Leisure Craft Pages

The Tidal River Severn

The safety of your vessel and those aboard it is your responsibility.  Familiarity with the chart of the river, an understanding of the uses of aids to navigation and the time and heights of tides are essential for the production of a meaningful passage plan. 

Although there have been no boating fatalities in the Severn Estuary in recent years, there have been a number of near misses when leisure users have not planned their trip properly to take account of local conditions. Tragic accidents have occurred elsewhere when sailors have ventured out ill-prepared in unsuitable conditions.

RYA SAFETRX has replaced the old CG66 method of advising HM Coastguard of your vessel details and proposed voyages. It is a free safety application for all sea and coastal users which can monitor your voyage in real time, provide the Coastguard with a description of your vessel in an emergency and can alert someone at home if you don't arrive back on time. safetrx.rya.org.uk

Passage planning is essential for a safe trip in the challenging waters of the tidal River Severn and users of small craft will find a great deal of useful information in the reference documents (below) by clicking on the appropriate buttons.

Current information of relevance to small craft travelling to Sharpness and into the inland waterway system may be found here "Plan and Communicate".

Admiralty charts BA 1166 and BA 1859 should be carried for navigation and passage planning purposes.  These can be obtained online from a number of specialist agents. 

Leisure craft operators must pay due regard to the SOLAS V requirements as set out in MCA leaflet MCA/098.  All UK pleasure craft must also comply with the regulations set out in Marine Guidance Notice MGN 538 (M) (September 2015).

If you have any queries relating to navigation in the harbour area area or beyond, you are welcome to contact this office and we shall be pleased to give advice.

The Gloucester & Sharpness (G&S) Canal 

Passage planning for small craft intending to use the G&S Canal after arriving in Sharpness Dock should include checking opening times of locks and bridges and whether any stoppage notices are in force.  Check the links to the relevant sections of canalrivertrust.org.uk and to recently-issued local Notices to Mariners (see links below) relating to the estuary, canal and dock.

The Inland Waterways Association (Gloucestershire and Herefordshire Branch) has also produced a useful guide to help with planning your passage on the Severn above Gloucester and along the G&S Canal.

The Severn Bore

The Severn Bore is a fascinating spectacle which attracts many people to the area.  However, boat owners, surfers and those on the river bank need to take care to enjoy the experience safely and should follow the advice given in the documents below.

Reference Documents

In addition to the information provided via the links below, recreational and leisure boaters should be familiar with the range of information and safety information published by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and HM Coastguard. These include:

  • Personal Emergency Radio Devices (MCA 255)
  • Emergency Alerting: 406MHz EPIRBs
  • Going Afloat Safely (MCA 154)
  • Will Your Liferaft Save You? (MCA 248)
  • Stability Guidance Booklet for Sailing Vessels (MCA 132)
  • Stability Guidance Booklet for Powered Vessels (MCA 133)
  • SOLAS V  For Pleasure Craft (MCA 098)
  • GMDSS The Benefits of Digital Selective Calling (MCA 103)
  • Life Saving Signals (MCA 099)