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Pwllheli Harbour/ Marina (Hafan Pwllheli)

Your Comments: 14 Read or add your comments

Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign


Near RW Safe Water Mark 52:53'.02 N 004:23'.08 W


Admiralty, 1512, 1971

Rules & Regulations



No particular hazards in the close approaches. Entrance channel now dredged, 2014

Tidal Data Times & Range

HW = Dover -0300 MHWS 5.0m, MHWN 3.4m, MLWN 1.9m, MLWS 0.5m   (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

Pwllheli is an important market town, and the unofficial capital of the Llyn Peninsular.

It's a well-known Seaside resort, with two Blue Flag beaches. The harbour was improved in the late 90s to form Hafan Pwllheli, a large Marina with over 400 berths for vessels up to 80ft. A monitored and dredged channel provides 24-hour access for boats of moderate draft (1 m at MLWS).

A full range of facilities has been developed to cater for yachtsmen/ motorboaters with a choice of boatyards, marine specialists and repair options all close at hand. Shelter is good in Tremadoc Bay which is protected to a great extent by Sarn Badrig (St Patrick's Causeway). This makes Pwllheli one of the few harbours in the Cardigan Bay area that can be entered in almost any conditions. As a bonus it is located in an area of outstanding natural beauty, Snowdonia National Park is nearby.

Bearing in mind it's resort status, the town (about a mile away on foot) offers a wide range of cafes, pubs and restaurants as well as a huge market on Wednesdays. Transport connections are reasonable.

The Marina was developed by Gwynedd Council with help from the EEC, and is unusual in that it is publicly owned. A bold move that has no doubt paid off.


If approaching from the South attention needs to be paid to

....... St Patrick's Causeway (Sarn Badrig) which projects into the sea 11 miles and has plenty of drying patches which are mainly rock or stone, and not to be trifled with.

It projects from Mochras Point, being steep to on its southern side and more shoal to the north. It's south-westerly extremity is marked by a westerly cardinal buoy, "Causeway" (Q(9)15s), and passing seawards of this clears the danger. Alternatively there is an inshore route, the East Passage that could be used by the intrepid Mariner for a few hours either side of high water.

Further Pilotage Directions...

 The East Passage (inside Sarn Badrig) is unmarked by buoyage, but keeping about half a mile close to the shore, and then swinging more to seawards as Mochras Point is approached helps clear Mochras Spit (if heading north west for the Marina). A series of carefully chosen waypoints is probably the best bet.

If approaching from the West, St Tudwal's Islands and the associated shallows can all be left well off on your port side. A good passage Anchorage is available in St Tudwal's Road with protection from South West through to Northwest. It can be clearly seen on the approach chart.

In the closer approaches to Pwllheli harbour entrance can be recognised by Gimblet Rock (Carreg Imbill) a 19 m high lump of granite on the coast just south of the harbour entrance.

Anchorage is possible just to the north west of the harbour entrance in settled conditions.

Entrance to the harbour is made between Pwllheli Point and a training wall that that lies to the north of it. A groyne runs outwards in a north-easterly direction from Pwllheli Point, and it's marked at its extremity Q.R.3m3M, furthermore an outfall runs north from the point being marked at its extremity Fl.R.2.5s. Obviously these are both left on your port side as you enter.  Night entry is possible but the entrance lights mentioned above are obscured by the land in any kind of approach from the West. Probably the best bet is to make for the red and white safe water buoy (Iso.2s) and make your final approach from there. (That Fairway buoy has been moved about a cable NE of its position on the latest UKHO chart)

The training wall submerges and becomes hidden at half tide, its extremity is marked Q.G.3m3M, and it is further marked along its length by green buoys. These marks are always left on your starboard side.

See the series of photos in "Navigation Images" which will show you the way in, 2021

Update Spring 2014 The Marina and channel are now dredged.

Update 2013  As noted by Mike Crummy and our subsequent conversations with the marina, the harbour authorities here are letting the river find its own course through the entrance channel (Makes sense, why use a dredger when nature will do this for you!). The result is that the channel has moved a bit to the outside of the bend and they have had to remove the northerly line of mooring piles to make room for this. At the same time they have removed the lit poles marking the training wall (which hitherto was the starboard side of the channel) and replace them with buoys. The dredge planned for the winter of 2012/13 has been put back until the autumn of 2013. There is unlikely to be enough water for a fin keeler to get in at LWS and it would be better to avoid LW+ 2hours. Usual advice - avoid LW and come in on a rising tide!

Update Summer 2021

They are still publishing the same approach photos on their web site which are reproduced in our Navigation Gallery.  Their buoyage has been augmented a bit so we've changed the expandable chart in the Berthing section.  The depths and advice issued by the Marina seems to be OK but the best guidance is Ian Edwards and Charlie Bravo who wrote in June of this year.  Do your calculations and don't approach until there is a tide height of about half a meter more than your draft. If you get over the shallow entrance then you'll be OK the whole way in - and, of course, come in with a bit of flood left just in case!!!

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

Call the Marina on VHF channel 80, callsign Hafan Pwllheli, to arrange your berth, or telephone 01758 701219.

Berth where directed by Marina staff. Be aware that the shallows to the west of the hammerheads are not buoyed so if you end up allocated one of those do not take too wide a swing at them.

Charges here (2022) work out at  £2.94 per metre per night, with a 7 m minimum charge AND you are expected to vacate by noon the next day. Short stays are charged at a fixed price of £15.36

A link to the Hafan Pwllheli website is provided below:


In 1997 Hafan Pwllheli was awarded the prestigious Five Gold Anchors Award by The Yacht Harbours Association (TYHA). The award is given to marinas which are judged to provide excellent facilities and run to the highest standards.

The Harbourmaster, as opposed to the Marina, is located on the south side of the outer harbour. He is on 01758 704081.


The Marina offers all the normal facilities, with water and electricity on the pontoons, toilets, showers and launderette ashore. They also have pump-out facilties located on the Fuel Berth

They have their own boatyard with a new 50 tonne travel lift, and a crane. Hardstanding is available.

Diesel and petrol are available in the Outer Harbour as well as water. There are various Marine businesses in the outer harbour area, including another boatyard with lifting, repairs, and engineering facilities. This outfit also has a large chandlery. Pwllheli Sailing Club will be found in this area too. There is no local boat service across to the other side so you'll have to get your own tender out for that.

Most yachting needs can be met locally including sailmaking, marine electronics, outboard repairs, bottled gas, etc... check the directory.

Trailer Sailers reputedly have the best slip in Wales available here at Pwllheli. It is not located at the Marina but in the outer harbour near the lifeboat.

The concrete ramp has access at nearly all of the tidal range and is managed by the Harbourmaster with charges of around £8 a day. The slip leads into the sheltered waters of the outer harbour. Showers and toilets are available next to the Harbourmaster's office. (01758 70481)

PWC's are allowed and there are good deals available for monthly or season tickets. These tickets give you access to all the council slips in Gwynedd.

All provisioning needs can be met in the town, the only disadvantage being that it's about three quarters of a mile away to the town centre. Pwllheli is overly endowed with supermarkets so stocking up will be no problem. Banks are all represented, cashpoints are plentiful, and a good selection of shops will be found too.

The town is served by Pwllheli railway station which is the terminus of the Cambrian Coast Railway running to Dovey Junction near Machynlleth.



The town's name means saltwater basin. The pronunciation of Pwllheli includes a sound not found in the English language.

The town was given its charter as a borough by Edward, the Black Prince in 1355, and a market is still held each Wednesday in the centre of the town on the 'Maes' (=field in English).

The town grew around the shipbuilding and fishing industries, and the granite quarry at Carreg yr Imbill.

During the 1890s, the town was developed by Solomon Andrews, a Cardiff businessman. This work included the Promenade, roads and houses at West End. A tramway was built linking the town to Llanbedrog. The trams ran until 1927 when a section of track was seriously damaged by a storm.

The town contains numerous retail shops, including Euronics and many smaller shops. It also had a Woolworths until that chain's demise. Supermarkets include Somerfield, SPAR, the Co-op supermarket, Iceland and Asda. A new Lidl store opened very recently.

The text on this HISTORY page is covered by the following licence

Eating, Drinking & Entertainment

The intrepid Mariner will not be disappointed with the cafes, pubs and restaurants available in Pwllheli. The holiday resort atmosphere means there is a decent selection of establishments including Italian, Chinese, and a bistro. Those with spicy tastes may be disappointed though.

The links below give you a starting point, although a wander around the town may yield better results.




Restaurants & Places to Eat in Pwllheli 2022 - Tripadvisor


Your Ratings & Comments

Written by Don Thomson 3 | 20th Sep 2022
I reviewed these notes in September 2022. I've noted the remarks made below about grounding in August 2021. I think that two hours before LWS that night (it was two days before full springs) might have been tempting fate a bit with a 1.5 metres draft (tide would have been 2 metres at best?) I've checked the buoyage at the entrance and those yellow buoys are not mentioned anywhere. Not sure went wrong there. The message is keep to the starboard side and with there being a record of "bumps," maybe approach with a healthy margin for error. No other changes.
Channel entry grounding hazards at night
Written by Patrick Leblanc | 18th Aug 2021
Hi, yesterday 17/08/2021, coming in pitch black night into the channel, I ran aground just at the entrance of the channel. We were at 2 hours before low tide, we draft 1,5meters.
There are 2 yellow buoys to pass between before aiming at the first green marker. They are uncharted and unlit, so I missed them. Had to wait 6 hours before being able to float again.
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 17th Aug 2021
I reviewed these notes in August. Read the notes in the three entries below; I've worked their advice into the main text but they are worth noting. Prices are up and they now have pump-out facilities
10 and 11th June 2021 update
Written by Ian_Edwards | 11th Jun 2021
I got in with a Southerly 46, keel almost fully up at around 14:30, on a LW spring tide of 1.0m at 16:05.
I can confirm the 3 shallow areas, noted below.
The Marina advised approximately 1.5m, and that seems about right.
Prices seemed more reasonable than last time, I was charged £39.45 for a14m yacht.
June 2021 depth
Written by Charlie Bravo | 9th Jun 2021
We draw 1.9m, and usually wait for tidal hight of 2.4m before exit or entry. Tested an entry at 2m tide hight June 7th and (with local knowledge of the channel) found 300mm clearance from keel to the sand in three areas, a bit close for us, the first just before the channel entrance, again just past the large port mark by the trots, and again just past the fishing boat pontoon, apart from these 3 areas the channel had approximately 1m clearance . So, if you make it passed the entrance you should get all the way in, stay centre channel until the PHM at the trots then stay to port of centre channel.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Update Late August 2020
Written by Ian_Edwards | 15th May 2021
I arrived on the 23rd August 2020, at around highwater, there seemed to be plenty of water in the channel, draft 3.3m. Moored alongside the hammer head on pontoon 5A, plenty of water there at all states of the tide. Left on the morning of the 28th, about 2hour before low water. Very little water in the channel. My boat is a Southerly with a lifting keel, with the keel almost up, draft about 1m I was sanding the barnacles off the bottom.
I understand that the channel has been “levelled” in May 2021, no idea what that means, but be aware that there is likely to be very little water in the channel at the bottom of the tide.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Written by Don Thomson | 19th Apr 2018
They've dredged the entrance this spring and will be "flattening" the bumps during May. Prices have gone up a bit. There were no adverse effects here during the Spring storms which affected Holyhead.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Update Spring 2016
Written by dononshytalk | 15th Apr 2016
These notes were reviewed by Don in April 2016. Prices have been updated. I have drawn attention to the unmarked shallows to the West of the marina hammerheads.
From a berth holder
Written by Steveh56 | 24th Aug 2014
There are now two yellow buoys marking entrance to channel. Go between these.

We draw 1.2 m and have entered & left on low neaps without any difficulty. Drive slowly and keep looking at the depth gauge!

Facilities very good, immaculately clean showers / toilets and very friendly sailing club. ( use back door If front is locked). They do good food at weekends.

Pwllelhi town is very lively at weekends with some good eateries & pubs. Wetherspoons gets very busy, so go early. It's called Pen & Cob, facing railway station .
Entrance Channel Spring 2014
Written by Bryant | 29th May 2014
It's been reported that the entrance channel and marina have now been dredged. See a complete set of photos in the "Navigation Images" that will show you the way in.

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