All ships over 60 gross tonnes, 20 metres in length or carrying more than 12 passengers entering the harbour must take a pilot on board. The pilot is there to advise the Captain so that the ship navigates safely into the harbour. The harbour workboat ERICA acting as pilot boat precedes the vessel into the harbour and may issue instructions to other vessels afloat.
During some acts of pilotage the harbour is closed to all other vessel movements. The Pilot will transmit a ‘Securite’ broadcast on VHF CH 16 inviting mariners to go to the harbour working channel VHF CH71 for a traffic information broadcast.
Larger ships will always arrive or depart at or close to slack High Water. As a tidal port, Littlehampton cannot accept ships every day of the year due to there being insufficient clearance on the bar at the entrance on neap tides. Entry is at pilot’s discretion but typically the wind limit for safe entry for large ships is Force 5 and the wave limit is 1.0m. Assuming weather within these limits, Littlehampton can accommodate ships of up to 4m draft on 316 high tides per year (55% of all tides). Larger drafted ships (in theory up to 5m) can be accommodated but only on spring tides.
Recent and upcoming ship arrivals / departures: timings are posted on the our Facebook page and therefore appear in the feed shown on the right hand side of this website.
For realtime shipping information go to Marine Traffic or view live AIS map below: