Pilot Bookings


i) The boarding of inward bound vessels by the Bristol pilot cutter normally takes place between the Breaksea Light and Barry Roads between 6 to 4 hours before high water at Sharpness.

ii) The departure of vessels outwards from Sharpness normally takes place between 2 hours before to 30 minutes after high water at Sharpness depending on tidal constraints. However, for operational purposes within the impounded dock, vessels may be expected to leave their berth and enter the lock or basin up to 3½ hours before high water Sharpness.  Small vessels may occasionally leave their berth at a time closer to high water Sharpness

iii)   Information on movements between Sharpness and local ports (when the pilot cutter is not required) is available from the duty pilot on request.

iv) Factors such as ship dimensions, draught in fresh water, speed, equipment and condition combined with tidal and weather conditions are critical to a safe and expeditious passage. Full co-operation from ships' agents, masters and owners is essential in providing information on a vessel's status and dimensions and in updating its ETA and ETD, otherwise delays and liability for additional charges may be incurred.

v) The following must be taken into account at all times:

a) Failure to provide accurate information may compromise the ability of the vessel to dock at Sharpness under marginal conditions.

b) Pilotage orders will not be accepted if, in the opinion of the pilot and harbourmaster, there is any doubt that the tide will reach the predicted height and duration required to provide the necessary underkeel clearance and manoeuvring time required for entry to Sharpness, based upon all available information, including tidal constraints, weather conditions and type of vessel.


 i) Orders for pilotage without payment immediately on completion of the passage will not be accepted without the prior agreement of the Trustees, who may be contacted at Navigation House, The Docks, Sharpness, Berkeley GL13 9UD, or by telephone on 01453 811913.

ii) Orders should be placed with the Trustees’ duty pilot by telephone on 07774 226143 during duty watch hours which are 0800 to 1800 Monday to Friday and 0800 to 1200 on Saturday (excepting Christmas Day). A minimum of 24 hours’ notice of ETA at the Breaksea Light is required for inward bound vessels, and a minimum of 8 hours’ notice before high water at Sharpness for outward bound vessels.

iii)  As set out in Section 18 of the Pilotage Act 1987, the Master of any vessel subject to GHT’s Pilotage Directions or any vessel requesting pilotage services is required to provide details of the ship’s dimensions and all other information relevant to the ship and its cargo which may affect passage through the compulsory area.  The required information is set out in section 2v. 

iv) These requirements will also apply to vessels subject to GHT’s Pilotage Directions intending to use the drydocks at Sharpness or Gloucester and vessels attending Gloucester Docks for other purposes.

v) The duty pilot must be provided with the following information at the time of ordering or as soon as reasonably practicable thereafter.  Failure to provide accurate information may compromise the ability of the vessel to dock at Sharpness under marginal conditions.

  1. ETA or ETD
  2. Summer Dead Weight
  3. Forward draft in fresh water
  4. Aft draft in fresh water
  5. Maximum beam
  6. Speed
  7. Maximum height of mast above keel
  8. Type of rudder (e.g. standard, high-lift, Kort nozzle)
  9. Status of bowthruster (if fitted)
  10. Any other information relevant to the navigational status of the vessel (e.g. significantly reduced visibility due to configuration of cargo, defects in compass or radar equipment) that is brought to the attention of the agent
  11. Destination (if known) for departing vessel 

vi) This pre-arrival data is to be submitted by the agent, owner or operator at the earliest opportunity using the “on-line” facility provided on the Trustees’ website:


vii)     Masters of all vessels that are not represented by an agent accredited with the Gloucester Harbour Trustees are advised that orders for pilotage must be accompanied at the time of ordering by the information set out above and additionally:

  • The full name and address of the vessel’s owners
  • A telephone number for the owners
  • Confirmation that payment for services will be made at the conclusion of the passage

The above information may be provided either directly to Gloucester Harbour Trustees or via the duty pilot.


i) Confirmation of ETA at boarding area ‘C’ (latitude 51°21'.50N longitude 3°15'.50W) must be provided by telephone to the duty pilot by masters or their agents at least 24 hours in advance.

ii) Vessels whose transit time from the departure port to the pilot station is expected to be less than 24 hours must contact the duty pilot as soon as possible after departure.

iii)         Failure to comply with this procedure may result in the pilot not being present at the Boarding and Landing Station at the appropriate time with consequent delay to the vessel.


i) Masters of vessels outward bound from Sharpness, and sailing before 1200 local time, must agree their ETD with the duty pilot by telephone, either directly or through their agent, before 1800 local time on the previous day.  When vessels are sailing after 1200 local time, ETD must be agreed with the Duty Pilot a minimum of 4 hours beforehand.  In both cases the agreed ETD must be confirmed by the master directly to the Sharpness Pierhead two and one half hours beforehand.

ii) ETD arrangements for Chepstow and Lydney will be advised on request.


i) Pilots are normally boarded and landed between the Breaksea Light and Barry Roads by the Bristol pilot cutter which keeps a continuous listening watch on VHF channel 06.

ii) Masters bound inward should make radio contact with the cutter at least one hour before their arrival off the Breaksea Light using the call sign 'GLOUCESTER PILOT'. The master will then be given instructions on the position and time of the boarding of the pilot.


 A full list detailing GHT’s current pilotage charges is available on the Trustees’ website www.gloucesterharbourtrustees.org.uk.


i) Ships' agents, masters or owners may cancel or amend an order for pilotage services during the duty watch period without charge provided that the following notice is given:

 (a)        Inward bound vessels at least ten hours before high water at Sharpness

  (b)       Outward bound vessels at least four hours before high water Sharpness and at least four hours before high water Chepstow or Lydney.

ii) The cancellation or postponement of an order for pilotage services with less than the above notice or outside duty watch hours will result in the imposition of a charge as set out in the Trustees' current list of pilotage charges.