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Old 27 May 2004, 06:47   #1
Country: UK - England
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Entering Portsmouth harbour

My trip to the IoW is only days away now, and I'm trying to organise my "itinery". I would very much like to cruise into Portsmouth harbour at some point. Having looked at the port authority website, it says all boats entering the harbour must call the harbour master for authorisation on the VHF. I don't have a VHF, but am assuming I could call him on the phone.

Do they actually expect you to call, or can you just cruise in (like at my local harbour!). Is there anything else I should be aware of like needing a floating warning triangle or something!

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Old 27 May 2004, 06:52   #2
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I've been into Portsmouth loads of times, and the only time I beleive you need to call for permission is if you cross the harbour from one side to the other over the shipping lanes, i.e. if your're going into Gunwharf Quay for example.

Things might have changed this year though, or I might have been entering illegally for the past few years.

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Old 27 May 2004, 06:58   #3
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You must stay on the western side of the channel all the way up to ballast buoy. If you then want to cross the channel you must call QHM and ask permission. I'm sure a phone call would be fine.

I would however highly recommend getting a VHF radio..
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Old 27 May 2004, 07:03   #4
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Originally Posted by timw
the only time I beleive you need to call for permission is if you cross the harbour from one side to the other over the shipping lanes, i.e. if your're going into Gunwharf Quay for example.
Keep well over to the port side on entry (you can go very close to the piles) - single file if there are multiple vessels entering. 10kts speed limit. If your destination is Gunwharf or Camber, proceed straight ahead to Ballast buoy (large red port marker) and request permission to cross from the QHM on VHF ch11. Have a look at our web site... go to "Destinations" in the left-hand frame and click on "Portsmouth". There are some links for the QHM and you'll probably find a telephone number on their site.
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Old 27 May 2004, 07:36   #5
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As every one has said above the requirement is to call on VHF when crossing. Only large vessels need to call when entering. I would suggest (for your own peace of mind if nothing else) that you beg, borrow or steal a H/H VHF (and, of course, the relevant paperwork ).

If you can't get hold of one have a look out for the Harbour Patrol launch and request that he escorts you across or cross in company with another vessel that has a VHF.


Also, don't get too close to the navy boats or you will find a very large plod boat on your case.
Peter (nick, nick) T

Age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill! Bullshit and brilliance only come with age and experience.
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Old 27 May 2004, 09:11   #6
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I think (IMHO) that a minimum of of H/H VHF was essential if you considering entering such a busy naval port.

Although you may have you phone how do the other vessels contact you?
They will not all have your number.

At least with a radio you are contactable by everyone there.

IMHO it would be fool hardy to enter without.

Kind regards

p.s. that not just cos we make radio either
Jon Brooks VSMM. Marine Mammal Medic, PBI, SRC Assessor,PWC Instructor.
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Old 27 May 2004, 09:18   #7
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Can I strongly recommend that you invest in a good almanac (if you haven't already done so) from the chandler's. In this you will find the rules of entry to any port as well as tons of other useful information. Ideal for pre trip research, or even on the boat when you suddenly wish to enter a new harbour upon a whim, or when events require that you seek entry to an unfamiliar place.

I have made many passages across Irish Sea, North Sea blah, blah blah and would not be without. Sorry to sound a bit Salty Old Sea Dog.
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Old 27 May 2004, 09:51   #8
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Although it would be best to have a VHF, I don't think that you need to be too concerned. I certainly wouldn't let it put you off visiting Portsmouth.

There has been a fair bit of discussion about the Portsmouth Harbour Entrance regulations -- have a look Notice to Mariners in Portsmouth

Read the Notice to Mariners at and make sure you understand where to go

If you want to cross to the Camber or Gunwharf then you can phone the QHM's office on 023 9272 3124 for permission. Tom Herman, the QHM himself, has posted here a few times and is very approachable. He really seems to want to make things work for everyone.


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Old 27 May 2004, 10:16   #9
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Mind the ferries!!!And the WAFIs!!!And the tugs!!!And the warships!!!

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they come over & shout at you

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Old 27 May 2004, 10:37   #10
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Remeber to round Ballast Buoy on entry to Portsmouth less face an argument with either a police boat or a cross-channel ferry! Also, stick to the limit of 10Kts, I have seen the police boats stop speeders and I'm not sure, but I think the penalty is extortionate, something like £10,000. Also, there is a real police presence in Portsmouth harbour now compared to a year or so ago due to the hightened terrorist threat so the regulations are enforced! Something also to bear in mind is that the speed limit applies not only to the harbour but a certain distance offshore check that out. Also, watch out for the green and white Gosport ferries that regularly cross the harbour as they can surprise sometimes! Having said all that, Portsmouth is brilliant...the warships are simply amazing. Have fun!

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