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St Andrews

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Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign


56° 20.2 N 002° 44.5W


AC 0190 Montrose to Fife Ness; AC 1407 Montrose to Berwick on Tweed; SC 5617 Scotland East Coast; Imray C23 Fife Ness to the Moray Firth; Imray C27 Firth of Forth (includes Harbour Plan of St Andrews)

Rules & Regulations

There is the usual 4 knot speed limit and vessels entering the channel have priority


There are reefs on either side of the entrance aligned with the North Pier and awash from half tide. In strong onshore winds the entrance is impossible

Tidal Data Times & Range

HW St Andrews is 15 mins before HW Leith. There are no figures for St Andrews but the spring range is about 4 metres and the neaps about 2 metres and then harbour pretty well dries completely at LW.

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General Description

Harbour Master                07715 559848

St Andrews Sailing Club     01334 479059,   07884071831   www.standrewssailing.org

This small, tidal harbour is a bit off the beaten track for the passage making sailor but, for the coast hopping sailor who can take the ground, it is a must-visit spot.  St Andrews houses the third oldest University in the UK, only superseded by Oxford and Cambridge and is world renowned for the quality of its education.  Many will perhaps be more aware of the town as the home of golf and will want to visit The Royal and Ancient Clubhouse and maybe even play a round here.  The town, during term time, is one complete university campus though, since the mid 1960’s, the main campus is out to the west of the town overlooking the golf courses; as a result you will find the cafes and bars flooded with students in the evening.  During the summer, in the long vac, the town becomes a golfing town and then it becomes busy with foreign visitors  many of who (for some strange reason) wear plaid trousers!!

The harbour itself is small and tucked down on the shore at the bottom of the cliffs that surround the old Castle and the ruins of St Andrews Cathedral. There is an outer harbour (all berths taken by the inshore fishing boats) which is enclosed by the long main pier  aligned ESE/WSW and a shorter pier to its south. Then there is an inner harbour which is accessed through a swing bridge and lock gates.  The lock gates are not there to maintain a floating harbour inside but are closed once a month on HW springs to trap the water behind them which is then released at LW to scour the outer harbour and harbour entrance.  The swing bridge can be opened by the HM or, in his absence, by the staff at the café beside the bridge.

There are no large scale charts of the harbour but, if you visit our images gallery and the Google link (top right) you can see the basic layout.

The harbour website is at  http://www.standrewsharbourtrust.org/index.html  and they also have a FB page which has hundred of pictures on it.


No matter from what direction you approach St Andrews the first thing you see will be the ruins of the old cathedral....

... and St Reg’s (aka St Rules or St Regulus) tower; there are further spires to the West of the harbour entrance, not be confused with those ruins.

From the East you are blessed with the white buildings behind the harbour as an aiming spot from far out but from the North you need to aim about half a mile to the East of the square St Reg’s tower in order to stand clear of the inshore reefs.  These reefs are extensive and lie parallel to the north pier wall from abeam the R&A Golf Club to about a cable to the SE of the harbour entrance, stretching out to a couple of cables off-shore in places; indeed, the main pier wall has been constructed on top of one of these reefs as can be seen in the photograph in our gallery of the entrance to the harbour.  Take a good look at that photograph and note that the deepest channel is close to the wall, but not too close, or you will catch on the reef on which the wall is built.

There is a sector light which shines 24/7 and is bright enough to be seen in daylight; it is in the window halfway up the cliff from the harbour and shown in a photo in our gallery. You should be especially aware of a rock (known locally as the Bishop’s Neb) about half a cable off the end of the pier and which is awash at half tide.

It sounds daunting; narrow tidal entrance, surrounded by rocks but, in fact, if you plan your entrance after about half tide and come in on the sector light bearing of roughly 280°M you’ll not have any trouble - just don’t try to cut the corners!!

Once abeam the end of the pier inbound hold about 2.5 metres clear of the pier wall and aim for the left hand edge of the slip opposite, at the root of the pier wall.

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

The aforementioned slip is where you tie up.

In the Inner Harbour there have been massive improvements.  They have installed pontoons and fingers along the West wall and have fingers fo sixteen boats to dry out on the mud.  They intend to put a further pontoon in behind the cafe and that will have access to power and water. We have added a photo from the harbour FB page.
There are no longer any buoys in the inner harbour so the local yacht club can no longer help with a mooring buoy there.

So our previous comments re staying for a couple of nights and exploring remain valid but you will find the accommodations for your yacht have improved a lot.  We would recommend a text to the HM's mobile to advise him if this is your intent.

They were charging £20 per boat, per night irrespective of length in 2021 but, if you pay for two nights you can have a third night free.


This is where you really need to contact both the HM and the local sailing club before arrival and, from experience; a text to the HM will probably elicit a reply.  

The "amenities" available here have been improved to the extent that you can now arrange with the HM to have access to the local yacht club for showers and toilets. It will cost £4.00 per day paid to the HM or his representative at the cafe and they will supply you with an information sheet with directions and an access code for the Yacht Club.
Apparently there has been an improvement to the public heads under the arches - but not massive!!

There is now power and water available on the pontoons 

Petrol, diesel, Gas and Gaz is available at Morrisons and the garden centre near it. Alternatively there is a petrol station at the far end of South Street just outside the South Gate, but it does not stock Gas/Gaz.

For supplies there is a Tesco Metro on the south side of Market Street about halfway down. Further away there is a large Morrisons store.

Eating, Drinking & Entertainment

You will be spoilt for choice for places to eat and drink - everything is available from fish and chip shops and other fast food outlets to gourmet eating at places like Rufflets or the Grange outside town.  A comprehensive guide to drinking here can be found at:


You can also find a list of restaurants here:

Restaurants & Places to Eat in St Andrews  Tripadvisor

For other things to do there is the Recreation Centre at the end of the East Beach, The ruins of the Cathedral which does guided tours, a cinema (yes it’s still there after all these years) , a wander around the old University buildings (unfortunately St Mary’s College appears to be closed during the long vac) - you can even have a coffee in the café where, supposedly, Kate met Prince William!!

Naturally, if you have your clubs with you will want to have a go on the Old Course and for this and other information use the link below (but before you open that link, be warned, the green fees for the Old Course at the height of the summer are in three figures.)



Your Ratings & Comments

Written by Don Thomson 3 | 14th Jul 2022
N Changes. Interesting Historical note; there's a cinema on North Street called "The New Cinema". Don't know about "New" - it was there in the early 60's and I had my first date with my wife to be there!!!
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 14th Mar 2022
We have amended the notes to give the contact number for the new HM, John Lambert. He has made some notes below this with new info which has been added to the notes. Be advised that the notes made last year giving a new contact number have been superceded and also there are no longer any buoys in the inner harbour
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Update for Spring 2022
Written by Harbour Master | 12th Mar 2022
Hello, there's a new harbour master in post since last September [John Lambert]. Contact details are 0771 5559848 or [email protected] the HM is a part time post so contact in advance would be much appreciated. We do have berths for visitors; short stay it's probably best to stay against the slipway in the outer harbour for a quick get away. Charges for a short stop are £5 for up to 6 hours [e.g. in on the flood out on the ebb or vice versa].
For longer stays we have a visitor's pontoon in the inner harbour that could take 2 yachts with water and power available. There are also up to 3 berths against the east wall of the inner harbour with ladders and power available. Visitors can get power cards from the harbour master.
We've very recently reviewed the charges for visitors which will remain at £20 per night but if you pay for 2 nights the 3rd night is free.
Other comments about the Fife Council public toilets are quite correct [the harbour itself is a Trust Port and nothing to do with the council]. However, the local sailing club or the leisure centre facilities are available for a small extra charge. Moorings are long gone, it's only the pontoon or the wall these days.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
New contact number and update on facilities
Written by allandewar | 22nd Jun 2021
The new contact number for harbour is 07415 667591. Water and electricity have just been installed in the inner harbour but you will have to purchase a card from the harbour operations office. Phone ahead to arrange as the office is not usually manned.
0 of 1 people found this helpful
Update Early Summer 2021
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 9th Jun 2021
I checked these notes in June 2021. Nothing has changed, the toilets in the wall are still awful but alternatives exist. Still best to text the HM and he'll get back to you
Written by Don Thomson | 16th Apr 2018
Things are looking up here. There are now pontoons in the inner harbour. Price has increased.
Update Spring 2016
Written by dononshytalk | 6th Apr 2016
These notes were reviewed by don in April 2016. They have added to the pontoons but little else has changed.
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