Local Small Craft and Leisure Users


A short overview for local small craft may be found here.

Communications / Reporting

Marine Services (Yarmouth Radio) operates on VHF Channel 12 with call sign "Yarmouth Radio". Contact should be made prior to entry or departure and outward bound when passing through Haven Bridge.

Small craft must comply with the Port Traffic Signals displayed at the river entrance on the north side of the River Port entrance and on the Gorleston (west) side of the River at Brush Bend.

Passage Through The River

The International Regulations for Prevention of Collisions at Sea (Colregs) apply in the Port along with Local Byelaws. The river is a busy commercial port and small craft should not hamper large ships manoeuvring in the river (see Rule 9[b] of the Colregs and Navigation Byelaw 17). Small and leisure craft should maintain a listening watch on VHF Channel 12 for any communication from Yarmouth Radio (Marine Services) or ships underway and keep to the starboard side of the channel unless advised otherwise. Do not pass close to ships and keep clear of ships propellers and bow thrusters and be aware that ships may swing anywhere within the river and manoeuvres of this nature may temporarily block the river to passing vessels. Small craft should not anchor in the river except in an emergency.

Speed In The River

All vessels should maintain a slow speed in the river. Mariners are reminded that the maximum speed of 7 knots is not necessarily a safe speed and a slower speed may be appropriate. Take care with vessel wash and avoid causing a nuisance to other vessels either moored or underway and pay particular attention to small craft moored in the river.

Tide & Wind

There is a rise and fall of tide of approximately 1 metre on neap tides and 2 metres on springs within the river. Tidal flows within the river can be very swift particularly during spring tides when in excess of 3 knots may be achieved. Mariners should be aware that during certain wind and meteorological conditions, tidal flow rates can reach 5/6 knots. These conditions usually occur during the winter months. Tides at Haven Bridge are accelerated where the tide flows between the buttresses of the bridge.

Slack water at the river entrance is approximately 90 minutes after high or low water but this may vary with weather conditions.

At the entrance to the river, sea conditions can become confused with wind over tide, particularly on the ebb or with wave reflection from the pier and breakwater structures.

Inside the river, there is generally good shelter however wind over tide with Northerly or Southerly winds can cause uncomfortable conditions on the berths at Hall Quay and fenders should be carefully adjusted during these circumstances.

This information should be read in conjunction with the Admiralty Sailing Directions, North Sea (West) Pilot NP54.

Please also see Tides/Weather.


Owners of small craft moored within the commercial area of the river should, when on board their vessels, be extra vigilant at those times when large ships are passing or swinging nearby their vessels. For the safety of your own craft and personnel, you should maintain a visual lookout and/or a listening watch on VHF Channel 12 for shipping movements in the vicinity of your vessel. Consideration should be given to vacating enclosed spaces when vessels are passing close by. All vessels should have evacuation and emergency procedures in place. (see also Local Small Craft Information)

Local Byelaws

The port has Navigation Byelaws and General Byelaws that are available for inspection at any time. Below is a short summary of some of those Byelaws which may be of relevance.

15 Vessels passing through the outer limits shall give priority to a vessel entering or leaving the port.
16 Vessels must comply with the ports traffic signals.
17 Vessels not confined to the main channel shall not hamper other vessels using the channel
20 Vessels may only be launched with permission from Port Operations.
39 Vessels shall be kept in a moveable condition.
47 No person shall lay down any buoy or similar tackle within the port area.
48 No person shall throw rubbish into the water or place it in such a position that it can be blown into the water.
49 No person shall cast, place or use any drift, trawl or other net in the port area.
54 No aquaplaning, water-skiing or towing of persons through the water is allowed.
55 No sailboards are allowed within the harbour.
56 No diving within the port area.
57 No swimming within the Haven.