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Isle of Man-Douglas

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Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign


54° 09.01N 004° 27.67W


AC 2094 Kirkcudbright to the Mull of Galloway & Isle of Man, AC 1826 Irish Sea Eastern Part, AC 2696 Douglas Harbour, SC 5613.20. Isle of Man West Coast incl. Calf Sound, SC 5613.22 Isle of Man Harbours, Douglas, Imray C62 Irish Sea, Imray Y70 Isle of Man (Harbour Plan of Douglas)

Rules & Regulations

ITPS (Port Signals) numbers 2,3 & 5 shown from mast on Victoria pier (see photo gallery for reminder!) basically stop, go or proceed when VHF permission has been given. See https://covid19.gov.im/travel/travel-to-the-isle-of-man/ for covid restrictions


Conister St Mary’s Rock and Refuge Tower (Lit). Dolphin off the end of Battery Pier. Overfalls off the end of Battery Pier where two tides meet.

Tidal Data Times & Range

HW is Dover +0009 MHWS 6.9m MHWN 5.4m MLWN 2.4m MLWS 0.8m.   (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

Marine Operations Centre    VHF 12        tel no  01624 686628       
Inner Harbour Office                                 tel no  01624 687543    
Douglas Bay Yacht Club                           tel no  01624 673965   

Douglas Harbour is situated at the South end of sweeping Douglas Bay. Douglas itself is the capital of the Isle of Man and has been a very popular holiday resort since Victorian times. Approaching from the sea you could be coming into Weymouth, Bridlington or any of a number of similar Victorian seaside towns; broad sandy beach backed by a wide promenade and behind that tall nineteenth century houses which have been converted into apartments, hotels, B&Bs and interspersed with amusement arcades and souvenir shops; it’s all here, risqué postcards, Isle of Man rock, T-shirts and fish and chips!! (For amusements and diversions see our section on Entertainment below) 

As well as being a holiday resort, by reason of its independent status, the Isle of Man is well known as a tax haven for the well heeled, has a very busy financial district in the middle of the town and the island is “home” to quite a few well known people. On top of this, situated in the middle of the Irish Sea with sea connections to England, Ireland and Scotland the island has an amazing mix of dialects during the summer as young men & women from all these areas flock here for work; you’ll be amazed at the number of Irish accents you come across.

When you visit here you have definitely left “England” and only fifty years ago if you misbehaved on a run ashore you could expect to be sentenced to a birching (the last birching was carried out in 1975). You will also be aware of the TT races, held on closed roads at the end of May and early June. The course follows the A1 Peel Road out to the A3 which it follows all the way round to Ramsey; it then returns to Douglas via the A18 and A2.  These roads are closed for most of the time so travel in those areas is much restricted although you can still get to Ramsey via Laxey on the A2.  The south of the island is undisturbed by the races themselves but basically the whole island is taken over by the circus and spectators involved in this world famous event, accommodation is full, campsites are full, pubs and restaurants are full and so will be the marinas and harbours.  Unless you are following the races it would not be a good time to come here for a quiet cruise.

The harbour itself is the main entry port to the Isle of Man and is the terminus for HS ferries, slower freight vessels and car/lorry transporters and you in your 28 foot pride and joy will have to dodge through the lot to get to your mooring.  The harbour consists of an outer basin protected by Battery Pier; the ferries dock between Victoria Pier and King Edward VIII Pier and yachts proceed between King Edward VIII pier and Fort Anne Jetty through a drying basin, over a flap gate into the yacht basin.

There is an IOM harbour information website which lists all the IOM harbours and a whole raft of downloadable docs (most of which do not apply to cruising skippers) at:-
Isle of Man Government - Harbours Information

Isle of Man Government - Douglas


The tidal streams close in around the IOM do not follow those depicted in the UKHO tidal Atlas; there are often counter currents. For close-in information you can access the IOM's own tidal streams info at
tidal_streams.pdf (gov.im)
tidal_streams_2.pdf (gov.im)

We suggest that if you are spending any time in the Irish sea with regular visits to the IOM you visit those two internet pages, print and add them to your Pilot Book.

What ever direction you are coming from it is imperative that you contact Marine Operations Centre on Channel 12;

They will be able to advise you of any, large fast traffic.  It might also be an idea to contact the Inner Harbour Office before departing for here to see what sort of room is available in the Inner Harbour. They don’t take reservations but at least you’d know if there was no chance at all!!

When positioning for the approach give the end of Battery Pier a wide berth and make your final run in to the Initial Fix from the NE to avoid any possible overfalls off the end of that pier. If making your approach at night note that the lead in lights (to the right of the Lifeboat house) are Blue. It won’t have passed your notice that there is a large lump of rock topped by a tower just NW of the harbour entrance; at HW you need to give that tower at least a cable and a half offing to avoid the rubbish around it. If you’ve studied your history you will know that the tower was built not to warn of the rock but as a refuge for distressed mariners who could not make it back into harbour; you can actually land here in a dinghy at LW if you want to explore it.

As you approach the harbour entrance you should take notice of the International Port Signals at the end of Victoria Pier which we have reproduced in the picture gallery. (If you have an old copy of the Imray Pilot for these waters the subsidiary lights mentioned in that publication no longer exist)

**You can only get right in to the pontoons in the inner harbour two hours either side of HW, outside these times and during the summer months only, there is a temporary berth available on a pontoon alongside berth 14 (see chartlet)**

The restrictions on the timing for getting into this harbour can make life awkward. If HW and rush hour coincide much of the time available for access will be taken up by vehicular traffic on the bridge; you may well find yourself swanning about in the outer harbour waiting for the evening tide.
Flap-gate schedule can be found in the downloadable links on this web page


Once you have negotiated the harbour entrance, continue on course for the lead in marks/lights until the channel between the King Edward VIII pier and Fort Anne Jetty opens up and make for that. Note that the lights on the end of these piers are two verticals and that there is another set of vertical reds at the inner end of Fort Anne Jetty.  Then it’s just a case of motoring up to the lifting bridge/flapgate keeping well to starboard especially if near the time limits for this approach. The inner harbour office listens on Channel 12 so should be aware of your approach and will advise you of the next opening time (roughly every half hour unless you happen to arrive at rush hour)

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

The main berths are in the inner harbour but,

......... as has been mentioned, there are berths available on the pontoon by no 14 berth on the Battery Pier. A NE wind sets up an uncomfortable swell inside the harbour so this pontoon is not a good place in those conditions. 

Within the inner harbour there are pontoon berths or alongside berths against the wall. 

You can anchor out in the bay but that’s more for very large boats with mile of cable and a mechanical winch! If you anchor in close you’ll be liable to get caught up in the surf at some stage of the tide.

In 2022 if you tie up for the night in the outer harbour in a 10m boat you will be charged £16.68, against the wall in the inner harbour it's £25.00 and for a pontoon it's £34.32 (that does entitle you to free shore power)

Further Berthing Information

The harbour authorities have advised that the reports of silting in the inner harbour have been addressed and that, as all visitors have to check in with them before gaining entry to the Inner Harbour, they are able to allocate a berth suitable to the vessels draft.


Water and power (payment card) is supplied on the pontoons in the inner harbour, but just water on the outer harbour pontoon. There’s a shower and toilet block next to the Inner Harbour Office at the west end of the Tongue where you’ll also find the Douglas Bay Yacht Club. The Yacht Club is RYA affiliated and also houses showers, toilets and a two bars. Their web site has links to all the services available on the Island including chandlers, sailmakers, electrical and electronic engineers, mechanical engineers and boatyards; they also do food on race days and Sundays.


We have been advised that the chandler, Manx Marine, has ceased operations which has made the obtaining of fuel cards difficult. These cards are still available at Peel from the Manx Fish Producers but, until they sort something else out you will have to rely on voluntarty help to obtain red diesel or treck across to Peel. (Thank you our member Jaypea below)


Eating, Drinking & Entertainment

You are spoiled for choice here and we will not attempt to list all the watering holes and eateries; just explore and enjoy.
For entertainment they have three theatres and two cinema, eight night clubs.  On a Saturday night the area close to the marina and the South end of the promenade is the focal point for the younger generation; for family meals/entertainment you’d best try the Gaiety Theatre, Villa Marina or Summerland Concert venue further along the promenade.
For days out there is the Electric Railway to the Laxey Wheel, the Steam railway to Peel and if you walk to the far end of the prom you can always hop on a horse drawn tram to rest tired feet on the way back.

Bus & train time tables    https://www.gov.im/categories/travel-traffic-and-motoring/bus-and-rail

Ideas       http://www.isleofman.com/


Your Ratings & Comments

Written by Don Thomson 3 | 13th Sep 2022
I reviewed these notes in September 2022. Telephone numbers have changed and be advised that my experience is that if you call any of the listed numbers, the likelihood is that it's been diverted to the Marine Ops centre!!
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Fuel problems/ chandlery closure
Written by Jaypea | 15th Jun 2022
Visited 14th June.
The chandler Manx Marine has ceased trading, as a result fuel cards cannot be purchased in Douglas.
I gather from the HM that they can still be obtained from Peel harbour but that’s a 30min bus ride away, otherwise it’s Jerry cans to the local fuel station. In our case however the Inner HM drove us out of town to a commercial red diesel supplier to fill up our cans….bless him! As super-helpful as they are, it would be unwise to rely on this extra mile service being available.
3 of 3 people found this helpful
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 4th Aug 2021
I reviewed these notes in August 2021. No changes apart from prices. I've added a website address in the Rules and Regs section for the IOM Covid restrictions for visitors.
2 of 2 people found this helpful
Written by Don Thomson | 18th Apr 2018
We have had long conversations with the IOM Ports about the silting in the inner harbour and they assure us that the problem is sorted. We have also added links to the flap gate programme for this year. Prices have been adjusted for this season
4 of 4 people found this helpful
Written by Don Thomson | 19th Apr 2017
I reviewed these notes in April 2017. I have raised the issue of the flap gate and bridge timing restrictions on entry.
1 of 2 people found this helpful
Reduced depth within the inner harbour
Written by chris-hall | 16th Aug 2016
Please be aware, we boat owners in Douglas marina are having serious problems with the reduced depth of water within the inner harbour, many pontoon berths have less than 1m of water when the flap gate rises. My own boat draws 1.4m and sits over 8" in the silt once the flap is raised. We have had issues of visiting yachts taking on serious lists.
Peel marina suffers similar problems, but not to the extent of Douglas as Peel was dredged in 2015. But the problems are reoccurring.
2 of 2 people found this helpful
Douglas harbour and marina
Written by MBR ROBERTS | 4th Aug 2016
I feel you should expand on the problems of entry to the marina which depend upon not only the times when the tidal flap gate is open, but also the times when the road bridge will not be opened on request, ie during rush hour periods.
2 of 2 people found this helpful
Update Spring 2016
Written by dononshytalk | 14th Apr 2016
These notes were reviewed by Don in April 2016. The prices have increased since we last updated but otherwise little change
2 of 2 people found this helpful
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