Harbour Information (use the icons to find out more)

Deben, River (Woodbridge Haven)

Your Comments: 20 Read or add your comments

Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign


Woodbridge Haven Safe Water Buoy (Approx Position Only) 51:58'.24 N 001:23.85 E


Admiralty, 2693, SC5607

Rules & Regulations

See Text


Entrance can be Dangerous, see text.

Tidal Data Times & Range

Entrance: Dover +0025, Woodbridge: Dover +0105 MHWS 4.0m MHWN 3.1m, MLWN0.9m, MLWS 0.4m   (links)

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General Description

The River Deben, or Woodbridge Haven as it is also known..... ... read more


There are gloomy warnings on the charts about the approaches to the Deben, with it's shifting shingle banks and bar. Use the link below to view the most recent chart of the entrance. ... read more

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

As you enter the River and clear Horse Shoal.... ... read more

Your Ratings & Comments

Update April 2023
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 11th Apr 2023
There is a new chart to download courtesy of the East Coast Pilot - DO NOT use the 2022 charts.
4 of 4 people found this helpful
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 4th Aug 2022
We have cleared the text up to reflect the the revised buoyage. I would imagine that in any sort of an Easterly it would be a very rolly approach?
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 3rd Aug 2022
Thanks Sea Searcher (below). I am aware that the Deben Red Can buoy has been removed and the Green SHM laid - that is highlighted in the East Coast Pilot download. I wasn't aware that the Horse PHM had been removed. What I haven't done yet is edit the text in this article to reflect the changes given by the ECP - that will be done toute sweet.
Amendments to R Deben entrance
Written by Sea Searcher | 2nd Aug 2022
Coming into the river past the Martello tower, note that the Red buoy "Deben" has been removed. There is now a Green buoy with conical topmark "Deben" on the other side of the channel marking the spit where the two channels merge. The remainder of the description is still accurate.

Passing the moorings, the red can buoy "Horse" was removed several years ago, so please ignore all the references to it in the description.. It is best to contact the Harbour Masters if you want to pick up a mooring.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 20th Jul 2022
We have been advised of a change to the entry channel buoyage which can be found on the East Coast Pilot link in the Approach section
Update May 2022
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 24th May 2022
I reviewed these notes in May 2022. a Link to the East Coast Pilot's download page for this year's entrance details has been given. Usual increase in tariffs.
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 23rd Apr 2021
I reviewed these notes in April 2021. The new Deben Bar chart is included. All the prices have been updated. Note that there is no longer any anchoring directly outside the Woodbridge Sailing Club. I've updated the info on the Melton Boatyard to include provisioning and Pubs.
Why go all the way to Woodbridge?
Written by CP | 31st May 2019
Stop at Ramsholt, take up a buoy and chat with George. Then you will know that all is right in the world.
2 of 2 people found this helpful
Update Spring 2019
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 1st May 2019
Hooray - 1st May and the new entrance charts for here have been published. There is a link in the notes above
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Update Spring 2019
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 8th Apr 2019
I reviewed these notes in early April 2019; the new charts for the entrance have not yet been published so they remain to be linked later on this month. The price has gone up at the Tidemill Marina since we last wrote and several of the phone numbers have changed.
Written by Don Thomson | 2nd May 2018
The link to the entry channel chart has been updated
Update 2015
Written by dononshytalk | 16th Apr 2015
These notes were reviewed by Don in April 2015. Prices have been brought up to date and the link to the Deben Estuary site has been updated by John White
2 of 2 people found this helpful
Further Update 2013
Written by dononshytalk | 22nd Apr 2013
There is a new website for the Deben River entrance - the URL has been added to the Approach section of the description above
2 of 2 people found this helpful
Deben and Ore entrances Spring 2013 (by Kay)
Written by Bryant | 14th Apr 2013
"I sailed out of the Deben at LW Springs yesterday morning (13/4/2013) with no problems, min depth 1.6m and buoyed. And sailing into the Ore was equally easy, with plenty of depth, the minimum was 2.6m at half tide. Again the seasonal buoys are in place. There does not appear to be much of a horse close to North Weir Point this year, but depths close to the inshore West bank are reduced. Staying in mid river was no problem and I've never known the bars to be so deep! In conclusion, both entrances are buoyed and depths good. So, assuming good visiblity and avoiding strong onshore winds, it's just a question of pilotage and basic allowances for the tidal streams. For those who have never entered either river before, the advice to cross the bars at around half tide on a rising tide would seem sensible advice. Kay"

Update 2013
Written by dononshytalk | 1st Apr 2013
These notes were reviewed by Don T on the 1st April 2013. I searched in vain for a replacement for the Eastcoastrivers website to no avail but it is hoped that the Woodbridge Crusing club may upload something later this year. It is understood that the entrance channel has moved a little to the West of the 2012 position and this is noted in the text. Note that Trinity House alter the entrance buoyage each year to suit the channel, so identify and follow the buoyage on the day. Prices where available have been updated for 2013.
Scary but safe!
Written by Giles Watling | 16th Jun 2012
Back in 2009 I took my 20' Vivacity over the bar. It was blowing 6/7. From Woodbridge Haven we had a ten minute white knuckle ride 1hr after LW. my depth alarm was set to .5 meter below the keels. In the steep seas it kept going off in the troughs scaring the shit out of me, I expected to see a keel coming through the bottom of the boat any time. I turned the alarm off - it was too scary... We made it and had a great ride up the river sailing all the way. When we got to the Tidemill the Harbour Master was very accommodating and helpful, he found it hard to believe we had crossed the bar in such conditions. The facilities were not quite finished. but they looked very good. - A great night followed by being scared shitless crossing the bar in worsening conditions the next day. Who needs a tame theme park rollercoaster... The buoys are very useful - stay very close to them until you enter the calmer waters in the river, then keep to starboard until you have passed Horse Sand safely. A great special place - well worth the effort and the weight loss.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Deben Bar Pilotage
Written by windydick | 28th Dec 2011
Tip - treat the entry buoys as mid channel marks, pass them close. In particular, leave West Knolls PHB close to port - it really should be SHB. This advice particularly true last year, 2011, but likely to prevail indefinitely. Handage of buoys owes more to some kind of "tradition" than current reality. Dogleg close (30 metres) to Stone Banks between Mid Knolls SHB and Deben PHB.
2 of 2 people found this helpful
Tom Webb, around Britain on a 21' Beneteau 2011
Written by Tom Webb Sailing | 31st Oct 2011
7-9/7 – Woodbridge – I had to turn into Woodbridge after falling seasick leaving Harwich in rough conditions, the harbour master was incredibly helpful and guided me in on the phone, there’s horrendous shingle banks either side of the very narrow channel, there is also a huge rip tide that runs at its peak right at the entrance of the harbour but is a perfectly safe entrance in the right conditions. The river itself is very beautiful and is one of the gems of the East coast, if you sail up the river it gets much better. There is mooring buoys along the channel and a water taxi that runs to land which there is a pub and a fish and chips!
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Woodbridge reception and pubs
Written by Captain Pete | 15th Dec 2010
A small, privately owned, very friendly, minimum red tape marina. You’ll find a very helpful reception from “Mike the Pipe” or who ever else is on duty and having moored, and used the pretty new and very good shower block, pop along the old quay, past the barges to the Anchor Inn. Good real Ale, excellent food hospitably run by Vernon. You can’t go wrong.
2 of 2 people found this helpful
Up the Deben with visitMyHarbour.com
Written by Tolly Roger | 6th Sep 2010
Very informative, the need to knows and the nice to knows. Im planning on kicking off next season with a trip down from Lowestoft. These pages will be at the center of my planning.
1 of 2 people found this helpful
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