In common with all Solent harbours, Bembridge Harbour is tidal. A sand bar extends between buoys 1, 2, 2a and 3 at the start of the main outer Entrance Channel as you approach from seaward. The outer Harbour limit is marked by a "Tide Gauge" post (topmark X Fl. Y2s) situated NW of St Helens Fort, marked with height measurements which were upgraded and reinstated in June 2019 (removed during Winter months). There is also an electronic live- feed tide height gauge, showing the depth of water over the bar, displayed on the Harbour website and updated every 60 seconds.
On spring/medium tides, 1.5m draft vessels can enter approximately 3 hours +/- HW. On neaps with a HW height of less than 4m at Portsmouth, the channel depth sometimes does not exceed 2.2m. On spring tides the depth in the channel can exceed 3.5m.
From the Tide Gauge post a course of approximately 240O brings you to the start of the buoyed channel. Vessels MUST stay within the channel at all times.
No 1 and 2 buoys are lit, with all other channel marker buoys marked with reflective numbers and tape.
Low level, amber flashing beacon lights, activated by dusk/poor light conditions, are attached to the Duver main pontoon and Finger pontoons, the mid-Harbour pontoons, Fisherman’s pontoon and at North Quay at Bembridge Marina. These beacons are an additional aid to safe navigation.
The recommended maximum speed of 6 knots should be observed within the entrance channel and Harbour at all times. Please do not proceed in such a manner as to cause damage or annoyance to other vessels, especially excessive wash. Anchoring is not permitted in the entrance channel.
Our Navigation Guide gives a pictorial guide of the entrance channel and passage into the Harbour and can be downloaded & printed off and there is also a Harbour Map as a point of reference.