Harbour Information (use the icons to find out more)

Kirkwall and the North Orkney Islands (almanac stub)

Your Comments: 4 Read or add your comments

Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign


Kirkwall 59° 00.00N 002°57.54W


AC 2250-0 Orkney Islands Eastern Sheet; AC 2249-0 Orkney Islands Western Sheet; AC 1553-0 Bay of Kirkwall. Imray C68 Cape Wrath to Wick and the Orkney Islands There is no Admiralty Folio for the Orkneys

Rules & Regulations

Orkney VTS operates on #11. While there is no requirement for small leisure vessels to report their movements it is suggested that you listen out on #11


None that are not marked on the charts. Beware overfalls and Skerries. If you use Navionics examine every inch of your intended route at high levels of expansion.

Tidal Data Times & Range

HW Kirkwall is HW Wick – 40 minutes MHWS 3.0m MHWN 2.4m MLWN 13m MLWS 0.6m   (links)

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General Description

Orkney VTS  01856 873636 VHF # 11
Orkney Marinas Ltd 01856 871313
Kirkwall Marina Superintendent  07810 465835
Westray Marina Superintendent  07775 252924
... read more


The first thing that you’ll notice when you first start planning your trip to Orkney..... ... read more

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

Planning your exploration of the North Isles... ... read more

Your Ratings & Comments

Written by Don Thomson 3 | 4th Jul 2022
I reviewed these notes in July 2022. I have not myself explored the North Islands of Orkney although have visited Stromness and explored Scapa several times. Our main source of information for this article has been the Orkney Marina web site and where the links have been a little obscure direct links to those pages have been given.
Other sources have been trawled including local knowledge so that the information given here is pretty well everything you would discover for yourself on a winters night at home. Much has been left to the intrepid explorer and we would love to hear of your own experiences to share with other like minded sailors.
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 26th May 2021
I reviewed these notes in May2021. There is a huge amount of information on the orkneymarinas website for sailors written by local navigators who know their stuff. I have given links to their info and you would be wise to read it carefully before slipping your moorings. We've also supplied tidal atlases on this site. As long as you read what has been written this part of the UK waters can be real fun - but you MUST, MUST, MUST check the tidal streams before you go.
Straightforward entrance and very friendly volunteer marina staff
Written by Mark Harbour Master Sailing Challenge | 2nd Mar 2021
Aug 2020 Kirkwall has a very yacht friendly marina - run by Leesa at the charity Orkney Marinas orkneymarinas co uk (01856 871313 [email protected] 07740 628111) . They will give you lots of advice about sailing in Orkney (not The Orkneys!) as well as putting you in touch with a local sailor who can advise you in great detail.
As well as Kirkwall they run Stromness and Pierowall (on Westray) marina with equally friendly staff.
The Harbour Master for (nearly) the whole of Orkney is Jim Buck based a couple of miles due south of Kirkwall at Scapa in the Orkney Harbour Authority HQ 01856 873636.
The town is well worth a look around, a great cathedral and a good bus service to all the famous tourist sites of Orkney - suggest 2 full days to explore the area.

There is one other harbour in Orkney which is privately run - St Margaret's Hope in the south of the archipelago. Very friendly HM, Billy Norquay, (01856 831646). We chose to anchor in the safe harbour bay.

Enjoy the strong tides around Orkney - you can wizz around if you get it right and marvel at the Roosts (standing waves) that occur - they are well marked on the chart.
Written by Don Thomson | 12th Apr 2018
As far as we can tell there have been no changes here though it is increasing in popularity.
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