Hornet News

Portsmouth Harbour Approaches - Small Boat Channel

For the Attention of all Boat Owners

Small Boat Channel

In the last couple of weeks it has become apparent to QHM Portsmouth that many sailors seem to be unaware of the mandatory regulations governing the use of the Small Boat Channel (SBC). This has led to some potentially dangerous incidents. In summary:

* All craft under 20m LOA must use the SBC for entry and departure.

* You must use your engine (even if the sails are hoisted) when in the SBC.

* When leaving the harbour you should leave BC Outer pile to starboard unless you are using the Inner Swashway when it should be left to port.

* No4 Bar buoy must be left close to PORT, both inbound and outbound.

* You may join or leave the SBC at any point on its western side, but to or from the east you must join or leave it at its northern or southern extremity (Ballast Beacon and No4 Bar buoy, respectively).

* When entering the harbour via the Inner Swashway, you must leave BC Outer to port.

NB The 4th bullet point above (leaving No4 Bar buoy to port) seems to be the least understood with many outbound boats leaving it to starboard thus creating confusion and possible danger to inbound craft.

If you ignore any of these rules, QHM has the option of taking you to court!

More generally:

* Beware of the very strong easterly set immediately south of Fort Blockhouse which can push you rapidly into the Main Approach Channel.

* Take particular care when rounding BC Outer to join the SBC inbound from the Inner Swashway. Treat the Inner Swashway as a slip road onto a motorway!

QHM has particularly asked that HSSC yachts set a good example to others who may be unaware of the rules.

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