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Crossing the Harbour Traffic Management

GUNWHARF QUAYS/TOWN CAMBER

The following traffic management plan for craft under 20 metres in length (bound to/from Town Camber/Gunwharf Quays) is now in force:

  1. Arrival. In the interest of safety, all Small Boats bound for Gunwharf Quays/Town Camber are to enter harbour through the Small Boat Channel. Vessels are only to cross the Main Channel when they are to the north of Ballast Beacon and permission has been obtained from QHM on VHF Channel 11. Vessels fitted with engines are to use them from entering the Small Boat Channel until arrival at Gunwharf Quays/Town Camber.
  2. Departure. Small Boats departing from Gunwharf Quays and Town Camber are to obtain permission from QHM on VHF Channel 11 before proceeding. Small Boats leaving the Town Camber are to obtain approval before slipping and again when in the vicinity of The Point prior to crossing the Main Channel. All vessels are then to cross the Main Channel direct to Ballast Beacon and leave harbour through the Small Boat Channel. Vessels fitted with engines are to use them until exiting the Small Boat Channel. If any of these vessels are not fitted with VHF radio, fixed or portable, then they are to be escorted by a marshalling craft or accompany another vessel so fitted. When on station a QHM Harbour Patrol Launch or Volunteer Harbour Patrol Launch may undertake this task.
  3. Commercial vessels under 20m in length and vessels belonging to other recognised groups based in the Town Camber, which are specifically registered for this purpose with QHM, may enter and leave the harbour close inshore on the eastern side. They are nonetheless still to request approval to proceed giving their intended route and license number (See para 11). If any of these vessels are not fitted with VHF radio, fixed or portable, then they are to be escorted by a marshalling craft or accompany another vessel so fitted. When on station a QHM Harbour Patrol Launch or Volunteer Harbour Patrol Launch may undertake this task.
  4. Mariners are advised that visitor berths at Gunwharf Quays are only available if pre-booked with the marina office and that they should only request permission from QHM to cross the harbour to Gunwharf Quays, if they have an assigned berth. The Gunwharf Berthing Manager is contactable on VHF Ch 80 or 02392 836732.

SWASHWAY

The Swashway is an important channel for shallow draught vessels approaching and leaving Portsmouth Harbour. Hovercraft and high-speed Catamaran ferries often transit the area en-route to and from Ryde at speeds in excess of 24 knots. Hovercraft, being non-displacement craft usually navigate outside the Swashway in areas where depths are shallow. The Spitbank area, as a whole, is often used for yacht racing and regattas. Mariners in yachts and slow-moving craft are advised to maintain a thorough all-round lookout for the possible approach of high-speed ferries and other fast craft. Particular care needs to be taken to check the appropriate quarter before making an alteration of course. Mariners in high-speed craft are cautioned not to assume that other mariners, particularly those whom they are overtaking, are aware of their presence, and are to give them a sufficiently wide berth.

INNER SWASHWAY

The Inner Swashway is closed to vessels of 20m in length and over. Vessels over this size are to remain in the Approach Channel between the entrance to the Harbour and No 4 Bar Buoy. They should not enter the Small Boat Channel at any time except that they may do so when taking action to avoid collision under the COLREGS. A Red Beacon is sited ½ cable to the south of Fort Blockhouse. Small Boats transiting between the Inner Swashway and the Small Boat Channel are to leave this to port.

THE HARBOUR ENTRANCE

Extra caution is to be taken in the harbour mouth to ensure that Small Boats are not swept into mid channel from the Small Boat Channel by the strong cross-tide which is often present.

Mariners who wish to register in accordance with paragraph 7.c. above are to do so in writing to The Queen's Harbour Master, Semaphore Tower, HM Naval Base, Portsmouth, PO1 3LT stating their name, vessel, berth and reason for registering. Those already on this register are not required to re-apply.