Institution Watch Stations.

I am one of the volunteer watchkeepers at Shoreham [I was for about 15 years a Skipper in the Admiralty Ferry Crews] and we keep a daylight visual and radio listening watch.

The web site is http://www.nci.org.uk from which you can get full information about us and what we do.
7 of 7 people found this helpful
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