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Harbour Safety

Our priority is a safe harbour for everyone. At peak times the harbour is a busy place but with a little thought, understanding and courtesy, everyone can enjoy the harbour in safety. We strongly encourage harbour users to undertake appropriate training to enhance their competence, safety and enjoyment. 

See the above menu to navigate to detail information or take 2 minutes to review our key safety advice below:

Mariners are reminded that under Rule 5 of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972, “Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision”. Further to the above, Section (b) of Rule 9 (Narrow Channels) requires that “A vessel of 20 meters in length, or a sailing vessel, shall not impede the passage of a (large) vessel which can navigate only within a narrow channel or fairway”.

Mariners are reminded to monitor VHF Channel 71 when within the harbour limits. Shipping broadcasts are made on this channel advising when the navigational channel is closed due to the passage of a commercial shipping vessel. On completion of a shipping Act, the re-opening of the harbour is also announced. Mariners are reminded to stay on their moorings until this broadcast has been made. Emergency assistance is immediately available through the Coastguard and Solent Harbour Authorities via VHF Channel 16.

The importance of routinely wearing both appropriate and suitably tested lifejackets cannot be overstated. This minimum precaution can dramatically increase both the chances of survival and the likelihood of rescue of any persons on or near the water. Similarly, the carriage of distress flares and portable buoyancy equipment will ensure that assistance to the vessel or those overboard is rendered without delay.

The Harbour speed limit is 6½ knots but we ask that once you have cleared ‘The Narrows’ inbound, you respect the request for NO WASH. The observance of harbour speed limits and maintenance of a safe speed appropriate to conditions will reduce the risk of an accident and the extent of damage or injury. An important factor in assessing appropriate speed is the effect of wash on other harbour users.

It is absolutely essential that a good lookout is kept at all times when underway. A vigilant watch will reduce the risk of collision with other vessels and will ensure that assistance is rendered to vessels in difficulty without delay.

There are legal requirements relating to small vessels in commercial use such as hire or charter. Such vessels must be properly inspected and certificated by the appropriate authority prior to operating commercially. Contact the harbour office for further information.

Incidents involving damage or injury in the harbour should be reported to the harbour office as soon as possible using this form.

Some incidents and accidents are serious enough to report to the MCA’s Marine Accident investigation Branch (MAIB).  The role of the MAIB is to contribute to safety at sea by determining the causes and circumstances of marine accidents and working with others to reduce the likelihood of such accidents recurring in the future. Accident investigations are conducted solely in the interest of future safety. The Branch does not apportion blame and it does not establish liability, enforce laws or carry out prosecutions.  Further information on the MAIB can be found at this link.

Learning from reports issued by the MAIB, including those made by recreational craft as well as fishing vessels, is an important part of building a safety culture whether as an individual or organisation using the water.