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Navigating into the harbour

Approaching from seaward pass between red buoy No 10 and green buoy No 13 and head towards Bateman’s Tower at the entrance to the creek on the north shore. The entrance to the Creek is marked by a lit south cardinal buoy (Brightlingsea Spit Buoy) and a lit green beacon with a tide gauge showing the minimum depth on the line of the leading marks over the bar into the Creek.

If the south cardinal buoy (Brightlingsea Spit Buoy) is left close to port, the upper and lower leading marks (locally known as the Cricket Stumps – 2 white boards with vertical red lines by day and 2 fixed red lights by night). They are in transit at 041° T and when in line lie just below and to the left of the thin spire in the town skyline.

Follow a course with the boards / lights in transit. When abeam the green buoy turn to starboard to pass 50 metres south of the red buoy (FL ev.5s). When the red buoy is abeam turn further to starboard and head to pass 10 metres north of the north cardinal beacon (quick flash by night) at the seaward end of the first pontoon. By day a welcome board is visible on the beacon.

There is a red unlit buoy on the north side of the Creek which marks the seaward side of the channel to the private Waterside Marina which has a sill which dries 1m above CD.

If vessels wish to berth in the harbour, there are normally pontoon moorings available for vessels up to 50’ LOA. For berthing instructions please call Brightlingsea Harbour on VHF Channel 68 when approaching the south cardinal and before entering the entrance channel.

The waiting area is to the north of the north cardinal beacon until met by a member of the harbour staff in the harbour launch, who will guide you to a berth.

If you arrive when there is no member of staff on duty, please follow the instructions below:- 

  • Pass between the first pontoon and the line of moorings heading towards the next pair of parallel pontoons.
  • Berth in one of the visitors’ berths at the seaward end of the northernmost pontoon of the pair of parallel pontoons in the south channel 150 metres beyond the North Cardinal Beacon.
  • If these are all taken, go into any empty pontoon berth large enough for your vessel where there is not a ‘Back Tonight’ notice, or go alongside another boat on one of the pontoons.

 All vessels having to lie alongside other vessels or the pontoon must place sufficient fenders on the side of their vessel which will be next to the other vessel or the pontoon. Fore and aft shorelines should be taken from the outer vessel to the pontoon and springs should be run to the adjacent vessel or pontoon as appropriate.

N.B.    The tides run at up to 2 knots.
The pontoons lie parallel with the flow of the tide and it is strongly recommended that except in exceptional circumstances all vessels should berth bow into the tide.

There is a turning area with approximately 1 metre depth at MLWS at the south east end of the northernmost pontoon.

Vessels should only use the channel between the two pontoons with great caution and in any case only to go to or leave a berth in that channel.


© Brightlingsea Harbour Commissioners 2018

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