Visiting Small Craft and Leisure Users


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


Vessels are liable for tolls (See Outer Harbour Tariff and River Port Tariff) but certain waivers are in place for vessels visiting the Norfolk Broads.


Small craft moorings are available on Town Hall Quay, just south of Haven Bridge on the East side of the river (opposite the red brick Town Hall building). Mooring tails are in place to aid mooring operations from the vessel. Vessels should moor adjacent to the access ladders.

The small craft mooring berths on Town Hall Quay have an alongside depth of at least 3 metres at MLWS. The berth has vertical wooden fenders but small craft must deploy their own fenders as required.

When you are on board, for the safety of your own craft and personnel, you should maintain a visual or listening watch on VHF Channel 12 for shipping movements in the vicinity of your vessel.

When mooring at Town Hall Quay, make adequate allowance for the tide when arriving on the flood and ensure that you are not set up river towards the Haven Bridge.

The Town Hall Quay berths are close to the Town Centre. A five minute walk along Regent Road will take you to the Market Place.

Haven and Breydon Bridges

Should any bridge user wish to be added to an email circulation list detailing confirmed and consolidated lifts, please contact the Operations Office on

The Haven Bridge is only manned when a lift is due to take place.

The Breydon Bridge is manned from 08:00 to 17:00 during winter months and from 06:00 to 22:00 or sunrise to sunset (whichever is the shorter) during the summer months, i.e. from Easter until the end of October.

Requests to lift the Haven Bridge between sunset and sunrise will incur a charge of £200.

Bridge Booking

In order to be confident of securing a bridge lift, mariners are requested to work within the following guidelines.

Vessels wishing to arrange for, change or cancel a lift for the Haven or Breydon Bridges should, whenever possible, contact the Port’s Operations Office the previous working day (Monday to Friday) prior to 16:45 on +44 (0)1493 335 522. Breydon Bridge will be lifted in conjunction with the Haven Bridge but a Breydon Bridge lift can be booked in isolation using the same contact details. For bridge lifts not booked prior to 16:45 on the last working day (Friday), it is possible to arrange bookings during the weekend or bank holidays. Such bookings will be dealt with as exceptions and can be arranged by calling the above number after 09:00 and prior to 16:45 for the following day.

Please note that lifts booked for single vessels may not be advertised and if the single vessel cancels her passage, then the bridge lift will be cancelled. Please do not assume that the bridges will lift regardless.

We would ask and remind users that whenever they are unable to make a booked lift, they should cancel or advise their changed circumstances by calling the Port on the aforementioned telephone number. If a vessel is at sea and is unable to make satisfactory contact by telephone, then a brief explanatory message or request may be relayed via Port Marine Services (Yarmouth Radio) on VHF radio Channel 12. (Please do not tie up the radio channel with unnecessary voice traffic.)

Port Passage

Both the Haven and Breydon Bridges have river traffic control lights exhibited from the bridge buttresses. Mariners should obey the signals from these lights and follow any advice passed on by the Bridge Master. These traffic signals are not exhibited constantly but are switched on approximately 10 minutes prior to a planned lift and are initially switched to red (STOP) in both directions.

Vessels transiting the Breydon Bridge that are able to pass under the bridge will normally use the side spans which have a greater air draft clearance. Vessels requiring a Breydon Bridge lift will pass through the centre span. The bridge operators will advise the vessels if there is two way traffic.

The Haven Bridge is only manned approximately 10 minutes prior to a planned lift and the Bridge Master may not be contactable on VHF radio until that time.

The Haven and Breydon Bridge Masters will muster vessels for passage through the bridge and generally give those vessels proceeding with the tide priority passage through the bridge. Transiting vessels must have a clear passage through the bridge and in the centre of the channel on the other side. Therefore all vessels waiting for the bridge to lift should stay clear of the centre channel and not close up to the bridge until radio contact has been established with the bridge and advice received from the Bridge Master.

Mariners should be careful when approaching either of the bridges not to be set onto the bridge as tides can be strong and at the Haven Bridge the rates can exceed 3 knots. Inbound vessels intending to berth at Hall Quay (opposite the red brick Town Hall) to await a lift, that are manoeuvring on the flood tide, may need to turn head to tide before berthing. If so, extra caution should be exercised to allow sufficient time for the turn to be executed and not to be set up close to or onto the Haven Bridge (similarly so for any manoeuvres when stemming the tide with the stern to the bridges). In bound vessels entering for a bridge booking, should make allowance for the passage time from the river entrance to Haven Bridge and consider that there is a 7 knot maximum speed limit, slow speed areas near small or vulnerable craft, a 2 mile river passage, possibly head tides over 3 knots and commercial shipping movements to contend with.

Vessels inbound to the River Port should contact Yarmouth Radio on VHF Channel 12 prior to approaching the entrance, to request clearance to enter. They should also obey the IALA Port traffic signals displayed from the North Wall (just south of the root of the rock South Breakwater and opposite the end of Gorleston Pier).

Vessels required to wait outside the River Port for an outbound vessel must stay clear of the port entrance, in order to give departing ships adequate room to manoeuvre.

On approach to the bridges, vessels should contact Haven and Breydon Bridges (or Haven Bridge only, if Breydon Bridge is not to be used) on VHF Channel 12.

Outbound vessels should initially contact Breydon Bridge (or Haven Bridge only, if Breydon Bridge is not to be used) on VHF Channel 12. When through the Haven Bridge and proceeding outwards through the Haven, vessels should contact Yarmouth Radio on Channel 12 to advise of their intentions. They should obey the IALA traffic signals exhibited at Brush Bend and if a STOP signal is exhibited stop their vessel north of the stop sign that is displayed on the west bank to the north of the RNLI Lifeboat Station.

Vessels navigating through the Haven should be aware of the possibility of large vessels manoeuvring or swinging in the restricted River Port area.

Please note that enquiries regarding air drafts, mooring and/or navigational aspects of the Port area should be directed to the Harbour Office +44 (0) 1493 335501.

The Norfolk Broads

Just north of Haven Bridge at the Yare/Bure river confluence, navigation is the responsibility of the Broads Authority. The Broads can be accessed via Mutford Lock at Lowestoft or by transiting the Haven and Breydon Bridges at Great Yarmouth.

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 Collision Regulations (ICR) applies in the port along with local byelaws. The river is a busy commercial port and small craft must not hamper large ships manoeuvring in the river (see Rule 9[b] of the ICR 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 HW/LW 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