Harbour Management Plan


A Generally

10.1 The Severn Estuary is an inherently dangerous place because of its extreme tidal regime and great care is required when navigating within the Gloucester Harbour.

10.2 Vessels should carry proper safety equipment (see Policy Rec 7).

10.3 The Harbour Master at Sharpness (01453 811862) or the Duty Pilot (07774 226143) can give advice to anyone who is new to navigating within the Gloucester Harbour.

B Speed of Vessels

10.4 The Gloucester Harbour Byelaws (No 12) prohibit vessels travelling at more than 12 knots through the water (6.6 metres per second) subject to the following exceptions:-

Any vessel navigating:

a) within the main navigation channel (as defined in the Byelaws) during the period of 3 hours either side of high water at Beachley;

b) exclusively by sail;

c) in the harbour while providing safety cover, responding to an emergency, engaged in rescue operations or engaged in training in connection with any of the above operations; or

d) in areas designated for water skiing;

e) as part of a rally, race, regatta or similar event, or military, naval or civil exercise being held with the specific permission of the Trustees.


GHT will take action to enforce Byelaw 12 in relation to any person whose vessel is not exempt under para 10.4 above and who flagrantly and persistently ignores the speed limit within the Gloucester Harbour.

C Water Skiing etc

10.5 Water skiing, aquaplaning, water biking and similar activities are permitted under the Gloucester Harbour Byelaws in the following areas:-

a) On the River Severn between Sharpness Point and the seaward boundary of the harbour as defined in the HRO 1988, and

b) On the River Wye between Chepstow Railway Bridge and Beachley Point.

10.6 In addition, water skiing (but not the other activities listed above) is permitted in the following areas:-

a) On the River Severn - between Stonebench and Longney Crib

b) On the River Wye - between Livox Quarry and a point north west of Chepstow Castle.

10.7 GHT in consultation with the British Water Ski Federation, the local water skiing clubs and the Statutory Environmental Agencies has prepared a Code of Practice which all water skiers should follow. Copies of the Code of Practice can be obtained from GHT's offices.


GHT will support water skiing within the areas designated for such purpose subject to compliance with the Code of Practice.


GHT will take action to enforce Byelaw 25 in relation to any person who flagrantly and persistently waterskies, aquplanes or water bikes in any area not designated for that purpose.

D Fishing

10.8 Fishing has traditionally taken place within the Gloucester Harbour from time


10.9 Fishing and fisheries now come under the jurisdiction of the Environment Agency.

10.10 Within the Gloucester Harbour there are still some fixed engines, some of which are still used by commercial fishermen and some of which are derelict.

10.11 In Spring elver fishing takes place using small nets on a rectangular frame fixed to a pole. Elvers were once a relatively cheap source of food but now attract high prices from abroad for stocking rivers and as a delicacy. Elver fishing is monitored by the Environment Agency.


GHT will encourage the owners of fixed engines to have them properly marked to avoid them being a danger to navigation.


GHT will encourage fishermen to wear highly visible clothing and to mark the areas in which they are fishing with buoys and/or flags.


GHT will co-operate with the Environment Agency in relation to their fisheries duties.

E Leisure Boating

10.12 This section covers sailing, boating, canoeing, rafting, etc.

10.13 As has been said in paragraph 1.9 the Severn Estuary is no place for the novice or inexperienced sailor or vessels which are not seaworthy.

10.14 That said, there are both sailing and motor boat clubs which regularly use the Gloucester Harbour for sport, recreation and leisure and whose members are well aware of the hazards of navigating in the Severn Estuary.

10.15 Sharpness Dock gives access to the Inland Waterways system via the Gloucester Sharpness Canal. Similarly, the River Avon gives access at the Bristol City Docks to the same system via the Kennet and Avon Navigation and the River Thames. Some narrow boats make the trip between Avonmouth and Sharpness and vice versa. This should only be undertaken when weather and sea conditions are favourable. Advice on undertaking such a passage can be obtained from GHT's Duty Pilot (07774 226143), GHT's Duty Harbour Master (01453 811862), or GHT's Marine Officer (01453 811913).

10.16 Canoeists use the River Wye and should either be experienced or have an experienced canoeist in charge. Properly organised canoe races are held on the River Wye.

10.17 An annual raft race and other organised events also take place on the River Wye.

10.18 The Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA) provides a rescue service in the Gloucester Harbour using rigid inflatable boats. This service is regularly called out emphasising the need to treat the Severn with respect.


GHT will support the use of the Gloucester Harbour for sport, recreation and leisure provided vessels:-

a) are suitable for the voyage to be undertaken

b) carry proper safety equipment including, as appropriate, life saving jackets, lifebuoys and line, distress flares, a Marine Band VHF radio or mobile phone, up to date charts and tide tables, pumping or bailing equipment, an anchor with chain or warp and navigation lights

c) are in the charge of a competent person with sufficient knowledge to ensure a safe passage within the Gloucester Harbour

d) comply with the Gloucester Harbour Byelaws and the General Directions issued by GHT

e) keep clear of commercial traffic in passage to or from Sharpness or other ports within the Gloucester Harbour

f) have regard for other users of the Gloucester Harbour.

g) have regard for the wildlife and natural habitats of the Gloucester Harbour


GHT will support SARA in its work.

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