SAILING PORTSMOUTH AND THE SOLENT
Due to its location adjacent to The Solent, Portsmouth is an ideal place for a whole range of water sports. Across The Solent, the Isle of Wight provides shelter to the waters off Southsea and so provides an ideal area for inshore sailing, wind surfing, kite surfing, canoeing and cruising.
To the west of Portsmouth is Portsmouth Harbour, this is a roughly triangular natural harbour, each of the three sides is approximately two and a half miles long.
Portsmouth Harbour is home to Portsmouth Naval Base, a Cross Channel ferry port and a commercial dock and is therefore very busy with maritime traffic.
Vessels over 20m in length have to enter and leave Portsmouth Harbour in the main channel, and must have permission from the Queen's Harbour Master (QHM). QHM controls shipping on VHF Ch11.
Vessels over 48m in length must have a pilot boat to enter and leave Portsmouth Harbour.
The Solent is 15 miles long and varies in width between 21 to 3 miles due to the undulating shape of its opposing coasts.
Within the Solent, strong currents flow through the Hurst Narrows (1.8 metres per second on spring tides) at the western entrance to the Solent (Velegrakis 1994). However, at the entrances to Portsmouth, Langstone and Chichester Harbours, surface currents may reach in excess of 3 metres per second on a full spring ebb (Admiralty Chart 3418).
To the East of Portsmouth is Langstone Harbour, at high tide, water covers about 1900 hectares but at low tide only about 200 hectares are under water. Langstone Harbour has a number of mooring areas providing both deep water and dry moorings for several hundred boats. A small fleet of commercial fishing vessels operate from the harbour and there are some commercial shipping movements to and from the two commercial aggregate wharfs.
USEFUL MARINE CONTACTS
SOLENT COASTGUARD MARITIME RESCUE
If at sea call on VHF channel 16 or depress the RED distress button on your DSC controller.
For routine traffic and other information Telephone: 02392 552100 or call on VHF 67.
Digital Selective Calling MMSI 002320011.
PORTSMOUTH LIFEBOAT STATION
Address: Ferry Road, Southsea, Hampshire, PO4 9LY
Telephone: 02392 814811
GOSPORT AND FAREHAM INSHORE RESCUE SERVICE (GAFIRS)
Independent Lifeboat based in Gosport on call 24 / 365
area of coverage is from Hillhead Harbour to South Parade Pier, including all of Portsmouth Harbour.
Address: GAFIRS, Military Road, Stokes Bay, Gosport, Hants, PO12 2TR.
Telephone: 02392 584017 (HQ - Operational Calls)
Telephone: 02392 988016 (HQ - General Calls)
In an Emergency - Contact the Coastguard using 999
Nigel Jardine, Harbour Master
Nick Lyon, Deputy Harbour Master
Louise MacCallum, Environment Officer
Telephone: 02392 463419
QUEEN'S HARBOUR MASTER, PORTSMOUTH
Address: Semaphore Tower, HM Naval Base, Portsmouth, PO1 3LT
Telephone: 02392 723694
Customs: If you are arriving or departing from any country outside the EU or the Channel Islands, you must complete the Customs form C1331.
HM Customs Portsmouth Telephone: 02392 852148