Every vessel is required to have a nominated skipper whose responsibility is the safety of his or her crew and that of other harbour users. You MUST read the Good Practice Guide on this website. It will take 10 minutes and you will be so much better informed and safer. You must carry a minimum of third party liability insurance. We strongly recommend that skippers access appropriate training schemes.
Key safety advice:
Always have an anchor you can deploy
Always have a means of communication, preferably a VHF radio
Never pass the Point on an ebb tide without a working means of mechanical propulsion
Be sure you and your crew can meet the conditions of the day
Never waterski without a minimum of one driver and one watch keeper
Know the recommended Royal Yachting Association safety and "rules of the road" advice (it is not mandatory to give way to sail in all circumstances!).
Let someone ashore know when you are expected to return
Always check weather and sea conditions and have appropriate clothing
Be very careful of wind over tide conditions particularly at the Bar, the Lower Harbour and the Point.
Use the helplines on this website for local advice.
ENTERING BLAKENEY HARBOUR, and a general harbour description
We suggest visiting the Yachtsman
Please read the below information very thoroughly
The entrance to Blakeney Harbour from open sea should be treated with considerable caution! Providing there is little or no ground swell, the harbour is usually safe to enter if there is any South in the wind direction. However, winds from other directions, particularly North and East, can create a dangerous short steep swell over the Bar and on the surrounding constantly shifting sandbanks.
Without local knowledge, vessels should not attempt to enter or leave the harbour before checking swell conditions (see on-line link and contact numbers below).
If vessels are planning to leave the harbour on one tide and return on the next, they should carefully check the wind forecast and swell predictions by logging on to the links below. There are no low water safe havens along this stretch of coast, so once vessels are at sea, there is a commitment to remain at sea for at least 6 - 7 hrs before there will be sufficient water to re- enter Blakeney Harbour, by which time a heavy swell may have developed making entry very hazardous and unsafe.
Vessels entering or leaving the harbour should refer to the chart on this website which gives details and positions of buoys, lights and shallow areas. Vessel owners should be aware however that sandbanks are constantly shifting in and around Blakeney Harbour, particularly during periods of stormy weather. BHA endeavour to move buoys to reflect changes when they occur, and navigation warnings are regularly posted on this website.
The entrance to Blakeney Harbour from Blakeney Bar beside the Hjordis wreck beacon is well buoyed with large and conspicuous BHA maintained starboard and port hand buoys at the entrance leading to smaller but still easily visible buoys through the more sheltered waters leading towards the main harbour ( known as 'Blakeney Pit'). All the larger outer buoys are lit at night, and many of the inner smaller buoys are also lit, enabling vessels to enter Blakeney Pit at night from the open sea, during periods of settled weather and low swell conditions.
Blakeney Harbour consists essentially of two areas of protected water at low water. Firstly, the area known locally as the 'Lower Harbour' appears as open sea at high tide, but as the water recedes, a vast area of sandbanks are exposed to the West and East, with Blakeney Bar to the North. Between these areas of sand is the Lower Harbour, a long stretch of water running North to South which provides a safe haven in any weather with stretches of reasonably deep water to allow vessels to remain at afloat at anchor during the low tide period, sharing this stunning location with usually in excess of 1000 seals! The Lower Harbour is generally safe and protected from open sea swell from approx 3 hrs after HW to three hours before the next HW, allowing vessels to move from the Lower Harbour to Blakeney Pit before swell from the open sea makes conditions uncomfortable or dangerous to remain in the Lower Harbour area.
Blakeney Pit, at the Western end of the harbour,is the deepest section at HW ,but the majority of the harbour, including most of Blakeney Pit, dries at LW, with just limited areas of shallow water in Blakeney Pit at LW. The entire harbour is approx 3 miles long running East to West from the entrance channels to Blakeney and Cley ( via the River Glaven), to the entrance channel to Stiffkey Freshes which is where the River Stiffkey enters the harbour. The entrance channel to Morston is situated approximately half way up the harbour.
Morston Creek is the busiest, and deepest of the four channels leading into the harbour ( but is congested during the summer months with numerous seal trip ferries and other craft of all types). Access to Morston Quay is possible approx 2 hrs either side of HW for shoal draft vessels.
The entrance channel to Blakeney is long and winding but is marked by numerous BHA green can buoys, which should be left close to starboard. Access to Blakeney is restricted by tide heights, but it is possible for shoal draft vessels to enter approx 1 hr either side of HW during Spring tide periods, but there is no, or very limited, access during Neap tides.
The entrance channel to Cley via the River Glaven is also limited by tides, with access broadly similar to Blakeney. There is currently an ambitious project in hand to restore Cley Old Harbour quayside adjacent to the iconic Cley Windmill, and to dredge and widen the upper reaches of the Glaven approaching the quayside. The entrance to the Glaven River is clearly marked by numerous BHA red can buoys which should be passed close to Port.
The entrance to Stiffkey Freshes creek at the West end of the harbour is unmarked and access is not advised unless you have walked the area at LW to note the location of the narrow access channel. Again access is restricted by tides - but for shoal draft vessels access is usually possible approx 1.5hrs either side of HW during Spring tides, but very restricted during Neap tides.
Boat owners are strongly advised to walk the Harbour at LW to check the location of access channels, and buoys / beacons. It is a stunning area to walk and explore, and safe to walk during the period 2 hrs either side of LW. The ground is mainly hard sand or shingle. A certain amount if wading is required in places, but shorts or waders are fine for a thorough explore of the area. However, we would strongly advise walkers to seek local advice before setting off. See contact numbers below.
For local advice, please call:
Charlie Ward on 07771 597985 or 01263 740377 or Jim Temple on 07841 162016
VISITOR MOORINGS IN BLAKENEY HARBOUR
All moorings in Blakeney Harbour are drying. The harbour is becoming very congested with moored vessels during the summer months, and therefore visiting vessels are strongly advised to book one of the visitors moorings for a rental of £10 per night payable to BHA. Please contact CHARLIE WARD - details below.
Alternatively, visiting vessels can anchor free of charge in the harbour, please make a donation to BHA who provide and maintain all the buoyage and beacons in and around the harbour, using volunteer labour and limited funds. Before anchoring, vessels are strongly advised to seek advice from BHA regarding the best areas to anchor. Contact details for advice are detailed below.
Visiting vessels are not advised to attempt to access landfall at Blakeney or Morston Quays. Blakeney Quay is very congested with moored vessels, some lying three abreast at the quay during summer months. There are no quayside mooring facilities at Morston Quay, which is very busy at all times with seal trip ferries coming and going.
Visiting vessels should access landfall at Morston or Blakeney quays by tender (with outboard motor) from their moored or anchored vessel in Blakeney Harbour. See harbour map on this website for location of facilities at Blakeney and Morston.
For visitors moorings, payments and BHA donations, contact: CHARLIE WARD on 01263 740377 or 07771 597985, or e mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
For advice regarding anchoring, contact CHARLIE WARD as above, or JIM TEMPLE on 07841 162016 or NEIL THOMPSON on 07929 181138
LAUNCHING BOATS IN BLAKENEY HARBOUR
There are two public slipways at both Blakeney and Morston Quays. The Blakeney slipways at Blakeney are steep concrete, and at Morston are less steep and gravelled.
There are no charges levied for the use of these slipways so please make a donation to BHA to help with the cost of maintaining these slipways and the harbour buoyage and beacons. All this work is undertaken with volunteer labour and BHA's limited funds.
Shoal draft vessels can be launched approx 1 hr either side of HW during Spring tides at Blakeney, but during Neap tides launching of vessels other than dinghies should not be attempted at Blakeney.
Shoal draft vessels can be launched at Morston approx 2 hrs either side of HW Springs at Morston, and 1hr either side of HW Neaps.
For advice about launching locations and BHA donations for use of slipways, please contact CHARLIE WARD on 07771 597985 or 01263 740377.
Please refer to the guidance notes attached to the Harbour Map on this website for local safety advice. For safety advice regarding vessels, please contact the RYA or RNLI (contact details on this website, attached to Harbour Map).
For general local safety advice, please contact JIM TEMPLE on 07841 162016 or CHARLIE WARD on 07771 597985 or 01263 740377.