The channels are all well buoyed and marked but visitors must be aware that Chichester Harbour is very tidal and without local knowledge, must resist the temptation to drift outside these marked channels. They should respect the speed limit of 8 knots.
If possible, aim to arrive at the West Pole Beacon with a fair tide or at slack water. The Bar is periodically dredged to maintain a minimum depth of 1.5m below chart datum, although this may be less after severe gales.
From the west, leave West Pole Beacon to port, leave the Bar Beacon close to port and then pass between Eastoke Buoy and West Winner. At this point, boats heading towards East Head, Itchenor or Bosham may well be tempted to head across the Winner and what appears to be deep water. Don’t do it! Many boats have come to grief here. Keep heading north until Hayling Island Sailing Club is abeam and then turn to the east and follow the buoyed channel.
If approaching from the east, sailors are advised not to cross the 5m contour until the West Pole Beacon bears 310¡T.
In strong onshore winds with an ebb tide, which can run at over 6 knots, it is best to avoid the entrance and in any strong winds, sailors should proceed with great caution.
Once inside, everything calms down. The tidal streams still run fast but there is normally flat water and a veritable delight of places and landmarks to see and visit.
THE LOCA L PILOT
chichester Marina has a wide range of access, with a waiting pontoon if you miss the lock