Marina Information

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Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign


54° 50.36N 001° 18.6W


AC 0152 River Tyne to River Tees; AC 1627-4 Seaham; Imray C24 Flamborough Head to Fife Ness (includes harbour plan of Seaham); SC 5615 4A Whitby to Hartlepool; SC 5615 5B Seaham

Rules & Regulations

There is a 5 kt speed limit within the harbour. There are signal lights for entry/exit to the marina on the south side of the entrance. Three green lights mean that the gate is open and passage can be made in either direction (it does not denote right of way) and three red lights mean the gate is closed or cycling


There are no off shore though close in to the cliffs there are rocky ledges out to a cable or so both North and South of the harbour. Within the marina itself there are a couple of historic mooring posts to look out for which are marked by flashing yellow lights at night. If manoeuvring within the marina at LWS have a care near the entrance as depths can sometimes be reduced to a metre by silting. Cargo vessels making for the South Dock should be given priority under Rule 9 of the coll regs.

Tidal Data Times & Range

HW Seaham is HW River Tees - 0015 or HW Dover +0435. MHWS 5.02m MHWN 4.1m MLWN 2.0m MLWS 0.7m; Tide link for River Tees (primary port):   (links)

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General Description

Harbour Master 0191 516 1700  mob 07887 755826   VHF 12
Marina Office    0191 581 8998  mob  0758 4297326


The harbour was built here in the 1828 by the local landowner for the export of coal from his mines but within decades of being built the output from the local coal mines had outstripped the capacity of the harbour and the railways took over.  This left the harbour as a mixed cargo operation (though coal was exported from the North Dock until they had to dismantle the tide gate in 1952) and it has remained as such ever since. 

The harbour has an unusual design having a locked South Dock and what became a tidal North dock, all surrounded by a wave screen which is encompassed by a further set of protective walls (built in 1898) outwith that. The main, locked South Dock is given over to commercial traffic and this will have to be borne in mind when entering the harbour en route to the marina.

The North Dock fell into disuse in the mid 20th century, apart from a few fishing boats, and the historic buildings were in danger of becoming derelict. You have to remember that, when the mines closed, this area was catapulted back to the pre-industrial revolution days; it wasn’t just the harbour that suffered, but the whole region; this marina is part of that region redefining itself and it looks to be well done. The town itself is a pleasant place and very proud of the fact that Lord Byron was married here early in the 19th century; indeed, the shopping centre adjacent to the docks is called “Byron Place”. It has had a mixed history, especially during the 19century, when the coal mining industry was in its heyday and there were several pits in the area exporting through the port itself; before that it was primarily agricultural. 

They have had their share of both mining disasters and maritime ones (their lifeboat sank with loss of life in 1962 attempting to rescue the crew of a cobble just outside the harbour) and the closure of the pits sent the area into an economic downslide. From a historical point of view a very good report of what happened to the Seaham Lifeboat back in 1962 can be found at:

The George Elmy Restoration Project 

It makes for good reading and a salutary warning for us what goes to the sea to play.

As has been said, things are looking up again and the development of the marina and the surroundings of the North dock are another step on the way to recovery. The harbour’s easy entrance (in all but bad onshore weather), new facilities and position (5 miles south of Sunderland and 11 mile North of Hartlepool) will make it a very convenient place for wandering yachties to stop.

The marina has now been operating for several years and is proving more popular for visitors than they expected. They now have a very good website with piles of information for the visiting sailor and we have given links to various pages of that website where appropriate (they are the same pages that we displayed before but have different URLs now.)

There is a limit on the size of boat they can take which 11 metres LOA and 1.8 metres draft but if you approaching those limits have a chat with the HM before entry.

You can find their website at


The approach is very simple; from our waypoint (given above) set a course of 250°T for the harbour entrance.

This should lead one North of that shallow patch a couple of cables due East of the harbour mouth. At night be very careful to identify the various red lights on display; there are the 2F.R(vert) on the portside south pierhead, the 3F.R (triangle) on the port pierhead of the inner wave screen and the F.R on the entrance to the South Dock.

Add to that the possibility of 3R (vert) shining at the marina entrance and you could easily be mistaken on a rough night. This may seem a piffling piece of advice but if you read what happened to their lifeboat only fifty years ago you will see why we mention it.

A chartlet of the harbour and the way in can be found at the website below:(right click for option to open in a new window or tab)

Seaham chartlet

THe marina now listen on VHF, initial contact on #16 and a switch to #08. The harbour is on channel 12 should you encounter any commercial vessels entering/leaving. There is no requirement at the moment to contact the harbour for entry but that may well change as they develop their procedures; in the meantime a wise skipper would monitor 12 just in case!

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

The visitors’ berths are just inside the marina on your starboard side.....

.... but before you get to that you need to make sure you’ve done your sums.

The tide gate at the marina entrance works automatically and opens/closes at CD +2.5 metres (we provide a link to the Easytide predictions for Seaham up there on the right hand side of this site but don’t forget the hour for BST!); the marina is dredged to between CD +1 to +1.5m (the visitors berths are 1.5m and 1.2 m). We have provided a link to the marina plan below



Their charges for 2021 is still only £15 per day with reductions for a week’s stay. This is very cheap, especially when you factor in that it includes VAT and free shore power.

Entrance to the pontoons is controlled by an electronic fob which will be issued on arrival. NB if arriving out of office hours, ring ahead to make arrangements for obtaining one of these fobs.


There’s water and shore power (included in the mooring fee) on the walkways, but not the fingers, so you might need an extension to your normal cable but the marina has extra cables and hoses if required.  Toilets and showers are available in the “Waterside” amenities development. 

They have got 10 small industrial units alongside the marina and they are hoping that one of them may attract a chandlery (this was still on their wish list in 2021); until then Calor gas (but NOT Camping Gaz) is available at Oliver’s in the town.

Unfortunately there is no fuel here yet and it is not obtainable from the commercial dock either, so road diesel and petrol will have to be lugged in cans from the garage in the town about half a mile away.  They are still hoping to provide diesel at some time in the future but as of 2019 this is still not available.

They now have a boat lift crane.

Eating, Drinking & Entertainment

There are plenty of eateries and pubs here (but not so many as there were in the “good old days”) and you should have no trouble from a thirsty crew.

There is a café alongside the marina for your immediate needs and there is both an ASDA and an ALDIs for re-supply.  Behind the Byron Place mall there is a pedestrian precinct with the usual banks and retail outlets.

Attached to the Marina they are opening an Heritage Centre and eventually you will be able to see the restored Liverpool class Lifeboat, “George Elmy” which was lost, refurbished and returned for service and eventually recovered by the people of Seaham when it was found for sale on the West Coast. You can find its story at:


Your Ratings & Comments

Written by Don Thomson 3 | 10th May 2021
I reviewed these notes in May 2021. Their fees are still very low so it is an attractive spot to stop. Still no chandlery .
Update Spring 2019
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 18th Apr 2019
These notes were reviewed in April 2019. There's been a minor change to prices but you won't notice it as it is still ridiculously cheap. They haven't manage to get diesel as yet but they have managed to get a crane. The marina is full and most of the units have been occupied. I've put up this years charts. Their website is brilliant compared to a lot of harbour websites I have to peruse. It's been a pleasure watching them grow
Written by Don Thomson | 31st Mar 2017
These notes were reviewed by Don in March 2017. Prices are still the same for 2017 and more buildings and improvements completed. We've added a super Keep Turning Left video of the approach.
Update Spring 2016
Written by dononshytalk | 4th Apr 2016
These notes were reviewed by Don in April 2016. This marina is still evolving but, as yet, no diesel and no chandler y. They are holding the 2015 prices for 2016
Update 2015
Written by dononshytalk | 11th Mar 2015
These notes were reviewed by Don in March 2015. The Marina is now established though they have just obtained funding and are looking to improve facilities (Diesel, lift out among others) Their prices went up from the initial opening but are not being increased for the coming season (2015)
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