LNTM No.02 of 2024


This Local Notice to Mariners is to be read in conjunction with the Byelaws for Chichester Harbour which may be obtained from the Harbour Office or online at www.conservancy.co.uk.

Chichester Harbour Conservancy is responsible for managing the risks associated with marine operations to ensure they remain as low as reasonably practicable but has no wish to over-regulate the use of the Harbour. Going afloat can never be free of risk and everybody who uses the Harbour, especially those in control of vessels, has an important role to play to ensure the Harbour remains safe.

There may be times when it is not safe to participate in a particular activity. Before taking to the water those in charge of vessels, adults responsible for children and those organising events and races need to carefully consider the prevailing weather, tidal and traffic conditions.

For the latest information regarding harbour operations please visit our website.

Harbour users are advised of the following measures to facilitate the safe use of the Harbour:

1. Chichester Harbour – Speed of Vessels and Care.

Attention is drawn to the speed limit of 8 knots which is in force for the whole of Chichester Harbour. Attention is also drawn to Chichester Harbour Byelaw No.4 ‘The Master of a vessel navigating the harbour shall navigate the vessel with care and caution and in such manner as shall not cause annoyance to the occupants of any other vessel or cause damage or danger to any other vessel or to any mooring or other property’.

Vessels navigating within mooring areas shall take particular care to comply with Byelaw No.4 by:

  1. reducing their speed so as not to cause undue wash;
  2. not overtaking in mooring area fairways, if such overtaking action shall place two vessels abreast of any vessel or vessels navigating the fairway in the opposite direction;
  1. furling spinnakers in plenty of time in adverse weather conditions, before reaching the moorings – this is particularly applicable to large vessels, which should be under power at busy periods;
  2. using the main channels and not navigating between the lines of moorings, whenever possible.

2. International Regulations for Preventing Collisions

These regulations are incorporated into Byelaw No.10 and apply to the Harbour and to vessels navigating therein. Because of the considerable traffic in the Harbour, mariners are to pay particular attention to:

  1. keeping to the starboard side of the channel
  2. reducing speed and if necessary, altering course in plenty of time if the giving way vessel;
  3. if under power and sail displaying a black cone point down.
  4. vessels of less than 20 metres in length or a sailing vessel shall not impede the passage of a vessel which can safely navigate only within a narrow channel or fairway.

3. Reporting Concerns Relating to Safety

a.  Harbour users are requested to report immediately to the Harbour Master any reasonable concern they have regarding safety in Chichester Harbour. Harbour users are also requested to report incidents and damage which may affect safety in the Harbour.

Or call SOLENT COASTGUARD on VHF Channel 16 or 67

b.  To report incidents or damage call “Chichester Harbour Radio” on VHF Channel 14 or telephone 01243 512301. You may also submit a written report, or complete an Incident Report online at: www.conservancy.co.uk

c.  Incidents and damage that should be reported include:

  1. damage to and collisions between vessels;
  2. damage to navigation marks, harbour structures or facilities;
  3. malfunctioning navigation marks;
  4. dangerous near-miss situations between vessels;
  5. vessels proceeding at an excessive speed or creating excessive wash, and;
  6. any other dangerous occurrence.

d.  Chichester Harbour Conservancy complies with the Port Marine Safety Code and has appointed a Designated Person to monitor compliance with the Code and report to the Conservancy. Any reasonable concerns regarding safety in the harbour may (in addition to being reported to the Harbour Master) be brought to the attention of the Designated Person by writing to:-

Monty Smedley
Designated Person (PMSC) Chichester
Quayside Suite, Edina Chambers
Town Quay
SO14 2AQ

023 8071 1892 or 023 8071 1889

4. Management of Recreational Events

a. Organisers of events that may impact normal harbour activities and all events that involve racing (except those covered by f.) must contact the Conservancy at an early opportunity prior to any event taking place. For most types of events a formal risk assessment will be required. The content of this assessment will need to be proportional to the event / activity.

b. The risk assessment and the safety management of a particular event will be the responsibility of the event organiser.

c. The event risk assessment should identify all risks concerned with the safe and efficient use of the harbour by all harbour users. Details of how the risk is to be controlled will be part of the assessment.

d. The formal risk assessment should be submitted not less than 4 weeks prior to the planned event to enable the Conservancy to comment and consult on the assessment. It is recommended that large events are consulted on in the autumn preceding the event to avoid clashes with other events.

e. The Conservancy will need to be satisfied that the risks to harbour safety have been effectively mitigated, before consenting to an event.

f. Racing events coordinated through Chichester Harbour Federation and run in accordance with their Race Code of Conduct will not be required to submit risk assessments to the Conservancy for routine events.

g. This notice is to be read in conjunction with document entitled – A Guide to Good Practice on Port Marine Operations (Section 8 Management of Navigation – Event Planning) DfT (last update 4 April 2018). Your attention is also drawn to the advice given in the preparation of risk assessments issued by the Royal Yachting Association (www.rya.org.uk)

5.  VHF Radio Communications

a. All vessels whilst underway within Chichester Harbour are advised to monitor Chichester Harbour Radio on VHF Channel 14. VHF transmissions on this channel should be kept short and relevant.
b. All vessels of 18m or more in length overall, and vessels not under command, restricted in their ability to manoeuvre, or towing a vessel or structure, over 12m in length, or the total length of the tow exceeds 20m are to give notice of their movements by reporting to ‘Chichester Harbour Radio’ on VHF Channel 14, giving the vessel’s name, length, position and intentions.

6. Towing

a. All vessels towing a vessel or structure, over 12m in length, or the total length of the tow exceeds 20m are to give notice of their movements.
b. If these tows are unusual objects or non-routine towage events the movements should be approved in advance by the Harbour Master.

7. Safe Use of Tenders

Chichester Harbour Conservancy recognises that persons using tenders are responsible for their own safety but it is concerned that some may be taking unnecessary risks. It is recommended that:

a. the tender is of suitable size and stability for the intended purpose.
b. all persons in tenders wear lifejackets;
c. tenders are not overloaded;
d. weather, sea and tidal conditions are properly assessed;
e. tenders carry a torch at night;
f. tenders carry a means of summoning assistance;
g. tenders are not used by persons under the influence of drink or drugs.

8.  Swimming

The harbour is not a designated bathing water area. Water is sampled on a regular basis and swimmers are encouraged to check the results (available on the Conservancy website) prior to swimming.

Chichester Harbour Conservancy is concerned that some swimmers expose themselves to unnecessary risk. Much of the Harbour is unsuitable for swimming and the parents of young swimmers, and swimmers themselves, are reminded of the following basic precautions: –

a. Never dive or jump into water of an unknown depth.
b. Never dive or jump from any structure.
c. Never swim near moving boats, boats running their engines or boats which may depart their moorings.
d. Never swim in the fairway or navigable channels.
e. Never swim in strong currents and/or tides; these are particularly strong near the harbour entrance.
f. Never swim after consuming alcohol or after a meal.
g. Beware of the cold; hypothermia can kill.
h. It is not advisable to swim alone.
i. Always tell someone on the shore where you are swimming and when you expect to return to the shore.

For further guidance see http://www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk

9.  Diving

a. All diving for favour or reward (i.e., “at work”) is subject to the Diving at Work Regulations 1997 (DWR 97) and the associated Approved Codes of Practice (ACOP). Diving at work may only be carried out by a diving contractor who has notified the Health and Safety Executive in compliance with the provisions in DWR 97 and dives may only be carried out in accordance with the legal requirements. Additionally, Chichester Harbour Conservancy requires that divers at work apply for prior consent from the Harbour Authority before undertaking a dive.
b. Chichester Harbour Conservancy strongly recommends that all diving (whether the diver is at work or not) should meet all of the above requirements.
c. Sport or recreational diving which does not meet the above requirements is not recommended because of strong tidal flows, the number of underwater obstructions and moorings, and the numerous vessel movements in the Harbour.

10. Kite Surfing – Chichester Harbour

It has been assessed that kite surfing is incompatible with the safety and enjoyment of the other 9,000 vessels which regularly use Chichester Harbour. Kite surfers are advised that they may be directed, under Sections 4 and 89 of the Chichester Harbour Conservancy Act 1971 and Section 52 of the Harbours Docks and Piers Clauses Act, to stop kite surfing within the limits of Chichester Harbour, by Officers of Chichester Harbour Conservancy.

11. Foiling Craft

Wind propelled foiling craft are permitted to use the harbour. Those in charge of these craft are requested to maintain sufficient sea room and avoid getting into close quarters situations by avoiding busy channels, anchorages, and mooring areas.

Electric Hydrofoil Boards are not permitted to be used in Chichester Harbour without the written permission of the Harbour Master.

12. Use of Hovercraft

The Chichester Harbour Conservancy Act 1971 prescribes that the open port duty detailed in section 33 of the Harbours, Docks and Piers Clauses Act 1847 does not apply to hovercraft in Chichester Harbour. Hovercraft are not permitted to be used in Chichester Harbour without the written permission of the Harbour Master.

13. Use of Kill Cords in Powered Craft

Following a fatal accident, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) issued a safety bulletin highlighting that kill cords are a safety feature to stop an engine when the driver moves away from the controls. They emphasise that it is essential that operators of vessels fitted with kill cords:

  1. Test them regularly to ensure that the engine stops when the kill cord mechanism is operated.
  1. Make sure that the cord is in good condition.
  2. Always attach the cord securely to the driver, ideally before the engine is started, but certainly before the boat is put in gear.
  3. Stop the engine before transferring the kill cord to another driver.

The full MAIB Safety Bulletin is available:


14. Lifejackets

Remember to take your lifejacket afloat and wear it. Use your lifejacket crotch strap, remember to check and service your lifejacket regularly. Lifejackets are useless unless worn.

15. Consumption of Alcohol

Don’t drink whilst in charge of a vessel. Alcohol is involved in about a third of all recreational boating fatalities.

16. Prohibited Anchoring

Anchoring is prohibited in or near mooring areas or in the vicinity of navigation and racing marks. Vessels are not to anchor in the centre of channels and are to exhibit a black ball or white light. Vessels are not to be left unmanned at anchor for periods of more than four hours (Byelaw No. 12).

Vessels should avoid anchoring in areas of seagrass due to prevent damage to this sensitive habitat.

17. Improper Use of Distress Signals
In the interests of safety the attention of all yachtsmen and other harbour users is drawn to Chichester Harbour Conservancy Byelaw No. 23. Persons wishing to organise firework displays etc. within the Harbour are advised to consult the Harbour Master.

18. Vessel Landed Waste Reception and Pollution

a. It is an offence for any vessel, including recreational vessels, regardless of size, to discharge any refuse overboard within specified distances from land, and in the case of plastics and other persistent rubbish, in any sea area surrounding the UK (International Convention for Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL 73/78)

b. Mariners are advised that reception facilities for vessel landed waste are located at, or close to, all mooring areas and marinas within Chichester Harbour. Chichester Harbour Conservancy administers a Port Waste Management Plan on behalf of all waste facility providers in the harbour and this document can be viewed at www.conservancy.co.uk. This document details the location and types of waste collection facilities including recycling, and vessel pump-out facilities. Any enquiries relating to waste facilities should be directed to the local mooring provider or to the Harbour Office. It is a serious offence to discharge waste at sea or into harbour waters.

c. All harbour users are requested to report all sightings of oil pollution immediately to Chichester Harbour Radio on VHF Channel 14 or by telephone on 01243 512301. At times when the Harbour Master’s Office is unmanned, reports should be made to Solent Coastguard on VHF Channel 16 or 67, or by telephone on 02392 552100.

19. Workboat Registration

The operators of workboats based in Chichester Harbour, whether working exclusively within Chichester Harbour, or licensed by the MCA or other body to operate outside the Harbour, are requested to register their vessels with the Harbour Master.

20. Chichester Bar

Chichester Bar is periodically dredged to achieve a depth of 1.5m below Chart Datum. Following severe gales depths may vary and it is then prudent to assume a least depth of 0.7m below Chart Datum. Details of the latest bathymetric survey are available from the Harbour Office or promulgated in LNTM’s at www.conservancy.co.uk.

With a falling tide and strong winds from a southerly sector a dangerous sea may be encountered. In these conditions it is advisable to exercise caution and cross the bar between three hours before and one hour after HW springs.

Capt. Jo Cox

Harbour Master

02 January 2024