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Mail: update for East Coast Pilot Peaceful evening off Ramsholt, on the River Deben.

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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.   

If you spot changes out there before we do, please tell us, and do sign up for our free email service. Short email newsletters, sent perhaps 10 times each year, help us to keep in touch with you. Use Twitter? Follow us on @eastcoastpilot !

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  16th Apr 2014

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Deben and Ore Entrances - 2014 Chartlets now available (16th Apr 2014)

The 2014 chartlets for the Deben and Ore entrances are available from today, 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.

Queenborough - Trot Boat (15th April 2014)

The trot-boat service will resume at Queenborough from this Friday, 18th April, initially running on Fri-Sat-Sun until dusk, landing on the Town Hard near LW, and the Town Quay near HW.

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.

Foulgers Gat Buoyage to be reinstated (2nd April 2014)

The Long Sand Inner and Outer buoys, removed in 2011 for the London Array construction, are to be returned, together with an extra third buoy, on or around 30th April.

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.

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! QYC have agreed to repair the ATL in time for this season

(see News below dated, 11th Nov 2013).

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.

New buoy in the Crouch (17th Feb 2014)

In connection with the installation of Middlewick Wind Farm, a Yellow Spherical Buoy, Unlit, with ‘X’ topmark has been installed in approximate position 51deg 37’.255N, 000deg 54’.206E (near Holliwell Point). This buoy marks a temporary tide/swell gauge on the river bed.

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.

River Ore entrance buoyage (17th Nov 2013)

As usual, the Oxley and Weir buoys have been removed from the Ore entrance for the winter. Harbourmaster and ECP Honorary Port Pilot John White advises: “I can only give information on general conditions likely to be encountered on the entrance but no pilotage info.This is a difficult river to enter/leave so unless you are well acquainted with the Orford Bar I advise extreme caution.” The buoys should be replaced by Easter 2014.

Queenborough All-Tide Landing Closed (11th Nov 2013)

The All-Tide Landing at Queenborough has been closed by the owners, Queenborough YC. They are quoted as saying that major repairs are needed to make it safe, and that there are no funds available. The Harbour Trust were previously in negotiations to take over its management from the Yacht Club, but these fell through earlier this year. All parties hope that a solution can be found in time for the 2014 season.

Mersea Quarters Spit buoy missing (30th October 2013)

The Quarters Spit ECB is not on station and possibly will not be returned until the Spring.

Queenborough Trot Boat Times - changed (Item revised 9th Sept 2013)

As from now, the trot boat service times will be as follows:

Friday 16.00 to 21.45; Saturday 16.00 to 21.45; Sunday 16.00 to 21.45.

All times are weather and visitor number dependant. These times willl apply until 30th September.  From 1st October there will be no trot boat service until the start of next season.

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.

Transit through Foulger’s Gat (9th August 2013)

Work continues to complete the London Array windfarm which straddles Foulger’s Gat, whose navigation buoys have been temporarily removed.

The Gat is still open to navigation although there may be circumstances when vessels wishing to pass through the Gat need to be aware of work going on, with a necessary safety zone around the work, or indeed when work is so extensive that the Gat cannot be safely used and an alternative route must be used.

Following widespread adverse comment regarding the advice given by crews of the guard vessels involved, we contacted the Marine Coordinators for the London Array and made some constructive suggestions.They have responded equally constructively, mentioning that recently there have been some new crews involved out there, and saying that not all crews may have properly understood the guard vessel role in advising other craft on passage on whether or not it is currently possible to use the Gat, and if so to advise helpfully on the potential dangers to be avoided.

We are assured that all crews have been briefed again on what is expected of them, and furthermore that skippers who wish to transit through Foulger's Gat are more than welcome to call the duty Marine Coordinator on 07920 854358, who can tell them of the latest construction activity and perhaps give a detailed weather / sea state picture as well.

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.

Orfordness Lighthouse to shut down (30th May 2013)

The iconic lighthouse on Orfordness will be extinguished permanently on about 28th June.

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.

New Chartlets for the Deben and Ore Entrances (24th April 2013)

Today we are pleased to make available, for free download, new chartlets of the Deben and Ore river entrances. They are available from our Downloads page, via the top button in the right-hand column on most pages on this site.

These chartlets have been enabled by an agreement between Trinity House and Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson, following the discontinuation of the East Coast Rivers website. The chartlets are based on the most recent Trinity House surveys, carried out in March 2013.

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.

Hoo Marina ‘will close to visitors’ (28th November 2012)

The Medway’s Hoo Marina has been sold to the owner of Port Werburgh, the residential marina immediately next to it. We understand that Hoo Marina will no longer accept visitors, and that its name will disappear. We will bring you more details on this as and when they become clear.

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