Above Dock Head, which is easily identified by large silos, Southampton Water divides into the River Test and the River Itchen and there is a speed limit of 6 knots in both rivers.
Southampton is a busy commercial port with many large tankers, container ships, ferries and cruise ships arriving and departing at all times. Skippers of pleasure craft should monitor Southampton VTS on VHF Channel 12 for shipping movements when in or near Southampton Water.
The main channel is narrow between Fawley Marine Terminal on the west side and the BP Jetty on the east side so be prepared to keep clear of large tankers manoeuvring in this area. See www.southamptonvts.co.uk.
The main channels are well marked and pleasure craft should keep just outside the buoyed lit fairway.
When crossing the main channel, do so at 90° at the recommended crossing points abeam Fawley chimney, at Cadland and Greenland buoys, abeam Hythe and abeam Town Quay.
Beware of several large, unlit mooring buoys off Hythe on both sides of the main channel.
Pleasure craft skippers should be aware there is an extensive container port in the River Test and also high speed and vehicle ferry terminals at Town Quay.
Care is also necessary in the River Itchen, especially at night, as above the Itchen Bridge the channel bends sharply to port and favours the west bank. There are also unlit moorings in the centre of the river. Navigation above Northam Bridge is not advised.
Please Note: Navigation and pilotage notes are provided for general information only and it is essential to use an up to date chart and pilot book for navigation purposes
and Approaches (Small Craft Chart Folio)
2036 The Solent and Southampton Water
2038 Southampton Water and Approaches
2041 Port of Southampton
Tidal predictions for Southampton for the next 7 days