Chichester Harbour, with 11 square miles of water, 17 miles of well marked and lit channels and with easy access to the Solent, is an ideal water recreation centre. The sheltered waters are ideal for racing and day sailing and its channels offer secure moorings for cruising vessels. With up to 10,000 boats sharing this facility, at peak times the harbour can be congested. In addition the harbour is of national and international importance for nature conservation.
The low lying entrance to Chichester Harbour is not easily distinguished against the backdrop of the South Downs and is bordered on both sides by extensive drying banks: West Pole, Middle Pole, and East Pole Sands, the latter extending more than a mile seaward. A deep-water channel running between these banks to the harbour entrance is interrupted by a bar joining West to Middle Pole and East Pole Sands; this mobile feature varies in position and height and is periodically dredged to maintain a charted depth of 1.5m. The width of the dredged channel across the Bar is a little less than 200 yards.
Vessels approaching the harbour from the west are advised to shape a course for West Pole Beacon 50º45'.45N, 00º56'.59W. On rounding the Beacon aim to pass between Eastoke Buoy and West Winner Beacons leaving the Bar Beacon, 50º46'.023N, 00º56'.380W, close to port. When approaching the harbour from the east, mariners are advised not to cross the 5m contour until West Pole Beacon bears 310º T. On reaching the Beacon shape a course for the harbour entrance, keeping the Bar Beacon close to port.
Chichester Bar is normally dredged to around 1.5m below chart datum giving a depth of 2m at Mean Low Water Springs. However, through gradual accretion and after severe gales the bottom can vary markedly and it is then prudent to assume a least depth of 0.8m below Chart Datum. Mariners should be aware that ebb tides in the entrance to the harbour can attain a rate of up to 6 knots on Springs. With a falling tide and strong winds from a southerly sector a dangerous sea may be encountered. In these conditions it is advisable to exercise caution and cross the bar between 3 hours before and 1 hour after High Water Springs. In very strong winds entry should not be attempted. The speed limit throughout the harbour is 8 knots.
Up-to-date tide and weather information at the Harbour Entrance is available at www.chimet.co.uk or from the Harbour Office.
The Harbour Patrol maintain a VHF radio watch on Ch 14, Call Sign 'Chichester Harbour Radio' or 'Chichester Harbour Patrol'. The speed limit throughout the harbour is 8 knots. Visitors' moorings and ferry services are available at Itchenor and Emsworth. Useful navigation information, including race start times and locations, is published each weekend in the season as an eNewsletter, sign up at www.conservancy.co.uk.
Contact: Chichester Harbour Conservancy, Harbour Office, Itchenor, Chichester, PO20 7AW. Tel: 01243 512301. www.conservancy.co.uk
Sparkes Marina is situated on the southeast tip of Hayling Island within Chichester Harbour. When approaching the marina, enter Chichester Harbour and proceed on the starboard side of the channel until the Hayling Island Sailing Club mast is bearing 240º M (236º T) to the portside. From this position you will see an East Cardinal Mark bearing approximately 290º M (286º T) and a jetty pontoon on the sailing club shore. Alter course to port onto a heading of 281º M (277º T). Adjust your course to pass midway between the cardinal mark and the pontoon. You will now see transit marks consisting of two dayglo orange St Andrew's Crosses, bearing 281º M (277º T), adjusting your course to keep the transit in line. Proceed down the transit for approximately three cables, leaving the pile mooring to port. As you pass the last pile mooring you will see steel piles with red can top marks on your port bow (southwest). Follow these marks from the Sailing Club to the Marina, which has been dredged to two metres below Chart Datum.
Sparkes Marina has 150 berths; max LOA: 20m; fuel (diesel, petrol and marine gas); dry boat sailing for yachts and motorboats; swinging moorings; 15 ton mobile crane; storage ashore; full maintenance services; 24-hour showers and toilets; laundry facilities; restaurant and bar; yacht brokerage; sea school; and MDL Wi-Fi.
Contact: Sparkes Marina, Wittering Road, Hayling Island, PO11 9SR. Tel: 023 9246 3572. www.sparkesmarina.co.uk
Northney Marina is situated on the north shore of Hayling Island within Chichester Harbour. The harbour's sheltered waters provide safe cruising and there are plenty of anchorages to explore within the area, such as Itchenor, with its quaint pubs, or Bosham village.
When approaching Northney Marina, enter Chichester Harbour on the top half of the flood. Continue north up Emsworth Channel for three miles to Emsworth South Cardinal light beacon. Here fork 45º to port up Sweare Deep. After 8 cables turn sharply to port around the Northney red beacon. Enter the marina via a short channel dredged one metre; access H24.
Northney Marina has 228 berths; max LOA: 24m; fuel (diesel); boat lifting and storage ashore; 35 ton boat hoist; slipway; car parking and trailer storage; boatyard services; yacht brokerage; laundry facilities; provisions shop; and MDL Wi-Fi.
Contact: Northney Marina, Northney Road, Hayling Island, PO11 0NH. Tel: 023 9246 6321. www.northneymarina.co.uk
Emsworth Yacht Harbour
Emsworth is a friendly, family owned marina within walking distance of the attractive village of Emsworth. There are limits on access due to the fixed sill and the marina is accessible ±2 HW.
The marina has 220 fully serviced pontoon berths; hard-standing for 200 boats; and a visitor pontoon.
There is a 50 tonne travel hoist, 10 tonne crane, and Wise W10 boat parker. Chandlery and boat broker on site; range of boat repair services; slipway and drying grid; diesel and Calor Gas sales; and free WiFi.
Contact: Emsworth Yacht Harbour, Thorney Road, Emsworth, Hants, PO10 8BP. Tel: 01243 377727. www.emsworth-marina.co.uk
Thornham Marina is at the top of Prinsted Bay in Chichester Harbour. Visitors can moor on drying pontoon berths, on pontoon berths within a gated basin, or on swinging moorings. Access to pontoon berths is around ±2 HW, (swinging moorings is 2.5 hours), depending on tide height.
To find Thornham Marina enter into Thorney Channel and proceed north, pass Thorney Island SC and church to port. Follow the moorings all the way to the entrance to Prinsted Bay. After entering the bay, follow the channel markers which will then guide you into the deep water pool or pontoon berths. Call Sign 'Thornham Marina', VHF Ch 80.
There is storage for around 300 vessels; a 12 ton boat hoist; electricity and water; toilets and showers; and car parking.
Contact: Thornham Marina, Thornham Lane, Prinsted, Nr. Emsworth, PO10 8DD. Tel: 01243 375335. www.thornhammarina.com
Birdham Pool Marina
The Marina is situated on the southern edge of Chichester Harbour six miles from the entrance, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Birdham Pool can accommodate up to 265 vessels and berthing is mostly between piles, bow or stern to the shore or jetties. The approach channel to Birdham Pool Marina is approximately 10m in width. Please call on VHF Ch 80, Call Sign 'Birdham Pool Marina', or by mobile to the lock on 07831 466815. Entrance and exit via the lock is available ±3.5 hours HW.
Contact: Birdham Pool Limited, Birdham, Chichester, West Sussex, PO20 7BG. Tel: 01243 512310. www.birdhampool.co.uk. Birham Pool Marina is a member of TransEurope Marinas
Chichester Marina is situated upstream from Birdham Pool on the starboard side of Chichester Harbour. Once inside the harbour you need to head northeast past East Head and towards Itchenor to arrive at the Marina.
The channel to the marina is marked by the Chichester Marina starboard pile. Maximum speed 6 knots. There are five starboard markers, each with a green top mark, in the approach channel. Chichester Marina operates on VHF Ch 80, 24/7 all year.
On arrival, moor your vessel on the outer waiting pontoon and go to the marina office for locking instructions, or contact the marina for a berth allocation prior to your arrival. During busy periods a queuing procedure may be in operation. The duty lock-keeper can advise on current locking arrangements.
The lock allows 24-hour access to the marina with excellent security provided around the clock. The marina has luxury toilets and showers; a launderette; convenience store; a new Cafe Bistro overlooking the water; Wi-Fi; free parking; post collection point; waste and recycling facilities; a new boatyard facility with a wide variety of marine tenants and an undercover boatshed.
Contact: Premier Chichester Marina, Birdham, Chichester, West Sussex, PO20 7EJ. Tel: 01243 512731. www.premiermarinas.com/chichester
Haines Boatyard is synonymous with the shipwright and painting expertise required to restore and maintain a varied range of classic and modern keelboats, yachts and motor craft. They are proud of their long heritage offering a wide range of services for boats up to 34ft and 6 tonnes, including hauling, launching, pressure washing and anti-fouling.
Indoor and outdoor summer and winter storage is available for all types of boat up to 28ft. Facilities include a fully-equipped shipwright, painting and rigging workshop with a 10 ton gantry.
Contact: Haines Boatyard, Itchenor, Chichester, West Sussex, PO20 7AN. Tel: 01243 512228. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.hainesboatyard.com