If you are unfamiliar with Lymington Harbour and its approaches, check out our video which shows how to navigate upstream, offering helpful guidance and highlighting the location of visitor berthing options and other points of interest. To view click the button below.
To see what other craft (including ferries) may be navigating the river prior to entering the river or departing your berth please click on the button below.
Approaches to Lymington
Lymington Harbour is one of the foremost destinations for yachtsmen in the UK and is also a commercial port for vehicle and passenger services to the Isle of Wight. It can be entered by day or night and at all states of the tide by vessels with draft up to about 2.5m metres.
The main hazards when approaching Lymington Harbour are:
- Yacht racing starts in the vicinity of the entrance to the main navigation channel and the race starting platform.
- Vehicle and passenger ferries entering and leaving Lymington and particular when arriving or departing the ferry berth. See Local Notice to Mariners Number 10/2014
- Strong tidal streams running across the navigation channel from the entrance upstream to number 5 beacon.
- The shallow ground either side of the marked navigation channel.
- The rock breakwaters in Short Reach either side of the navigation channel.
Lymington Harbour sees over 10,600 movements of the Wightlink Isle of Wight car ferry each year together as well as regular trips made by smaller craft providing passenger ferry and pleasure trip services. There is also a constant flow of leisure traffic on passage to and from marinas and river moorings.
Good seamanship calls for the fairways, which extend from the southern most Harbour Limit at Jack in the Basket beacon to the railway bridge at Town Quay and beyond, to be navigated with caution and due regard to other vessels. In particular, all vessels are required to keep to the starboard side of the fairway when practicable. However, large commercial vessels can often only navigate in the centre of the fairway and smaller vessels must not impede their passage.
Speed Limit and Wash
All harbour users are reminded of the requirement to, at all times, proceed at a safe speed and not to produce wake or wash that could cause a nuisance to other river users. The harbour is not just used by ships and well founded boats. Tenders and dinghies are also commonplace, many of which have a low freeboard and could easily be swamped.
The marinas, moorings and pontoons, which line the fairway, accommodate a range of vessels which are susceptible to damage from excessive wash and wake; be considerate, 6 knots through the water is a limit and not a target and an advisory limit of 4 knots applies above the wooden wave screens which mark the entrance to the inner harbour. Remember to look behind you and check your wash, a motor boat or rib may well produce more wash at 6 knots than it does on the plane so reduce your speed even further.
Users are reminded of Lymington Harbour General Directions 3.2, 3.3 and 3.4 concerning the speed limit and wash within Lymington Harbour. A skipper of a vessel found to be in wanton breach or which causes damage or injury may find themselves in court and on summary conviction could be fined up to £2,500.
In order to comply with our responsibilities under the Port Marine Safety Code, in consultation with local clubs and organisations we have developed a Code of Practice for Organised Events in Lymington River.
The aim of the Code is to assist organisers to meet their responsibilities and manage events safely by referring to the risk assessments and the control measures set out in the Code.
It applies to all organised events where participating craft come within the jurisdiction of Lymington harbour Commissioners.
MCA Guidance for Pleasure Vessels
The publication MCA Guidance for Pleasure Vessels provides helpful safety advice and guidance for going afloat.
Safety Guidance for Commercial Fishermen
The publications below provide important safety advice for commercial fishermen when going afloat.
Fishermen's Safety Guide (Issued by The Maritime & Coastguard Agency)
Lifejacket Guidance for Commercial Fishermen (Issued by the RNLI)