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Mail: info@eastcoastpilot.com?subject=Submitted update for East Coast Pilot The River Orwell, looking upstream beyond Woolverstone

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       All site content © Colin Jarman, Garth Cooper and Dick Holness. All Rights Reserved                                                     


Welcome to the East Coast Pilot website


East Coast Pilot’ is a best-selling pilot book for the coast between Lowestoft and Ramsgate, now in its 3rd Edition and written for all who cruise these waters for pleasure, by three people who do just that. On this website we publish any changes needed to keep your book up to date, and bring you other news and services that can help you enjoy this wonderful cruising ground.   

Do sign up for our free email service. Short email newsletters, sent perhaps 10 times each year, help you keep up to date. Use Twitter? Follow us on @eastcoastpilot ! If you spot changes out there before we do, please tell us, we welcome any feedback about the book or the site, and we will always reply.

“This pilot cannot be too highly recommended to all East Coast yachtsmen”

- The Cruising Association.

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Site last updated 18th Aug 2014

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RYA-E website >>

Kingsferry Bridge closures this month (5th August 2014)

The rail/road bridge across the Swale will be closed to navigation, i.e. unable to lift, during periods on four days in August, as follows - Monday 18th, from 0941-1341; Tues 19th, from 1044-1444; Weds 20th, from 1211-1511; Thurs 21st, from 1336-1736.


Queenborough Trot Boat (22nd July 2014)

The trot boat is now operating every day rather than just at weekends.


Deben Entrance - pay attention to the transit! (13th July 2014)

Too many boats are still gravely misjudging the approach to the Deben entrance, failing to maintain a straight line between the West Knoll and Mid Knoll buoys and ending up on the shingle bank and having to be rescued.

The key to this is to pick a point on the shore that is in line with the buoys before you pass the West Knoll. When we last looked, this was the west end of the row of cottages. But don’t take our word for it, check for yourself - the buoys may have been moved just before you arrived! Having picked your point, keep it firmly in line with the Mid Knoll buoy as you approach it. Roll away some of your genoa if that is hampering your view. Remember that on the flood tide, you will be pushed westwards by the tide.

John White, local HM and our Honorary Port Pilot, suggests leaving the West Knoll some 20 yards on your port side and lining up the Mid Knoll buoy with a striped post on the shoreline. This is very hard to see from a distance, but is a useful transit on leaving the river.

At the time of writing, there is an extra red can to be left to port on approach between the two main buoys. However, this may be temporary and taken away at any time.

The buoyage was adjusted slightly early in June, and Imrays produced a new version of the chartlet which is available as usual on our Downloads page.


New Nav Buoy at Maldon (3rd June 2014)

A new PHB has been installed adjacent to the promenade extension at Maldon, marked No.16, at 51⁰43’.647N 000⁰41’.906E.


Ramsgate Dredging (3rd June 2014)

Dredging is taking place inside the Royal Harbour at Ramsgate until mid-June. The dredger answers to the name of ‘Mannin’ on Ch 14 and prefers to be passed at low speed.


Copperas Channel (26th May 2014)

There are rumours about that the Copperas Channel “has silted up”, and that “its buoyage has been removed”. Neither story is true - this year’s survey showed barely any change, and both buoys were still there this afternoon!


Queenborough - All-Tide Landing (26th May 2014)

The ATL is in use once again having been repaired by QYC. It will shortly be handed over to the Harbour Trust who will be carrying out further renovation, during which time they expect to be able to keep it open. The trot boat is running until dusk every Fri-Sat-Sun. The new extra pontoon is expected in July (see item below dated 24th Feb).


Deben and Ore Entrances - 2014 Chartlets now available (Updated 24th Apr 2014)

The 2014 chartlets for the Deben and Ore entrances are available from our Downloads page. Once again these essential items have been produced by Imray Laurie Norie and Wilson and are available only from our website, by kind permission of Trinity House.

Mariners entering the Ore should note from the 2014 chartlet that shoaling is occurring mid-stream opposite the entrance to Barthrop’s Creek. Best water at that point appears to be close to the East shore.


Foulgers Gat Buoyage reinstated (Updated 3rd June 2014)

The Long Sand Inner and Outer buoys, removed in 2011 for the London Array construction, have been returned, together with an extra third buoy.

Details as follows:

Long Sand Inner: 51° 38’.775N  001° 25’.435E; Spherical; Red and White vertical stripes; Morse "A" 15 seconds.

Long Sand Outer: 51° 34’.610N  001° 28’.338E; Spherical; Red and White vertical stripes; L.Fl.10 seconds.

Long Sand Middle: 51° 35’.600N  001° 26’.450E; Spherical; Red and White vertical stripes; Iso. 5 seconds.

A recent Trinity House survey shows a minimum depth of 3m through the Gat. Temporary passage restrictions or exclusion zones may be imposed from time to time to accommodate maintenance work on any of the towers adjacent to the route.


Stone Point, Walton Backwaters - dredging (8th April 2014)

Following HHA dredging at Stone Pont, members of Walton & Frinton YC produced a new chartlet. They kindly made it available to us to publish on our Downloads page and includes the club’s advice notes.


Sun Pier, Chatham - update  (25th Mar 2014)

We now understand that Sun Pier at Chatham, recently reinstated ready for visitors to make crew changes, shopping visits, or occasional overnights, will indeed be available for that purpose after all, following the reversal of an earlier agreement for its use for other purposes. We are trying to find out how access to the shore, payment etc will work and will post details on the Medway updates page in due course.


Hythe Quay, Maldon (24th March 2014)

There is a significant subsidence problem at Hythe Quay. Approximately 25 metres of the quay face has slumped and given way and the Council has had to take steps to reduce the threat to river users, visitors and berth holders by placing a temporary fence along the surface of the quay, and a dry dock has been sunk in place alongside the seaward side of the collapse.

Maldon District Council has taken the matter in hand and has provided funding for repairs and are currently discussing design options for improved facilities with their consultants.  Planning and  licence applications are currently being made.   It is likely that the works will not be completed until the latter part of the year, and with many barges to accommodate and the loss of one mooring tier, potential visiting yachtsmen are asked to make alternative arrangements for this this season.  A number of the local boatyards have berths available and visitors are advised to make arrangements prior to arriving.

Medway Entrance chartlet (18th March 2014)

If you have downloaded the replacement Medway entrance chartlet that we published in February, our apologies but can you do it again please. After a suggestion by a reader we asked Imrays to slightly modify the Recommended Yacht Track to ensure nobody is tempted to pass west of the Grain Hard buoy where, as your full chart will show, there are serious underwater obstructions. Here’s a quick link to the new version.


Queenborough - mooring pontoon (24th Feb 2014)

The Harbour Trust at Queenborough has applied for planning permission for a concrete pontoon, 60m x 9m, to be moored N-S just N of the ATL and connected to it by a bridge. The new pontoon would provide up to 10 visitor moorings plus rafted boats, and also be the home for the Harbour Trust office. An exciting development for this popular overnight stop!


Thames, Yantlet Channel Changes (17th Feb 2014)

We have added significant updates to ECP today, including new chartlets and an important additional note about the new Yantlet Secondary Channels, vital information if you are using Sea Reach. See the Thames updates page.


London Array (12th Dec 2013)

With the windfarm almost completed, the developers have published a useful ‘Operations and Maintenance’ leaflet, giving advice to anyone wanting to pass through the windfarm itself. It is available via our Downloads page. We note that as yet there is no mention of reinstatement of the navigation buoys at each end of Foulgers Gat.


New Chartlet for Mersea Quarters (12th August 2013)

There is an updated chartlet for Mersea Quarters available from the Downloads page, amended to reflect the current buoyage. This replaces the chartlet on P76 of ECP3.


Walton Channel and Stone Point (updated 4th July 2013)

Dredging in June further deepened the Walton Channel at Stone Point, although we are advised that the deep channel itself is very narrow. A new sketch chartlet is now available on this website, see our Downloads page, by kind permission of Titchmarsh Marina, showing depths after the June dredge. Subtract the Harwich height shown to estimate depths at LAT. Paper copies are available from the marina office. We rounded Stone Point at HW+/-3 after the May dredge, with plenty of clearance following the charted line, in a boat of 1.2m draught.

Note that:

No 16 PHB has been adjusted in position to reflect an extension of the shingle point.

No 11 SHB has been moved some way NW to help with finding best water just after the point.

Depending on their boat’s draught, we recommend that navigators should still exercise caution around Stone Pt between LW+/-2H.

The tidal streams now run strongly through the bottleneck at Stone Pt and boats should follow the line closely to minimise the effect of the overfalls and turbulence found near No 16 PHB in wind over tide conditions close to HW.

Take extra care when passing another vessel in this area.


Brightlingsea - Waterside Marina (19th June 2013)

The marina at Brightlingsea is no longer managed by Brightlingsea Harbour Commissioners, and separate arrangements must be made if you want a berth in there. For contact details see our Colne updates page.


Yarmouth Coastguard MRCC has closed (1st May 2013)

The coastguard station at Great Yarmouth has closed today, for ever. In future all the station’s work will be handled by Humber Coastguard as the primary station and Thames Coastguard at Walton-on-the Naze as the secondary station. The number of Coastguard rescue teams, lifeboats and helicopters will remain the same.
Emergency calls should still be made on 999 “Coastguard” and the call will be handled by whichever of the two stations is available. People who normally contact Great Yarmouth MRCC by phone and live south of Waxham, near Sea Palling, Norfolk, can continue to call on 01493 851338. People living north of Waxham should call 01262 672317, both lines connect with Humber Coastguard.
VHF calls will be dealt with by either Humber or Thames depending on the caller’s location. There is no change to the maritime safety broadcasts or frequencies or schedules.


Lowestoft Honorary Port Pilot - situation vacant! (20th April 2013)

Sarah Hanna was one of ECP’s original HPP’s but has had to stand down. If you feel you are closely in touch with activities on the water at Lowestoft and close by, and are interested in picking up this unpaid and very undemanding job, do get in touch.


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