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Southampton Central inc. River Itchen

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Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign


Weston Shelf Green Buoy 50:52'71N 001:23'.26W


Admiralty 2041, SC5600

Rules & Regulations

6 Knts North of Hythe Pier


Commercial Shipping, Ferries
Submerged Barrier between Portsea and the Horse Sands Fort. Dolphins mark the safe passage.

Tidal Data Times & Range

Double HW, First HW Springs approx. -0013 Dover. MHWS 4.5m, MHWN 3.7m, MLWN 1.8m, MLWS 0.5m   (links)

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General Description

Southampton is a busy seafaring city located at the head of Southampton Water. Commercial traffic takes precedence at all times, with much movement of heavy shipping and ferries. ... read more


Pilotage directions for approaching and moving up Southampton water have been given in a previous article,  this article deals with the central docks area,  and the River Itchen.  ... read more

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

For the visiting yachtsman or motorboater,  there are plenty of mooring options whatever size boat you  arrive in. ... read more

Your Ratings & Comments

Update April 2022
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 1st Apr 2022
I reviewed these notes at the beginning of April 2022. If using the Channel through the Marchwood moorings I would keep an eye on the echo sounder and perhaps not attempt it at LWS. There are various versions of the depths through there, Navionics being the most generous and showing some marks not given elsewhere. Everywhere else has been brought up to date Eling and Marchwood are charging much as they have been for a few years, as is Kemp Marine. All the MDL places have increased their prices. Fuel is still available at American Wharf
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Eling Creek update, November 2020
Written by Tyro Sailor | 27th Nov 2020
Since I wrote the entry below the club has doubled its overnight mooring fee to £10, but it's still a lot less than a marina!

Last time I was there, in early September, I'd just tied up on the berth described below when a club member asked me to move to another, much more awkward berth close to the scrubbing berth. My Centaur, 26' long just squeezed into the space.

The club was closed, even to members, because of the dreaded lurgy. They have a helpful website.

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Written by Don Thomson 3 | 20th Mar 2020
I reviewed these notes in March 2020. MDL prices were still to be promulgated and will be done in April. The pontoon layout in Ocean Village has changed a lot over the last couple of years; the chartlet in the text is believed to be accurate for 2020.
Eling Creek
Written by Tyro Sailor | 18th Jul 2019
For the dedicated ditch-crawler in a shoal draught boat, a visit to Eling makes a welcome change from a commercial marina.

The approach channel, which dries completely at about half-tide, starts opposite the container terminal at a pair of lateral marks: thereafter there are only starboard hand posts. Stay close to these and keep an eye on the echo sounder as the channel is narrow. Approaching an island with a big pylon on it, the harbour entrance opens up to port, but don't be too keen to turn in. The deepest water is on the northern edge, close to the wooden wharf, which usually has containers stacked upon it. Plenty of water there but very little in the rest of the gap.

Once inside, leave the row of moored boats very close to starboard and make your way to the NW corner, in front of the recently restored tide mill and make fast to the single visitors' pontoon. The clubhouse is to the left of the tide mill and you need to walk round it on the road to get there. Good beer and friendly members.

£5 a night last time I was there. Loo and shower adequate.

They have a gravel scrubbing berth which anyone can use, but might require a plank or ladder from the deck to the grassy bank.
Marchwood Channel
Written by Tyro Sailor | 1st May 2018
I came through here last week (24th April 2018) in my Centaur and have done so a few times before. The marks are less than useful, but south of Marchwood it's best to stay just outside the main buoyed channel (to the west) where there's 3m or more. Any further out and it gets shallow in places - the edge of the channel is very steep.

Past the dock and approaching Marchwood Channel, I tend to go through the moorings where there are lots of medium-sized boats (drawing up to 2m, at a guess) happily afloat at all states of the tide. There are adequate gaps between the rows of boats and little cross-tide, but beware of cross-winds - and cross owners!

The tide swirls around the Bury/Eling moorings a bit and can make picking up one difficult. I tried under sail last week but ended up having to use the engine. Look out for survey vessels and dredgers.
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Written by Don Thomson | 23rd Mar 2018
I reviewed these notes in March 2018. Prices have been changed and new charts uploaded. There is a huge discrepancy between the Navionics and Admiralty Charts about the positioning of the yellow/piles/post/buoys in the vicinity of the Marchwood Channel off the West Dock. We are trying to resolve this with Soton Docks.
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Update Spring 2016
Written by dononshytalk | 30th Mar 2016
These notes were reviewed by Don in March 2016. No changes other than prices which have been updated for the 2016 season
Update April 2014
Written by dononshytalk | 7th Apr 2014
These notes were updated in April 2014. Wherever possible prices have been updated for the 2014 season.
The buoyage in the vicinity of the Western Docks has been changed so, if you are using an old chart, our approach notes will confuse you - the old Swinging Ground "2" buoy has been renamed Mulberry and there is an extra buoy laid opposite the Western Dock and that is now the Swinging Ground "2" buoy - and that may not be the end of it as work is progressing in that area.
Update 2013 addendum
Written by dononshytalk | 22nd Jan 2013
Southampton has undertaken considerable improvements to its container handling operation which involves much dredging and widening of the existing channel. We have been advised by the HM that this does not effect the Marchwood Channel opposite the Western Docks (berths 102 thro' 107) but that the pile marks shown on the 2012 chart no longer exist. Any experience you may have of the impact of the dredging would be gratefully received.
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Update 2013
Written by dononshytalk | 18th Jan 2013
The harbour notes for Southampton Central including the River Itchen were updated by Don T on the 18th of January. The major change is that the Townquay Marina has been taking visitors for a couple of seasons and is now well furnished with facilities including a comprehensive website. The visitors prices everywhere have been updated to reflect what is expected for the summer of 2013. It should be noted that Ocean Village prices are slighly different to the other nearby MDL marinas in that their cut off for pricing is 20.1metres whereas the top rate goes to 24.0 meters at the others. Then again, if you can afford a 60foot boat, minutae like harbour dues probably doesn't bother you!
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