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Salcombe – Sailing Directions

Precautions / Regulations / Facilities.

Maintain Listening Watch on approaching and within Salcombe Estuary (Harbourmaster) on Ch. 14 or Ch. 12 for Salcombe Yacht Taxi.

Navigation: The entrance into the Salcombe Estuary has a “Bar” that is shallow and can be dangerous. See headings: “Depths” “Tidal Streams” & “Winds”. When approaching from the East steer toward the West side to keep well clear of dangers, Chappie Rocks and Little Eelstone. When nearing the “Salcombe Harbour Limit” maintain a course of 000° T – PoundStone (Red/White striped) and Sandhill Point marker (White post with horizontal red) in line. The transits are not easy to spot but lie just to the West of the red brick house at Sandhill Point. When abreast of “Black Stone” (Green/White) turn toward starboard and follow channel (042° T) until visitors mooring are abreast and fuel barge is visible ahead to starboard.

Depths: The estuary provides access at most states of tide up to the main visitor buoys and fuel barge but care is required when crossing “The Bar” to ensure adequate water to clear (min 0.5m Chart Datum) and to avoid ground swell etc. North of the fuel barge there are shallows and drying areas, which are best suited to enjoying the estuary in the dinghy / tender until familiar with the area. Over high water it is possible to navigate as far as Southpool (2 hours +/- H.W), Frogmore Boatyard pontoon (2 hours +/- H.W) & Kingsbridge (2.5 hours +/- H.W). See: “Links” for RYA “Up the Salcombe and Kingsbridge Estuary”.

Tidal Streams: The estuary has strong tidal flows during flood / ebb as the river fills or empties. The estuary can run @ up to 3 Knots making berthing or picking up buoys hazardous when in full flood / ebb. Avoid berthing near strong flows if possible. Ebb tides can cause dangerous conditions at “The Bar” in windy or onshore conditions.

Winds: The estuary entrance has a bar (“The Bar”) stretching across it and in windy conditions or ebb tides can be extremely dangerous to cross and should in such conditions not be attempted.

Speed Limits: 7 knots in the entrance reducing to 4 knots in the small craft channel.

Arrival procedures: Salcombe Harbour staff will normally greet and direct visiting craft from their small harbour launches.

Marinas: There are no marinas in the Salcombe Estuary.

Pontoons and buoys: There are a number of shore-side pontoons for short stay visitors – check with Salcombe Harbour Authority before coming alongside. Visitor buoys are available, directions and fees are the responsibility of Salcombe Harbour Authority. See: “Arrival procedures“.

Showers in Salcombe:

Whitestrand, adjacent to the Harbour Office.

Salcombe Yacht Club in Cliff House, coin operated and an access code is required from Harbour Staff.

Island Crusing Club vessel “Egremont in the Bag. These are at the discretion of the duty Manager for a small donation and are only available on Saturday afternoons and evenings.

Toilets in Salcombe:

Public toilets at Whitestrand, Cliff House Gardens and the head of Shadycombe Creek.

Showers in Kingsbridge:

The Sports centre opposite the visitors' pontoon on the west side of the Kingsbridge basin.

Toilets in Kingsbridge:

Public toilets at the entrance to the car park adjacent to the head of the estuary.

Fuel: Fuel is available from a fuel barge, “MV Elsie May”, situated on the East Portemouth side of the channel. See: “VHF Communications” & “Useful Telephone Contacts”.

Harbour Taxi: Salcombe Yacht Taxi operated by Salcombe Harbour Authority. See: “VHF communications” & “Useful Telephone Contacts”.

Incident reporting: Salcombe Harbour & H.M. Coastguard (Brixham). See: “VHF communications” & “Useful Telephone Contacts”.

VHF Communications.

Coastguard M.R.C.C. (Brixham): M.M.S.I. No 002320013.

Fuel Barge: Ch. 6 Call sign “MV Elsie May”.

Island Cruising Club vessel “Egremont” Ch. 37 Call sign “Egremont”.

Salcombe Harbour: Ch. 14 Call sign “Salcombe Harbour”.

Salcombe Yacht Taxi: Ch.12 Call sign: “Salcombe Yacht Taxi”

Useful Telephone Contacts.

Coastguard M.R.C.C. (Brixham): 01803 882704.

Fuel Barge: Mobile 07801 798862.

Island Crusing Club vessel “Egremont”: No telephone number.

Salcombe Harbour: 01548 843791.

Salcombe Yacht Taxi: Mobile 07807 643879.


Click here for RYA “Up the Salcombe and Kingsbridge Estuary”.

Click here for Salcombe Harbour Authority.

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