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Hamble, River

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Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign


Hamble Point S.Cardinal Buoy 50:50'.15N 001:18'.66W


Admiralty 2022, SC5600

Rules & Regulations

6 Knts Speed Limit, No Spinnakers, No Anchoring till Under the Bridges


Very Busy with Small Craft, Tricky manouvering in cross tides within marinas.

Tidal Data Times & Range

Double HW, First Approx Dover -0020 MHWS 4.5m MHWN 3.8m MLWN 1.9m MLWS 0.8m Tide tables:   (links)

This site is designed for slower, roaming broadband connections, like you would get at sea, so it needs JavaScript enabled to expand the text.

General Description

The Hamble River is a yachting mecca in particular for racing types.

It offers an interesting little village, Hamble le Rice, with various pubs and attractions for the visiting yachtsman, and mooring options as far as the eye can see.

 Although on first sight it might appear that the Hamble River is nothing more than a giant parking lot for yachts and small craft, it is quite attractive in its own right..... especially if you have a boat without a mast as you can escape the crowds by making your way under the fixed bridges into a different world.

The 80s TV series Howards Way was based around here and made the Jolly Sailor pub famous.

There is plenty of deep water for average size boats, and just about every Marine requirements can be met here, with five marinas (including three offerings from MDL), a couple of boatyards with moorings, and the harbour authority moorings themselves. In spite of the number of berths available it may still be difficult to secure somewhere in the height of season as resident boats fill up the vast majority of the 3000+ berths

Small-scale provisioning available in Hamble le Rice, and Tesco's at Bursledon for a major stock up.

This is not really a cruising area as the River consists of a narrow navigable channel leading through the numerous moorings and marinas as far as Bursledon Bridge. Anchoring is not allowed anywhere in the River (up to the bridges) and neither is flying spinnakers. Its attraction mainly lies in its central location and proximity to the cruising (and racing) grounds of the Solent and beyond.



From the Solent, the Hamble River is approached via Southampton Water, which has already been described in a separate article.

If approaching from the Southampton direction it is inadvisable to cut the corner and aim for the Easterly Cardinal beacon instead of starting your track as described in the following pilotage directions:

After locating and identifying the Hamble Point southerly Cardinal buoy (Q(6)+LFl.15s) and passing it close to port a generally northerly course is steered leaving the green beacons to starboard and the Easterly Cardinal post followed by red beacons to port. The narrow white section of the sectored light on the shore near Hamble Point (Dir.Oc(2).WRG.12s) shows the way in, and all the posts are lit. In the region of the green post number seven and the red post number six the channel swings slightly to the NNE, and the beacons and posts continue to show the way. A further sectored light on the shore at Warsash (Dir.Iso.WRG.6s) now shows the way with its narrow white sector.

An unmistakable jetty pushing right out into the River on the starboard hand belongs to the Warsash Maritime Centre. Lifeboats and capsules suspended on davits are used for training big ship mariners, and it is identifiable in darkness too.

The channel is invariably busy in the summer and you need to keep to the starboard side. Using the engine is sensible and seamanlike. Once in the River proper it is relatively simple to follow the gap between the moored boats that mark the edges of the narrow channel.

For strangers although it is possible to enter the River in darkness it is probably not advisable to push any further than Hamble point Marina, for fear having an unexpected and unwelcome encounter with an unlit mooring pile or moored boat.

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

Mooring opportunities abound for the visiting yachtsman or motorboater... even so at the height of the season it may be difficult to obtain a berth.

Options include harbour authority pontoons and moorings,  Hamble Point Marina,  Port Hamble Marina,  Mercury Yacht Harbour,  Universal Marina, and Swanwick Marina.   Other possibilities include the boatyards, and for those able to push under the bridges up river anchoring might be possible. These options are all covered shortly, including visitors prices:

The first mooring facilities the visitor will come across after entering the River are the pontoons midstream more or less opposite the Harbour Master's conspicuous black-and-white building on the Warsash side. These have plenty of deep water the rule being first come first served, and are administered by the harbour authorities. They also have some visitors pile moorings and a couple of jetties with walk ashore access, namely the Harbour Masters pontoon at Warsash and Harbour Masters pontoon at Hamble le Rice, with approximately 2 m and 1.5 m respectively at CD. The outsides of these jetties are for picking up and setting down with a maximum stay of 30 minutes and the boat being attended at all times. Links to harbour masters site below:


The prices (2022) on the disconnected pontoons are £2.00 per metre and on the connected pontoons £3.00 per metre, prices applying from 5 PM to 5 PM the following day. Short stays of up to 4 hours before 5 PM range from £4.00 to £8.00 depending on length and location. The harbour authorities also have scrubbing piles available for £25 at Warsash, Hamble and Land's End Hard.

No facilities are available on the River pontoons, but water is available at the two connected pontoons. No showers and toilets are available at the Harbour Master's but public toilets can be found ashore.

To use these berths call Hamble Harbour Radio on VHF channel 68, or telephone 01489 576387 and mobiles 07718 146380, 07718 146381, 07718 146399.

Diesel and gas are available at the Stone Pier fuel pontoon opposite the midstream moorings, and if on the isolated pontoons mid River it is either a case of a dinghy mission ashore or using the Hamble Water Taxi.  This taxi is no longer operated by the Warsash/Hamble Ferry (the pink ones) and now has a separate identity and painted Yellow. Contactable on 07827 157155 or #77 (c/s Hamble Water Taxi)

Hamble Point Marina

Laying on the Western side of the River immediately adjacent to the River pontoons is Hamble Point Marina. Some of the pontoons here are a bit short of water so a check of the chart is advisable. This MDL Marina has no dedicated visitors berths but it may be possible to fit in.

Contact Hamble Point Marina on VHF channel 80, or telephone 023 8045 2464 to check the availability of a berth, and if planning to go in be aware that a strong ebbing tide in particular can result in mooring mishaps of the cringingly embarrassing kind. Boats of up to 20 m can be handled.

Berthing costs (2022) come out at £4.40 per metre per night for boats up to 12.5 m, with larger boat being charged at £5.60 per metre. They charge £10.15 for a short stay (4 hours) Rates at all the other MDL marinas nearby are exactly the same.

All the usual Marina facilities are available here including travel lift, hardstanding, and chandlery (including gas). All pontoons have water and electricity, WiFi Internet throughout the Marina and tight security with CCTV. Various Marine services are on site check the directory. On the minus side it's a bit of a hike to town, although very basic supplies and a bar restaurant on site are available. A link to their website is provided below:


Moving up River from these facilities using small craft moorings are either side as your guide the next facility on your port hand side is Hamble Quay, belonging to the harbour authorities. Facility (water) and prices here have already been covered, as have contact details for arranging a berth overnight. The outside of the pontoon is strictly for setting down and picking up, ie not  to be used for mooring.

Port Hamble Marina

The next Marina up again on the Western (port) side is yet another MDL offering, Port Hamble Marina. This is the nearest Marina to the village of Hamble le Rice, has more deep water than the first Marina and is rightly popular. 

Again it has no dedicated visitors berths but they will no doubt be delighted to slot you in to a vacant residents berth and pocket the extra money. Checking ahead on VHF channel 80 or calling 023 8045 2741 will be required if seeking a berth here. The usual warnings about trying to berth in a strong tide apply here too. Berthing costs (2022) come out at £4.40 per metre per night for boats up to 12.5 m, with larger boat being charged at £5.60 per metre. They charge £10.15 for a short stay (4 hours) Rates at all the other MDL marinas nearby are exactly the same. Links to sites below:


All the usual facilities are available here with water and electricity on the pontoons, WiFi, toilets and showers ashore and a launderette. The fuel pontoon sells petrol as well as diesel and is open from 8 AM to 6 PM in the summer with winter opening hours 9 AM to 5 PM. They brought in a booking system during Covid restrictions and, having found that it works well, will continue to do so; call them on #80 in advance. Very good Marine facilities, lifting hardstanding, and all kinds of specialists and contractors... check directory. The facilities of the village are very close by.

Straight after Port Hamble marina again on your port side, you will see:

Hamble Yacht Services.  Only a short walk from all the amenities of Hamble village,  this is a privately owned boatyard and marina and can offer temporary and permanent berthing. They have a cafe on site which does breakfasts. Long and short stay visitors wanting to visit the River Hamble are welcome, with overnight berthing at £3.97 per metre per night up to 15m in 2022 and an additional charge for shore power.

Short stays with easy access to the village are £10.50 up to 4 hours (up to 15m)

For availability call 02380 201501 or Channel 80

Hamble Yacht Services - Full Service Marina Near Southhampton

Mercury Yacht Harbour.

Continuing up River once again using the piles and moorings as your guide will bring you to Mercury Yacht Harbour. Once more on your port hand side, it's across the tide pontoons with finger berths thrust into the River. Unbelievably this is yet another MDL offering..... 

The same scenario here too, with no allocated visitors space and maximum use being made of vacant residents berths. There's plenty of deepwater on the outer pontoons, and boats of up to 24 m can be accommodated.

As usual, call Mercury Yacht Harbour on VHF channel 80 or telephone 023 8045 5994 ahead of time for berthing enquiries, and bear in mind the cross tide when manoeuvring.

 Berthing costs (2022) come out at £4.40 per metre per night for boats up to 12.5 m, with larger boat being charged at £5.60 per metre. They charge £10.50 for a short stay (4 hours) Rates at all the other MDL marinas nearby are exactly the same

 Link to website below:


All the standard facilities, water, electricity, toilets and showers, WiFi and gas from the Chandlers. Tight security with cameras. Boat facilities include travel lift, hardstanding and sail makers. Specialists and contractors for all kinds of work can be arranged. This Marina is a good walk away from the village.

If continuing up River closer attention now needs to be paid to depths. Heading north from Mercury Yacht Harbour the moorings that have guided you so far thin out and it is necessary to identify the green post Crablack beacon and leave it well off on the starboard side as it is in fairly shallow water. The best water lays on the outside of this bend in the river to the north-east. Even then you will encounter patches with around 1 m at CD as you approach Universal Marina on your starboard hand, but in practice with around 0.6 m above datum even at LWS normal draft craft should have no problems.

Universal Marina

Universal Marina on the starboard side is not owned by MDL. Accessible at any state of the tide and being able to handle boats as big as 25 m, this Marina has spaces for visitors and can offer deepwater and drying berths. The usual facilities are also here with water and electricity on the pontoons and WiFi Internet. They also have a cafe on site.

Ashore are toilets, showers with good security. Berthing fees for 2022 are now £4.15 per metre per night (includes shore power.) with short stays at £1.60 with a minimum of £12.80. (shore power not included)  Contact universal Marina on VHF channel 80 or telephone 01489 574272, link to website below:

Universal Marina - River Hamble Marina | Premier Marinas

Not much ashore here with a convenience store about 15 minutes walk away. For the boat there is a 50T travel lift, large hardstanding areas, and all the specialists you could want for repairs. Check the directory.

 If continuing to head up River towards Bursledon Bridge be ready for the River to swing from its' north-easterly heading to a north-westerly heading in the region of the Swanwick green beacon on your starboard side. The mooring piles on your port hand side show the way, and lo and behold you are at Swanwick Marina (300 berths) on your starboard hand.

Swanwick Marina

Boats up to 20m can be accommodated at Swanwick Marina, you can call the marina to check availability on VHF channel 80 or by telephoning them on 01489 884081. There is deep water available on most of the pontoons. They are in the process of a major instalation of additional pontoons over the winter of 2019/2020 so the designation of pontoons and berths is a moving feast as we go to print. The prices here (2022) are £4.15 per metre per night for boats between 8.00 and 12.5 metres with a minimum charge of £33.20

Water and complimentary (up to £5.00 worth) electricity are on the pontoons with toilets, showers, and a launderette ashore. WiFi is available throughout this marina  and gas is available from the Marina Reception. Both petrol and diesel are available 24 hours a day, and holding tank pump outs are available.

Swanwick Marina boatyard is equipped with a 65T hoist and 15T mobile crane with plenty of storage ashore. A selection of on site tenants offer services from repairs, maintenance and engineering to chandlery and onboard catering. For limited provisioning, Force 4 chandlery and One Stop are close by, while a major stock up will require a visit to Tesco's about a mile away.

The Boat House has been refurbished and has an on site restaurant

For further information, please visit Swanwick Marina’s website:


This is virtually the limit of navigation for yachts, but mastless boats can pass under Bursledon Bridge and the motorway bridges with about 4 m clearance, and find further small boatyard facilities close by and anchoring possibilities for craft able to take the ground past the motorway bridge. From here they will be able to contemplate the excesses of consumer boating at it's most blatant and congratulate themselves on not being part of it. Furthermore they can take the money they've just saved hop in the dinghy and have a good night out, perhaps at the Jolly Sailor where they may have cause to be more Jolly than the other patrons who've just had to stump up for a marina berth.

Two other mooring possibilities before reaching Bridge may be worth considering especially if your boat is not too big. First the historic Elephant Boatyard more or less opposite Swanwick Marina. They are right next to the Jolly sailor pub, and they may be able to find you a spot on one of their pontoons if you call them on 023 8040 3268. The cost is £3.12 per metre overnight but increases to £3.28 pmpn at the weekend. You might be able to get a short stay at £10 for 4 hours.  The yard has good repair facilities ashore with water and electricity on some of the pontoons. The warnings already mentioned about trying to manoeuvre around moorings during a strong ebbtide needs attention. Link to website below:


The other opportunity could be Deacons Boatyard which is just on the port hand side before reaching Bursledon Bridge. They are now part of the Boatfolk combine and operate pontoon berths and swinging moorings and may just be able to make one available for you... try contacting them on 023 8040 2253, the berthing fees are around £3.75pmpn.  Water and electricity, toilets and showers are available at this yard, as well as good repair facilities for the boat and a big chandlery at the yard. Link to website below:


Not that much around ashore in the area of these two boatyards, with the nearest small provisions about ten minutes hike away, however there is the Jolly Sailor pub with a couple of others walkable.

And that just about covers the mooring options in the River Hamble.

Updated March 2020


The individual facilities available at the Marinas and other mooring places have been touched on, so this article is more generalised.

Starting with Warsash you will find the Co-op and a One Stop convenience store with Post Office, and cash machines. Warsash Sailing Club was found by one of our members to welcome visiting yachtsman.  Regular buses connect with Bursledon and Southampton, while three pubs serve this area.

Hamble le Rice has a Co-op with cashpoint, and some small shops including a deli. NatWest and Barclays Banks have a presence here too. Three sailing clubs are based at Hamble, but again the situation regarding visiting yachtsman is unknown..... they can all be found in the directory, and should they open their doors to visitors they can be mentioned here too. There are plenty of places to eat and drink in and around the village, covered shortly.

Trailer Sailer's have a few launching options round here including the hard at Lower Swanwick, adjacent to Moody's. This looks usable for around three quarters of the tidal range. Another option is the public hard at Hamble with access at most of the tidal range again.(6 Knt speed limit in River, harbour authorities have the right to charge daily harbour dues). Apart from these two public launch places many of the marinas including Hamble Point (for pretty direct access to Southampton Water) have slipways that can be used at a price.

Chandlery is well covered in this area by "Force 4" chandlers with various branches, the largest being at Deacon's Boatyard.

Serious provisioning up can really only be acomplished at Tescos about a mile away, and it may be possible to arrange for them to deliver a large order to one of the marinas.

Transport is covered by regular buses to Southampton, while there is a station at Bursledon connecting with Southampton or Portsmouth. Hamble has a station too, but is not really close to the village or marinas. Passable but not good connections.

All in all just about everything for the boat can be bought, made or acomplished in this area, provisioning is possible but not particularly easy, and visitors berths maybe a bit in short supply during the season.

Hamble Week at the end of June/Start July, and the Bursledon Regatta over a weekend at end Aug/ Start Sept provide some fun and entertainment, while during the Southampton Boat Show, various Marinas and Yards organise their own used boat shows on the Hamble.


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Hamble-le-Rice is a village in the Borough of Eastleigh in Hampshire, UK. It is best known for being an aircraft training centre during the Second World War and is a popular yachting location. The village and the River Hamble also featured in 1980s the BBC television series Howards' Way.

Hamble-le-Rice, more commonly known as Hamble, is located in Hampshire on the south coast of England in the UK, to the south-east of Southampton.

It is bounded by Netley, Butlocks Heath, Bursledon, Southampton Water and the River Hamble.

Although previously known as "Hamble", "Hamelea", "Hammel", and "Ham-en-le-Rice", the village's official name is now Hamble-le-Rice. The name "Hamble" is still in common usage.

Hamble-le-Rice was the home of an aircraft training centre during World War II for planes including the Spitfire, the Lancaster and the Wellington. The south airfield has long since disappeared and the north airfield has been partially developed as housing, the remainder overgrown and owned by house developers Persimmon.

Today, Hamble-le-Rice retains a large interest in the aviation industry with the Hamble Aerostructures factory, now a subsidiary of GE Aviation in Kings Avenue being the single largest employer in the area, the workforce far outnumbering that of the BP terminal.

The River and Environment
Hamble-le-Rice is a yachting mecca: the nearby River Hamble is often packed with yachting traffic and during the summer the whole village is crowded with people out enjoying the water. The village and its river are one of the many locations that made up the fictional village of Tarrant in the BBC television series Howards Way, shown weekly on BBC1 in the late 1980s.

Hamble-le-Rice is home to a common, a variety of estuary wildlife, and other scenic walks.

Fuel terminal
This WWII Anti Aircraft emplacement on Hamble Common protected the fuel terminal and jetty (both visible in background)A pipeline runs under Southampton Water from the Fawley oil refinery which supplies the BP fuel terminal at Hamble. This fuel terminal was used to supply PLUTO, during the Invasion of Europe in World War II. The PLUTO pipeline started at Sandown on the Isle of Wight and was supplied by ship from Hamble. The jetty at this fuel terminal was extended in 1943/44 so that more ships could be loaded simultaneously.

Fuel is regularly transported by road tankers this depot, as well as by pipeline to major industry and airports. Markers showing the route of the pipeline can be seen at various points in neighbouring Botley.

A disused branch line runs from the terminal to the Portsmouth to Southampton railway. This has subsequently been converted into a scenic walk.

Transport Links
The village is served by Hamble railway station, which provides services to both Southampton Central and Portsmouth Harbour. At peak periods these services run once per hour in each direction. It is also linked by ferry to Warsash, and has some bus services to Southampton and Eastleigh.

Eating, Drinking & Entertainment

For eating and drinking the following notes are meant as a guide, and may not cover everything available.

In Warsash there are three pubs including the Rising Sun overlooking the River and a couple of restaurants including an Indian.

Hamble Point Marina has its own bar restaurant the Ketch Rigger, as does Port Hamble Marina.

The village of Hamble le Rice has plenty of bars and restaurants including a fish and chip shop and an Indian. Pubs include The Bugle, The King and Queen (which has a launderette available for visiting yachtsman), The White Hart and the Victory Inn.

Swanwick Marina has a bar restaurant Velsheda's and nearby are another couple of pubs the Spinnaker and the Old Ship together with the Riverside Chinese Restaurant.

On the other side of the River at Bursledon there's the Jolly Sailor, already mentioned and the Ferry restaurant. The links below may give some more ideas:



Eating Out



Your Ratings & Comments

Update March 2022
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 24th Mar 2022
I reviewed these notes in March 2022. The info re the Port Hamble fuel booking has been added to the text. A new raster chat of Swanwick Marina has been uploaded as has been an new image in the Gallery. Swanwick rejuvenation is now almost complete shore side and you can find out all about their improvements on their website.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Port Hamble fuelling pontoon
Written by Tyro Sailor | 12th Sep 2021
Since the advent of the dreaded lurgy they're operating an appointment system, presumably to reduce crowding on the pontoon. Call them on channel 80 before you arrive and they'll fit you in. Since the river tends to be crowded it'd probably be best to do this well in advance.

Cheap it ain't.
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 10th Mar 2020
These notes were reviewed in March 2020. There are major changes to the layout of Swanwick Marina and water taxi is no longer under the purview of the Pink Ferry company. Prices have changed across the board and we have uploaded this year's UKHO chart.
2 of 2 people found this helpful
Written by Don Thomson | 19th Mar 2018
These notes were reviewed by Don in March of 2018. I have updated the prices and, where known, the facilities available. The charts have been updated for this year.
3 of 3 people found this helpful
Update Spring 2016
Written by dononshytalk | 9th Mar 2016
These notes were reviewed by Don in March 2016. Not much change and where known the prices have been updated for the 2016 season
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Eastlands Boatyard
Written by Offshore57 | 11th Aug 2015
This doesnt mention Eastlands Boat yard which is beyond the M27 bridge and out in the countryside....lovely serviced pontoons...good facilities and quiet.....thats where we are...beautiful spot....and .no masts...... :-)
2 of 2 people found this helpful
Warsash Sailing Club
Written by Bryant | 27th Jun 2014
"Hi Steve having just been in the Hamble, I found Warsash sailing club to be most hospitable ,having signed in the Commodore sought us out and we had a long friendly chat. We had showers there and food could be had at the club. Opening times are on their website."

2 of 2 people found this helpful
Update March 2014
Written by dononshytalk | 31st Mar 2014
These notes were updated in March 2014. As far as we can tell there have been no major changes from last year; some facilities have held their prices but most have gone up a touch.
2 of 2 people found this helpful
Update January 2013
Written by dononshytalk | 11th Jan 2013
The Hamble River Notes were updated by Don T on 11th January 2013. There have been no major changes here; The prices for the use of the visitors pontoons operated by the Harbour remain unchanged for 2013 whilst all the marinas have upped their prices a bit (pence per metre)
2 of 2 people found this helpful
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