Hull is perhaps the largest city on the East Coast of England, and has had strategic importance throughout the years.
With the Baltic trade, whaling industry, and in the not too distant past deep sea fishing, Hull has deep connections with the sea. With the decline the fishing industry following the Icelandic " Cod Wars" in the 70s increased importance has been placed on freight handling. 13 million tons of cargo are handled per year, and this is projected to rise with improved rail links.
ABP run the port, and around 5000 people are directly employed in various port services, with a further 18,000 employed locally in ancillary services. Another diversification to cope with dwindling income from fishing has been the creation of a Ro-Ro ferry service to Europe direct from the city area. The ferries handle over 1 million passengers every year.
Yachtsmen and motorboaters have not been neglected either, with the Marina being created in the old Humber Street Dock virtually in the centre of the city. It was opened in 1983 and has 270 berths for boats, with less than 10 reserved for visitors. As there are fewer berths for visitors it would be worth checking for availbility in advance.
The city was badly hit during the Blitz which destroyed much of the old quarter, but there remains plenty of admirable architecture, and the Marina being centrally based is the ideal spot to explore from.
The city can offer everything a visiting yachtsman might need, for the boat and for himself. Provisioning and transport are straightforwards, and anyone making the effort to push up the Humber as far as Hull will probably find themselves wanting to stay for a little while.
The city lies about 20 miles into the River Humber from Spurn Head, fierce tides and much commercial shipping / ferries make the journey not exactly straightforward...
Entrance to the Marina is via a lock, and arrival must be timed three hours either side of high water. Spring tides can reach rates of 5 kn near Hull, careful calculations will be needed if you don't want to be sitting on the spot motoring full speed ahead and getting nowhere !
The approach to the River Humber and as far as Grimsby.....
.... have already been covered in the articles dealing with Spurn Head and Grimsby.
Ideally you would want to arrive at the entrance to the Humber six hours before high water Hull, at which point the tide flows into the Humber and reverses to a south going direction off the Lincolnshire coast.
Approaching from the North is complicated by the fact that if you intend to catch the tide going into the Humber.... you will have to fight (a much weaker) north going tidal flow up the coast you are descending....
If due to bad luck, weather, or other unforeseen problems you cannot be in the Spurn Head area at four or five hours before high water Hull, it is unlikely you will get there on your current tide unless you have an exceptionally powerful craft.
Your alternatives then consist of the following:
1. Anchoring behind Spurn Head and waiting for a later tide (Covered in a separate article). This is okay if the wind is in the north/northeast or is generally light. Th HPA supplies a buoy in that vicinity.
2. Going into Grimsby Marina... you still need to arrive here two hours either side of high water for free flow into the Fish Dock, or there will be a £20 charge for locking in (Covered in a separate article). If planning to get to Hull the problem with this option is you can only leave Grimsby two hours before high water (without paying for the lock).... and you may have exactly the same problem in that it will be a struggle to reach Hull before the tide turns on you.
3. If the wind is in the north-west a sheltered anchorage can be had close to the north bank of the river near Hawkins Point. This is the only area on the Lower Humber where any protection can be gained from north-westerly winds. You will need to tuck in closely and dig your anchors in well. You will be out of the way of shipping but will still be subject to strong tides. At least from this spot you can set off in plenty of time, unrestrained by lock openings.
4. There is a spot for shallow draft/bilge keelers inTetney Haven but you will have to juggle the tides/depths to get the most out of the Humber flood. The good thing here is that if you can keep close in shore around the Clee Ness sands off Grimsby the last of the Humber ebb is quite weak before you pick up the flood.
5. If you have time to push into the River before the tide turns, and the winds are from a southerly or westerly direction an anchorage is available between The Humber Sea Terminal at North Killingholm Haven and Skitter Haven. Tucked close inshore with Halton Flat protecting you from ships, the average pleasure craft can sound around and find plenty of water. This spot puts you in easy striking distance of Hull, but perhaps wouldn't be too wise in strong winds with a North or East component in them. In this case Spurn Head is ideal. Note there is no anchoring area north of Skitter Haven, and foul patches, all well charted. You should also note that this year's chart shows the Halton Flat extending another mile downstream from its old position.
6. Not trying to teach the art of egg sucking but, if you do run aground on the flood, get an anchor out sharpish to prevent the rising tide taking you further onto the putty.
So much for the strategy involved for a foray up the Humber to Hull. Before making the trip you would be well advised to check out the link below from ABP Humber, who have prepared a very useful guide for visiting small craft sailors:
There is a further link on that site
If you are really keen you could look at this link for recent surveys of the whole of the Estuary
Current Humber Charts - ABP Humber
From here you can also download all the bye-laws and regulations concerning the River which are far too lengthy for us to quote directly. They are mainly concerned with safety and much is common sense. Particularly salient points are that anchoring is not allowed in navigable channels (together with plenty of other restricted areas), that shipping is given plenty room and tidal flows are taken into account, that small craft keep well clear of all dock entrances where emerging ships may not be able to manoeuvre, and that groundings and accidents must be reported immediately.
Small craft skippers are advised to monitor Humber VTS on the following channels:
VHF Channel 14 is the main operational working Channel for the Humber Approaches through to the meridian of longitude passing through the No.4A Clee Ness Light Float.
VHF Channel 12 is the main operational channel for the Middle Humber upriver of the meridian of longitude which passes through the No. 4A Clee Ness Light Float to the Humber Bridge.
There is in general enough room for small craft to keep out of the shipping tracks, and as a strategy with a suitable rise of tide it is possible to cut around the back of Halton Flat, and Hull Middle Sands can also be cut across nearing the top of the tide by vessels of normal drafts. This is a matter for the individual skipper armed with good charts and tide tables.
If following the main shipping channels, depths will be no problem and full concentration can be applied dealing with shipping.
In the approach to the Marina, which lies on the North bank, an unmistakable landmark is "The Deep" a futuristic looking building (looking like something out of Star Wars just about to take off). This is rapidly followed by Victoria Pier, a timber structure, and then Minerva Pier, a steel piling and concrete structure.
Note that the "Huddle Middle" shoal has changed its shape since the last charts.
The entrance to the Marina lock involves turning past the end of Minerva Pier into the tidal Humber Dock Basin and locking in (Details shortly). All these features can be clearly seen in the photo gallery.
All that remains to be said to the small boat skipper is that the tide that has been propelling you thus far forwards may continue to propel you westwards past your destination if you're not careful...... you could then face a determined struggle to fight back against it.
Entry to the Marina (nowadays run by Aquavista) is straightforward providing ....
.....you remember to make allowance for the strong cross tides in the approach to Humber Dock Basin. (See the notes left in the comments below on how to make the entry in strong tides - thanks "Mudpilot") Basically use the ferry glide approach slowly from downtide because if you charge at it you suddenly enter the slack water of the lock basin with insufficient room to stop!! Once within the basin, of course the tide lets up. Locking in is up to 3 hours either side of high water even for vessels drawing up to 2 m. Deep draught vessels can be handled closer to high water, with 4 m available within the dock. Further details and prices:
It is best to contact the lock keeper 10 mins in advance, so all can be prepared. The lock is controlled by traffic lights with three reds indicating that it is closed from your direction.
Marina and lock staff operate 24 hours throughout the year, contact them on VHF channel 80 (Hull Marina), or telephone 01482 609960. The duty Lock Keeper is on 07789 178501. A link to their website is provided below:
Mooring rates in this Marina (2022 season)work out at £3.30 per metre per day, but that includes shore power and VAT
Once within go where directed.
Water and complementary electricity are available at all the pontoons, diesel is available but no petrol.
Calor gas and Camping Gaz are available at the Chandlery
Free showers and toilets are available 24 hours a day ashore, as are laundry facilities (coin op)
Rubbish disposal skips are available, and holding tanks can be pumped out with a £10 charge.
Chandlery is available on site, and a 50 tonne travel lift is available for boats up to a maximum of 65'. With hardstanding available. Masts can be unstepped and stepped at the yard also.
There is good security with CCTV, gated pontoons and 24-hour staff.
For provisioning there are various small supermarkets and grocery shops within easy walking distance. Fruit and veg markets are next to the Marina. The Marina is very close to the financial district and the big high street stores...so shopaholics should have no problem either shopping or getting the money to do so...
The railway station is about 10 minutes walk away and has excellent connections with the rest of the country, including a direct service to London.
P&O Ferries provide daily overnight ferry services from King George Dock in Hull to Zeebrugge and Rotterdam. Services to Rotterdam are worked by ferries Pride of Rotterdam and Pride of Hull, the largest ferries operating from the United Kingdom.
The nearest airport is Humberside Airport, which mainly caters for charter holidays. There are also scheduled flights to Aberdeen and Amsterdam, provided by Eastern Airways and KLM respectively.
The world doesn't end at the Humber Bridge, in fact it is possible for even ships to push much further inland to the docks at Goole ( which is over 40 miles from the sea). It is beyond the scope of this article to cover this area, and indeed it would be very hard to do so in any meaningful way.
Beyond the Humber Bridge the fast flowing river changes and throws up new banks and channels so frequently that ABP Humber has to be constantly surveying and actually produces a new chart of the area every two months. The Admiralty charts wisely decline to show the channels and buoyage because of the frequent changes.
Nevertheless, the commercial docks at Goole are in regular use, the channels are well marked by buoyage, and the competent skipper of a seagoing craft shouldn't have too much trouble working their way inland if armed with the latest ABP chart. The same cannot be said of canal craft owners emerging from the inland waterway system at Goole and attempting the fast flowing tidal waters of the Humber. For those used to the tranquil waters of a canal, this stretch of the Humber could prove too much of a challenge... advice should be sought.
The docks at Goole link into the inland waterway system, and small craft facilities can be found at this junction in the form of Viking Marine who run a small Marina.
Other spots of possible interest to the intrepid visitor en-route are Ferriby Sluice, Brough (home of the Humber Yawl Club), and Winteringham Haven.
Kingston upon Hull is situated on the north bank of the Humber estuary at the mouth of its tributary, the River Hull. The valley of the River Hull has been inhabited since the early Neolithic period but there is little evidence for a substantial settlement in the area where the town of Kingston upon Hull was sited. The situation was attractive to its early developers because of its ability to give access to a prosperous hinterland and navigable rivers, but the actual site was not as good as it was remote and low lying with no fresh water. It was originally an outlying part of the hamlet of Myton when, in the late 12th century, it was chosen by the monks of Meaux Abbey to develop as a new town which they named Wyke upon Hull. The River Hull was a good haven for shipping whose main trade was in the export of wool from the abbey. In 1293 the town was acquired from the abbey by King Edward I, who later granted a royal charter, dated 1 April 1299, that renamed the settlement King's town upon Hull, or Kingston upon Hull. The charter remains preserved in the archives of the city's Guildhall. In 1440, a further charter incorporated the town and instituted local government consisting of a mayor, a sheriff, and twelve aldermen.
The port served as a base for Edward I during the First War of Scottish Independence and later developed into the foremost port on the east coast of England. It prospered by exporting wool and woollen cloth and importing wine. Hull also established a flourishing commerce with the Baltic ports as part of the Hanseatic League. Sir William de la Pole was the town's first mayor. A prosperous merchant, de la Pole founded a family that became prominent in government. Another successful son of a Hull trading family was bishop John Alcock, who founded Cambridge University's Jesus College and was a patron of the grammar school in Hull. The increase in trade after the discovery of the Americas and the town's maritime connections are thought to have played a part in the introduction of a virulent strain of syphilis through Hull and on into Europe from the New World. The town prospered during the 16th and early 17th centuries and Hull's affluence at this time is preserved in the form of several well-maintained buildings from the period, including Wilberforce House, now a museum documenting the life of William Wilberforce.
During the English Civil War, Hull became strategically important because of the large arsenal located there. Very early in the war, on 11 January 1642, the king named the Earl of Newcastle as governor of Hull while Parliament nominated Sir John Hotham and asked his son, Capt. John Hotham, to secure the town at once. Sir John Hotham and Hull corporation declared support for Parliament and denied Charles I entry into the town. Charles I responded to these events by besieging the town. This siege helped precipitate open conflict between the forces of Parliament and those of the Royalists.
Whaling played a major role in the town's fortunes until the mid-19th century. Hull's prosperity peaked in the decades just before the First World War; it was during this time that city status was granted in 1897. After the decline of the whaling industry, emphasis shifted to deep sea fishing until the Anglo-Icelandic Cod War of 1975–1976. The conditions set at the end of this dispute initiated Hull's economic decline.
The city's port and industrial facilities, coupled with its proximity to mainland Europe, led to extremely widespread damage by bombing raids during the Second World War; much of the city centre was completely destroyed. Hull had 95% of its houses damaged or destroyed, making it the most severely-bombed British city or town, apart from London, during World War II.
Of a population of approximately 320,000 at the beginning of World War II, approximately 192,000 were made homeless as a result of bomb destruction or damage. The worst of the bombing occurred during 1941. Little was known about this destruction by the rest of the country at the time since most of the radio and newspaper reports did not reveal Hull by name but referred to it as a "North-East" town or "northern coastal town". Most of the city centre was rebuilt in the years following the war, but it is only recently that the last of the "temporary" car parks that occupied the spaces of destroyed buildings have been redeveloped.
Some areas of Hull lie on reclaimed land at or below sea level. The Hull Tidal Surge Barrier is at the point where the River Hull joins the Humber estuary and is lowered at times when unusually high tides are expected. It is used between 8 and 12 times per year and protects the homes of approximately 10,000 people from flooding. Due to its low level, Hull is expected to be at increasing levels of risk from flooding due to global warming. Hull was hit particularly hard by the June 2007 United Kingdom floods because of the local topography which resulted in standing water over a wide area affecting 20% of the city's housing and damaging 90 out of its 105 schools. The plight of the city at that time was largely overlooked by the media, which focussed upon the more dramatic, localised, flooding in Sheffield and Doncaster, leading council leader Carl Minns to declare Hull the "forgotten city" of the floods. Damage to schools alone was estimated at £100 million.
Located in Northern England, Hull has a temperate maritime climate which is dominated by the passage of mid-latitude depressions. The weather is very changeable from day to day and the warming influence of the Gulf Stream makes the region mild for its latitude. Rain falling on about 109 days of the year giving an average total annual rainfall is 565 millimetres (22 in). January is usually the coldest month and November the wettest. The warmest month is August and the driest is February.
The economy of Hull was built on seafaring and although the fishing industry is in decline the city remains a very busy port, handling 13 million tonnes of cargo per year. Freight handling at the port is projected to rise following Network Rail overseeing a £14.5 million investment in the rail link, which was completed in mid-2008, to increase its capacity from 10 trains per day to 22. The port operations run by Associated British Ports and other companies in the port, employ 5,000 people. A further 18,000 are employed as a direct result of the port's activities. The port area of the city has diversified to compensate for the decline in fishing by the introduction of Roll-on Roll-off ferry services to the continent of Europe. These ferries now handle over a million passengers each year. Hull has exploited the leisure industry by creating a marina from the old Humber Street Dock in the centre of the city. It opened in 1983 and has 270 berths for yachts and small sailing craft.
Industry in the city is focused on the chemical and health care sectors. Several well-known British companies, including BP, Smith & Nephew, Seven Seas, and Reckitt Benckiser, having facilities in Hull. The health care sector is further enhanced by the research facilities provided by the University of Hull through the Institute of Woundcare and the Hull York Medical School partnerships.
As the biggest settlement in the East Riding of Yorkshire and the local transport hub, Hull is a natural focus for retail shoppers and areas of Hull are undergoing regeneration to encourage retailing and commercial development. These areas include the Quay West and St Stephen's projects.
Music and Nightlife
On the popular music scene, in the 1960s, Mick Ronson of the Hull band Rats worked closely with David Bowie and was heavily involved in production of the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Ronson later went on to record with Lou Reed, Bob Dylan and The Wildhearts. There is a Mick Ronson Memorial Stage in Queen's Gardens in Hull. In the 1980s, Hull bands such as The Red Guitars, The Housemartins and Everything But the Girl found mainstream success. Paul Heaton, former member of The Housemartins went on to front The Beautiful South. Another former member of The Housemartins, Norman Cook, now performs as Fatboy Slim. In 1983, Hull-born Paul Anthony Cook, Stuart Matthewman and Paul Spencer Denman formed the group Sade. In 1984, the singer Helen Adu signed to CBS and the group released the album Diamond Life. The album went Triple Platinum in the UK. Vocalist and actor Roland Gift, who formed the Fine Young Cannibals, grew up in Hull. The record label Pork Recordings started in Hull in the mid-1990s and has released workings of Fila Brazillia, Mr Beasley and The Brilliance among others. The Sesh night has released four DIY compilations featuring the cream of Hull's live music scene and there are currently a few labels emerging in the city, including Purple Worm Records and Empire. The Adelphi is a popular local venue for alternative live music in the city, and has achieved notability outside Hull, having hosted such bands as The Stone Roses, Radiohead, Green Day, and Oasis in its history, while the Springhead caters to a variety of bands and has been recognised nationally as a Live Music Pub of the Year.
The nightlife of Hull attracts people from outlying areas as well as inhabitants of the city. It has the concentration of pubs and bars expected of any large city in contemporary Britain. The drinking culture in the city centre tends towards late bars while the wine bars and pubs around Hull University and its accommodation area are popular with students. In particular, the areas around Newland Avenue and Prince's Avenue have seen a rapid expansion in continental style bars and cafes encouraged by the redesign of the street layout.
The annual Hull Jazz Festival takes place around the Marina area for a week at the beginning of August. This is followed, in early September, by the Sea Fever Festival, an International Sea Shanty Festival.
The main road route into and out of Hull is the M62 motorway/A63 road, which is one of the main east–west routes in northern England. It provides a link to the cities of Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds as well as the rest of the country via the UK motorway network. The motorway itself ends some distance from the city; the rest of the route is along the A63 dual carriageway. This east–west route forms a small part of the European road route E20.
Hull is close to the Humber Bridge, which provides road links to destinations south of the Humber. This toll bridge was constructed between 1972 and 1981 and at the time it was built it was the longest single-span suspension bridge in the world. It is now fifth on the list.
Prior to the construction of the bridge those wishing to cross the Humber could either take a ferry or travel inland as far as Goole.
Public transport within the city is provided by two main bus operators: Stagecoach in Hull and East Yorkshire Motor Services. A smaller operator, Alpha Bus and Coach, provides one of the two Park and Ride services in the city, while East Yorkshire Motor Services provide the other. Generally, routes within the city are operated by Stagecoach and those which leave the city are operated by EYMS.
Paragon Interchange, opened on 16 September 2007, is the city's transport hub, combining the main bus and rail termini in an integrated complex. It is expected to have 24,000 people passing through the complex each day. From the railway terminus, services run to the rest of the UK, including direct services to London, provided by First Hull Trains.
P&O Ferries provide daily overnight ferry services from King George Dock in Hull to Zeebrugge and Rotterdam. Services to Rotterdam are worked by ferries Pride of Rotterdam and Pride of Hull, the largest ferries operating from the United Kingdom.
The nearest airport is Humberside Airport which is 20 miles (32 km) away in Lincolnshire, this mostly provides charter flights but it also has four KLM scheduled flights to Amsterdam and Aberdeen each day. Robin Hood Airport in South Yorkshire is 48 miles (77 km) from the city centre and provides low cost flights to many European destinations.
Road transport in Hull suffers from delays caused both by the many bridges over the navigable River Hull which bisects the city and which can cause disruption at busy times, and from the remaining three level crossings in the city. The level crossing problem was greatly relieved during the 1960s by the closure of the Hornsea and Withernsea branch lines, the transfer of all goods traffic to the high level line that circles the city, and by the construction of two major road bridges on Hessle Road (1962) and Anlaby Road (1964).
Hull is the only city in the UK with its own independent telephone network company, Kingston Communications. Its distinctive cream telephone boxes can be seen across the city. The company was formed in 1902 as a municipal department by the City Council and is an early example of municipal enterprise. It remains the only locally operated telephone company in the UK, although it is now privatised. Initially Hull City Council retained a 44.9 per cent interest in the company and used the proceeds from the sale of shares to fund the city's sports venue, the KC Stadium, among other things. On 24 May 2007 they sold their remaining stake in the company for over £107 million.
Kingston Communications was one of the first telecoms operators in Europe to offer ADSL to business users, and the first in the world to run an interactive television service using ADSL, known as Kingston Interactive TV (KiT). In recent years, Kingston Communications has expanded and diversified its service portfolio to become a nationwide provider of telephone, television, and Internet access services, having close to 180,000 customers projected for 2007.
The text on this HISTORY page is covered by the following licence
The advantage of this Marina is that it is absolutely central to the city centre, therefore the many museums, galleries and cinemas are mostly within an easy walk. Visiting Mariners will no doubt be interested in the old Spurn Lightship, moored in the Marina.
The latest addition to the attractions in Hull is "The Deep", the futuristic looking building that you sailed past on your way in. This houses a new kind of aquarium where you can explore the ocean floor from coral lagoons to the icy wastes of Antarctica.
The tourist information centre is nearby on Paragon Street, and you can phone them on 01482 223559 to get all the information you may need.