Newhaven Harbour Port Control, callsign “Newhaven Radio”, is situated at the southern extremity of East Quay. They are contactable 24 hrs a day on VHF ch.12 and on Tel: 01273 612926.    They operate as a Local Port Service, providing factual information and have the Harbour Master’s authority to direct vessels as circumstances dictate.

The port operates an IALA Traffic Light system to regulate traffic. The lights are situated at the West Pier. Mariners should familiarise themselves with these signals. Click here for a link to more information.

The Outer Harbour

The West Breakwater is 705m in length and provides good protection from the prevailing SW’ly winds.

The lighthouse at the end of the breakwater has characteristics Iso W 4s 17m 12M and is painted white with a red base. On the seaward side is sign written “Port of Newhaven, VHF Ch.12”. The lighthouse light characteristic was changed in January 2023 due to the previous longer light characteristic becoming obscured by background lighting. 

The East Pier is 320m in length and is lattice constructed and so gives little protection from the wind but does prevent the invasion of silt into the channel.

The East Pier Light has characteristics Q Fl G 12m 5M and is a white pole with green horizontal bands.

The Inner Harbour

The width of the inner harbour varies between 69m and 149m. The Inner Harbour channel is also dredged to 6m.

On the West side is a large Marina with 285 berths, managed by Marina Projects Ltd.

On the East side is Rampion Quay with 125m of pontoons, East Quay Commercial Terminal with 195m of berth frontage, dredged to 5m, and No.1 RoRo berth with a length of 187m, dredged to 6m.

North of No.1 RoRo the channel width reduces from between 50m to 90m.

No.2 RoRo berth is 125m in length and is no longer in use as a ferry berth. It is used at the moment as a lay-up berth and the depth is approx 4.5m after dredging.

North of here and up to the Swing Bridge, the depths are approx at chart datum (0m). On the West side are stages for the lifeboat and fishing fleet. On the East side is the old Railway Quay with underwater hazards of sheet piling and remnants of an old gridiron. Steel pile beacons are spaced at 30m intervals and mark the eastern boundary of the navigable channel.

The Swing Bridge channel is 17.3m between the timbers and leads to North Quay Channel, which is approx 38m wide and a depth on average of 1.5m below datum. Clearance under swing bridge is 8.10m – Gauge Reading.

On the East side of North Quay are four commercial aggregate and scrap berths (2 are in use and 2 are derelict) and on the West side is Denton island and the approaches to the Old Arm of the river, where leisure boat moorings are provided by various boatyards on drying berths. The Old Arm approaches to the moorings dries at 4m above chart datum.

North of No.4 berth and Denton Island is the swinging basin which allows vessels up to 90m to swing depending on the height of tide.
North of here is No.5 berth which can take 82m vessels, although it has not been used since 2005 and would require dredging to reinstate.

Maximum tidal range at Newhaven is -0.3m to 7.3m.

Spring tidal range is 0.5m to 6.6m.
Neap tidal range is 1.9m to 5.2m.

Speed Limits in the Harbour: South of West Pier = 8 knots
North of West Pier = 5 knots.

Other Information

The Commercial shipping anchorage area is 1 to 1.5 miles SW of the Breakwater Light.

Good shelter may be found in Seaford Bay during strong winds from the N and NE,.

An automatic recording tide gauge is situated at East Pier giving tidal readings related to Chart Datum which is 3.52 metres below Ordnance Datum Newlyn. This information relayed to Port Control at the southern end of East Quay by remote link where it is displayed and recorded. Data is also automatically collected by the National Oceanographic Centre.

Wind speed and direction information obtained from the Breakwater, the Narrows, the south end of ferry berth and at the Linkspan can be accessed by Port Control.

Maximum LOA of vessels allowed with no tug assistance and depending on vessel manoeuvring characteristics and weather / tidal conditions

East Quay
No.1 RoRo
No.2 RoRo
North Quay No.1
North Quay No.2
North Quay No.3
North Quay No.4
North Quay No.5

Maximum drafts of vessels to swing at North Quay

Vessels of 65m
Vessels of 70m
Vessels of 75m
Vessels of 80m
Vessels of 85m
Vessels of 90m

Gauge reading minus 1.3m
Gauge reading minus 1.7m
Gauge reading minus 2.1m
Gauge reading minus 2.3m
Gauge reading minus 2.4m
Gauge reading minus 2.7m

Navigational Aids within the Harbour

Breakwater Light 
East Pier (outer end) 
East Pier (Inner End) 
East Pier (East Quay remnant) 
West Pier (Traffic Signals) 
West Pier Timber Fendering 
West Pier (North End in railway box) 
Marina (Jetty Heads x 3) 
Fishmarket Corner by No.1 linkspan 
No.2 Ro-Ro Pontoon SW 
No.2 Ro-Ro Pontoon NW 
Railway Quay Beacon 1
Railway Quay Beacon 3
Railway Quay Beacon 5
Railway Quay Beacon 7
Railway Quay Beacon 9
Railway Quay Beacon 11
Railway Quay Beacon 13 
Swing Bridge 
Swing Bridge operational signals 
Swing bridge wooden fendering
Q Fl G 12m 5M
IALA Port Traffic Signals
2FR(vert) at each end
Fl.R 5s
Starboard Hand Green Topmark
Starboard Hand Green Topmark
Starboard Hand Green Topmark
Starboard Hand Green Topmark and Light Fl.G.5s
Starboard Hand Green Topmark and Light Fl.G.5s
Starboard Hand Green Topmark and Light Fl.G.5s
Starboard Hand Green Topmark
Fixed red in centre
IALA traffic signal lights
FB light at both ends of both east and west sides

General Information for Users of Newhaven Harbour

Newhaven Port has a regular Car Ferry service to Dieppe; in addition there is frequent cargo ship activity at East Quay and regular cargo ship movements to the North Quay, because of this, all Masters and owners/users of vessels are required to take note of the following:

Port Signals and VHF Radio:

Vessel movement within the Newhaven Harbour limits is controlled by Newhaven Port Authority – call sign “Newhaven Radio” on VHF channel 12. Entry to, and exit of, Newhaven Harbour is controlled by a system of signal lights located at the West Pier corner, opposite Newhaven Marina, No2 Ro Ro Pontoon and at the southern side of the A259 Swingbridge. These entry and exit signals must be obeyed by all vessels and craft, irrespective of size and without exception. A laminated reference card detailing all the signals is available free of charge on request from the Port Authority and all Marina’s. Fishing boats, small vessels and yachts in particular, are advised to check with Newhaven Radio that it is clear to proceed to sea, prior to leaving any berth, mooring or slipway.

Commercial Vessels - (Ferry, Cargo, Tugs, Dredgers, Survey/Supply, Workboats, Large MFV's)

Vessels of this type must be given the right of way in Newhaven Harbour and its limits. Small vessels and yachts in particular must not impede or attempt to pass any commercial vessel that is under way or manoeuvring in Newhaven Harbour. At time of the Car Ferry arrival and departure there is a serious danger to users of yachts and smaller craft who choose to ignore the Newhaven Harbour Bye-Laws, signals and associated notices. Small craft navigating further upstream on the River Ouse are advised to familiarise themselves with the Port Authority and East Sussex County Council requirements for safe passage through the Newhaven Swingbridge at or around times of high water. Vessels on East Quay must not shift ship (whatever the distance) without permission and Port Authority linesmen must be in attendance.

Speed Limit:

A speed restriction of 8 knots is in force from the Breakwater end to the West Pier corner. In the Harbour area north of the West Pier corner and the River Ouse beyond, the speed restriction is a maximum of 5 knots. These restrictions are in place primarily to prevent damage to the river bank and small vessel moorings, but more importantly, for the safety of all Harbour users.

General Matters:

Masters and others in charge of vessels are requested to report to Newhaven Radio on VHF channel 12 the location/position of any floating objects/debris seen in or around the Harbour area, which may constitute a danger to safe navigation. Instances of Oil Pollution must be reported immediately.

Crew members and pedestrian visitors walking around the East Quay area of Newhaven Port are advised to be aware of moving plant, vehicles and forklift trucks. Site Rules are displayed at Port entrances.

Crew members and others are also advised of the requirement to wear lifejackets when near the quay edges of Newhaven Port. A yellow line painted on the quayside indicates the area where the wearing of lifejackets is compulsory.

The Port Authority has its own Hydrographic Survey department and undertakes surveys throughout the year. The results are promulgated to all the most essential stakeholders. Others wishing to view the latest survey can do so by contacting Port Control as below.

The Port Authority has procedures in place and so must be informed and permission given before any of the following operations take place within the Harbour:-

Bunkering, sludge discharge, fresh-watering, diving, hotwork, shifting, emergency drills, immobilisation, shifting ship, landing of waste, cranework, any quayside activities, overside maintenance.

The Pilot Vessel Pelorus is available for Deep Sea Pilot Transfer, crew changes or transfer of small stores items. Rates as per Port & Pilotage Rates advertised on this website.

The above information is contained within the Master's General Warning and Information Form, which is downloadable in pdf version HERE

Port Authority Telephone Numbers 01273 612926/612900.

Newhaven Radio VHF Ch.12


nat maritime

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