Weymouth Harbour Office tel 01305 838423 VHF #12
Weymouth with its perfectly shaped crescent bay and sandy beach is the essence of an English seaside holiday town. Guesthouses, hotels, donkey rides, Punch and Judy... and lots of ice cream and fast foods.
The outer harbour is well sheltered and used by fast catamaran ferries, fishing boats and yachts. It is bustling with activity during the summer months and if you weary of the constant comings and goings respite is at hand. The inner harbour is entered via a swing bridge and offers perfect shelter and security right in the middle of the town. The Marina could be a useful place to leave your craft unattended in safety.
Most boat needs can be met here as well as provisioning. For those captivated by the atmosphere the harbour offers a special deal where after paying three days, you get the fourth free (not applicable in July and August)
It should also be noted that Weymouth and Portland are important centres for diving and sports sea fishing. A quick glance through the directory will show any number of dive and angling boats for charter.
When coming from the West one will have to get past the Portland Race and....
.... the Shambles one way or another. Skirting outside the whole lot at a good offing is the most sensible plan.
Once past the East Shambles Cardinal buoy (Q(3)10s) left well to port, a turn can be made on to a generally NNW heading. The huge area of Portland Harbour will be seen to the West, and due attention should be paid to vessels emerging. Other than that there are no dangers and a course can be set to position you a couple of hundred metres to the East of Weymouth's South pier.
Approaching from the East round St Albans head, keep well off to avoid an area of overfalls, and make for a point East of Weymouth's South pier.
Be aware of the Lulworth Firing Range which stretches out to about six miles South of Lulworth Cove. If you heed our advice to stand off from St Albans Head and clear of the St Albans Ledge you will also remain just clear of the danger area. The Range Safety Boat is on channel 8 and you can get information from them or by phone on tel 01929 404712. There is a leaflet issued annually giving scheduled firing times and a digital copy can be found at
The idea in both cases is to put yourself in a position where you can have a clear view of the harbour mouth, to see what's emerging.
The next stage is to contact "Weymouth Harbour Radio", with first contact on VHF channel 16 and working on VHF channel 12. Their working hours are 7 AM to 7 PM, telephone 01305 838423 link to website below:
A berth will be allocated on arrival, and entry is simply between the two piers, keeping an eye out for fishing lines. There is a leading line on 240° marked by flashing red lights shown on the chart but it is difficult to pick up.
Harbour traffic signals are shown from midway on the South pier (see photo gallery) and need to be noted and acted upon. The three lights are sett in a vertical arrangement and the signals are: RRR Flash = Emergency, PORT CLOSED. RRG = Movement prohibited. RRR = Ship Leaving, No entry. GGG = Ship Entering, No Departure. GWG = Move as directed by Harbourmaster. No signal lights mean you may move at your own discretion.
The first berths you will pass are on your starboard hand and are commercial, pleasure craft berthing is described in next section. Be aware of the small passenger rowboat ferry which crosses the harbour near the ferry terminal... give way to him. It is the rule that vessels must not make wash, and although local fishing boats seem to ignore this and get away with it, you probably won't. Dead slow, no wash.
The harbour office does not accept advance bookings, but appreciates being informed in advance if you intend to arrive in a larger vessel, say over 15 m so they can make space for you.
Anchorage is possible outside the harbour, clear of the entrance to the N.,
...... This is not a comfortable berth, the rocking and rolling could drive you to distraction. Portland is a better bet for anchoring.
There is an image of the harbour layout in our Navigation images but you will find a clearer one on their own website
There are several areas to which you may be directed by the HM when you contact him. Along the North side of the harbour, once past the Ro-Ro ferry dock, you will find a pontoon, generally kept for longer craft; after that and just past the landing for the oar powered cross harbour ferry is another pontoon and finally another outside the HM's office and the Royal Dorset Yacht Club. Some of the pontoons nearer the harbour entrance are seasonal. The area outside the HM's office is covered by a webcam which can be found on the harbour website at
On the South side of the harbour is an assortment of moorings/pontoons for local fishing and angling boats until one gets to the "Cove" opposite the HM's office where there is another pontoon on which you might be moored. Finally there is a pontoon just below the Town Bridge where you can tie up to await the opening of the bridge into the Marina.
Within the harbour area you will be charged £2.85 per metre per night (with a fourth night free, out of season) and they also operate a loyalty scheme for frequent visitors. If you have managed to connect to a shore power point they will charge an extra £2.50 for that. In the high season this is a very bustling port, you must expect to raft and be rafted upon so fenders both sides as you make your approach. Quiet it is not, although there is a speed limit and an admonishment not to create a wash, the fishing boats seem to think this doesn't apply to them ('twas ever thus!)
Berth where directed by the harbour staff, or if outside of hours tie up on one of the pontoons described above or raft up outside a similar sized boat.
During the summer months the town bridge opens once every 2 hours between 8 AM and 9 PM. If planning to visit the Marina within its simply a matter of tying up to the waiting pontoon right by the bridge, and passing in when the bridge opens. (In the winter months the bridge only opens by arrangement with an hours notice being needed.) The Marina can be contacted on VHF channel 80 or telephone 01305 767576, staff will meet your boat. When you pass through the bridge you will need to turn to starboard and follow the signs, the Marina office is located at the end of the dock. Marina prices (2021) are £3.35 per metre and that includes shore power hook-up.
The same company that owns this Marina, Boatfolk, have inherited a massive new Marina complex situated within Portland Harbour nearby.
Water and electricity are available alongside at the Marina and harbour authority pontoons (now includes the pontoon in the Cove)
Toilets and showers are available by the harbour master's office.(Toilets on the South Quay too) For users of the Marina more luxurious facilities are available with shower, toilet, and wash basin all available in individual cubicles. It also offers a laundry room. WiFi is available throughout the Marina and faxes and mail can be dealt with by the office, where ice can also be obtained by the bag.
Diesel can be obtained from the fuel pontoon in the main harbour, adjacent to the lifeboat, and Calor and camping gas are available from the chandlery opposite the Marina (amongst others). WiFi Internet is available in the main harbour, and the Royal Dorset Yacht Club offers visitors use of telephone, fax, and Internet facilities. The friendly club is located right by the harbour office and also offers visitors use of the bar serving drinks at club prices and bar snacks. The club makes it clear that motorboaters are equally welcome. Telephone 01305 786258, link to website below.
There are three laundries in the town, and three supermarkets inc Sommerfield, Morrisons and a Tesco Metro near the harbour. Provisioning should be no problem and there are numerous smaller outlets too. The major banks are all here with cashpoints to top up the wallet.
There are chandlers and all kinds of marine specialists available, inc marine engineering, electronics, and sailmakers. Hauling out can now be handled at the new marina facility at Portland.
For those looking for Diving and Sea angling, Weymouth and Portland are excellent with a massive choice...check the directory.
Trailer boats can be launched from the Public Slip in the inner harbour, this is under the control of the harbour authorities. Note that the air clearance of the Town Bridge is aroud 3m, openings as described elsewhere. Use at all states of the tide for small craft.
The town has good main line connections to London Waterloo, and buses too.
The notorious Portland Race is probably the most dangerous area in the Channel, and the whole area is best given a wide berth. Strong tides meeting an uneven bottom cause the seas to well up and break, and the effects of this conflagration can be felt up to 5 miles off Portland Bill. Small vessels need to be acutely aware that they can get drawn into this against their will if they approach too closely. The recommended offing is a minimum of 3 miles in calm conditions and around 10 miles if conditions are bad. Furthermore it is not advisable to try and cut between the race and the Shambles Bank, as the risk exists of either being drawn into the race, or set on to the bank. High-powered craft may get away with this. There is an inshore passage very close in to the Bill, but this is fraught with danger. Firstly timing must be spot on, secondly there are numerous pot markers which may be forced underwater by the strength of the tide just waiting to foul your propeller. It is not proposed to describe this passage here.
Treat this whole area with the respect it deserves and remember the saying :
"There are old Mariners and there are bold Mariners.... but there are no old bold mariners"
Further information below:
Weymouth originated as a settlement on a constricted site to the south and west of Weymouth Harbour, an outlying part of Wyke Regis. The town developed from the mid 12th century onwards, but was not noted until the 13th century. By 1252 it was established as a seaport and become a chartered borough. Melcombe Regis developed separately on the peninsula to the north of the harbour; it was mentioned as a licensed wool port in 1310.
Melcombe Regis is thought to be the first port at which the Black Death came into England in June 1348, possibly either aboard a spice ship or an army ship. In their early history Weymouth and Melcombe Regis were rivals for trade and industry, but the towns were united in an Act of Parliament in 1571 to form a double borough. Both towns have become known as Weymouth, despite Melcombe Regis being the main town centre. The villages of Upwey, Broadwey, Preston, Wyke Regis, Chickerell, Southill, Radipole and Littlemoor have become part of the built-up area.
The ruins of the 16th century Sandsfoot CastleKing Henry VIII had two Device Forts built to protect the south Dorset coast from invasion in the 1530s: Sandsfoot Castle in Wyke Regis and Portland Castle in Castletown. Parts of Sandsfoot have fallen into the sea due to coastal erosion. During the English Civil War, around 250 people were killed in the local Crabchurch Conspiracy in February 1645. In 1635, on board the ship Charity, around 100 emigrants from the town crossed the Atlantic Ocean and settled in Weymouth, Massachusetts. More townspeople emigrated to the Americas to bolster the population of Weymouth, Nova Scotia and Salem, Massachusetts; then called Naumking, Salem became infamous for its witch trials. There are memorials to this on the side of Weymouth Harbour and near Weymouth Pavilion.
The architect Sir Christopher Wren was the Member of Parliament for Weymouth in 1702, and controlled nearby Portland's quarries from 1675 to 1717. When he designed St Paul's Cathedral, Wren had it built out of Portland Stone, the famous stone of Portland's quarries. Sir James Thornhill was born in the White Hart public house in Melcombe Regis and became the town's MP in 1722. Thornhill became an artist, and coincidentally decorated the interior of St Paul's Cathedral.
Weymouth's esplanade displays Georgian architecture and Queen Victoria's Jubilee Clock.The resort is among the first modern tourist destinations, after King George III made Weymouth his summer holiday residence on fourteen occasions between 1789 and 1805. A painted statue of the king stands on the seafront, which was renovated in 2007/8 by stripping 20 layers of paintwork, replacing it with new paints and gold leaf, and replacing the iron framework with stainless steel one. A mounted white horse representing the king is carved into the chalk hills of Osmington. The horse faces away from the town, and a myth developed that the king took offence, believing it was a sign that the townspeople did not welcome him, and that the designer subsequently killed himself.
Weymouth's esplanade is composed of Georgian terraces, which have been converted into apartments, shops, hotels and guest houses. The buildings were constructed in the Georgian and Regency periods between 1770 and 1855, designed by architects such as James Hamilton, and were commissioned by wealthy businessmen, including those that were involved in the growth of Bath. These terraces form a long, continuous arc of buildings which face Weymouth Bay along the esplanade, which also features the multi-coloured Jubilee Clock, erected in 1887 to mark the 50th year of Queen Victoria's reign. Statues of Victoria, George III and Sir Henry Edwards, Member of Parliament for the borough from 1867 to 1885, and two war memorials stand along the Esplanade.
In the centre of the town lies Weymouth Harbour; although it was the reason for the town's foundation, the harbour separates the two areas of Melcombe Regis (the main town centre) and Weymouth (the southern harbourside) from each other. Since the 18th century this has been overcome with successive bridges over the narrowest part of the harbour. The present Town Bridge, built in 1930, is a lifting bascule bridge to let boats access the inner harbour, one of ten in the United Kingdom.
Weymouth and Portland were bombed by German planes for their role in World War II; Portland harbour had a large naval base, and Weymouth was home to Nothe Fort. 517,816 troops embarked through the borough to fight at the Battle of Normandy, and the Bouncing bomb was tested in the Fleet lagoon to the west of town. The history of the area is documented at the Timewalk Museum in Brewers Quay; the former brewery is a tourist attraction and shopping village on the southern shore of Weymouth Harbour.
The text on this HISTORY page is covered by the following licence
This holiday town can cater for everyone. Eating out is available at all kinds of price ranges and styles and some nightlife can be found. Youngsters with a craving for McDonald's will find two here, and apart from the ubiquitous fish and chips Weymouth boasts at least two Indian restaurants, Italian, bistros etc. There are a couple of nightclubs complete with pounding music for those on the prowl, and real ale aficionados won't be disappointed if they search around a bit. It is beyond the scope of this guide to delve too deeply in these matters so we offer the following links: