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Bridport (West Bay)

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Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign




AC 3351-0 Berry Head to Bill of Portland; AC3315-2 Bridport Harbour, SC 5601 East Devon & Dorset Coast (Hbr plan of Bridport); Imray C5 Bill of Portland to Salcombe (No Hbr Plan)

Rules & Regulations

Slow, no wash in the harbour


Rock ballast outwith the pierheads. Lit perches mark the extremities

Tidal Data Times & Range

HW Bridport is 30 minutes after HW Plymouth. MHWS 4.1m MHWN 3.0m MLWN 1.6m MLWS 0.7m   (links)

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General Description

Harbour Master tel 01308 423222 mob 07870 240636 VHF #11

Although Bridport Harbour is the “Official” name of this place it is known to everyone in the South West as “West Bay” which is not to be confused with the “West Bay” lying just to the West of Portland Bill.

It is a very popular holiday resort on this coast and day trippers abound during summer weekends.  The harbour was originally built for trade and ship building and its development has not been linked primarily to the fishing industry so it has not suffered the decline that other larger ports have.

Bridport as we see it today is the result of quite a few rebuilds and extensions, the original medieval harbour being further inland closer to Bridport itself. The latest addition is the West Wall built in 2005 which is designed to protect the harbour from the prevailing South Westerlies and the town from flooding.

The harbour consists of an inner, L-shaped drying basin and an outer harbour with a large slip and mooring pontoons laid out during the summer.  Around the harbour there is a multitude of fast food outlets with open air seating.


We have given a way point within the white sector of the lead-in light and

...... there are no off lying dangers along this bit of coast; your main problem will be rounding Portland Bill either before arriving from or departing for the East. There is a good Yachting Monthly article about passage around the Bill at:

How to plan and sail a passage round a headland (yachtingmonthly.com)

Members of this website can access the Portland Bill tidal Streams Atlas in the Tides Section in the menu on the lower left of this article

Other than that the tidal streams around Lyme Bay are interesting in that, although they follow the flood and ebb in the English Channel, there is a stand of an hour where there is very little tidal stream reducing the ebb (west bound) to five hours.

Whichever way it is flowing there is seldom more than a knot at peak Spring tides in the Bay
If approaching from the West note that there is a red unlit perch close SW of the end of the West Pier (it is shown on the harbour chart but you could miss it if not looking for it- a little circle with an “R” beside it)

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

If you wish you can anchor close to the East Beach using the shelter

..... of the harbour walls but don’t impede the movement of boats into and out of the harbour. Most people opt to go into the harbour and clew up on the pontoons where a berth will cost a 10m boat £22.50.(2022)

The depth at the pontoons is said to be about 1.5 metres at LWS but take into account the fact that you may be going up and down by half a metre it would be unwise to park a 1.75 m draft fin keeler here; you should seek advice from the HM.
 A word of caution here, if the wind is in the SE it does not take much to set up a jolly romp on these pontoons and we are told that this is also the case in SW winds. We were told that, if it did get up too much, they would move the visitors inside but exactly where was not obvious because it was pretty crowded in there with boats lying to running moorings around the walls and on fixed trots in the middle. In these conditions you would be better off going to Lyme Regis to pick up a buoy or enter their inner harbour and lean on the wall.

We took this video of the pontoons as the wind was about F2 from the SE and it was already bobbing about considerably.


There is now a Bridport website which can be found at

Bridport Harbour, West Bay in Dorset


There is no shore power or water in the pontoons although water can be obtained from taps on the piers. They have toilets and showers for yachties which is included in the mooring fee.

If you need diesel or petrol that can be obtained in cans from a Morrisons about two miles away (have a chat with HM and he can give you a lift to get that) That garage does Calor Gas refills but not Camping Gaz, for those you will have to go to Bartletts Country Stores in Bradpole on the other side of Bridport (3 miles)

The Harbour Master has a reasonable stock of chandlery supplies and can also do diving bottle refills.

Eating, Drinking & Entertainment

For snacks there are many fast food shacks around the harbour vying for the tourist trade.

For pubs (most of which do food) see



Your Ratings & Comments

Update April 2022
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 12th Apr 2022
I reviewed these notes in April 2022. They have a new harbour website and are looking for a new assistant HM if you are interested. There is a webcam on that site which will give you some idea of the the floating pontoons when they are deployed. Prices have gone up to £22.50 pm pn.
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 26th Mar 2021
I reviewed these notes in March 2021. It would appear from our members note below that the movement on the floating pontoons is not confined to SE winds but in any sort of onshore wind from East or West there will be a swell. Prices have increased. Covid restrictions in force.
Narrow entrance. Poor shelter. Wobbly pontoons. Friendly staff.
Written by Tyro Sailor | 15th Mar 2021
I came in one breezy afternoon in 2019. SW4 with significant waves outside and neither the breakwaters nor the plastic pontoons did much to ameliorate the motion. I had to go ashore to do the critical passage plan for the next day's trip around Portland Bill. A most unpleasant berth.

Big wet room with loo attached to the HM's office & chandlery and open the same hours. Nearby public loos were closed but didn't look very pleasant.

The Harbourmaster was helpful, and his assistant came unbidden onto the pontoon to take my lines.

The walk into Bridport was hot and tedious, along the main road, but I bet there's a bus. Interesting little town with at least one nice sandwich shop.

Not a pleasant port, and one which I shall studiously avoid in future. Several dive boats and other RIBs but mine was the only yacht. Go to Lyme.
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