There are two big issues with the Bristol Channel, and that’s Commercial Shipping and the range and flow of tide. Under normal conditions, for a vessel 1.5m draft, the lock will give access ±3.5 hours HW. It is essential that vessels arrive within this tidal window as there are no holding facilities outside the marina entrance.
Due to the busy ports of Avonmouth and Portbury, there is a busy shipping Lane called the ‘King Road’ that shadows the southern coast line of the Bristol Channel. Yachts and small craft are therefore asked to keep inshore or offshore of the King Road. Yachts making for the Portishead Quays from anywhere along the southern shores of the Bristol Channel should use the inshore route of the King Road and yachts arriving from the Welsh Coast, the North or the Irish Coast should approach using the offshore route, first making for the SCM Denny Shoal, VQ(6)+LFl.10s and then cross the King Road at right angles at this point passing between the pair of SHBs, Firely, Fl(2)G and OUter, FlG.5s to enter the Portishead Pool or Waiting Area. When navigating the Bristol Channel, all vessels should listen on VHF Ch 12, callsign ‘Bristol VTS’ for reports on all traffic movements. Once inside the Waiting Area call the marina on VHF Ch80 call sign "Portishead Quays Marina" for advise on the next available lock.
The marina is approached from the NW, the entrance of which is marked by a green isophase light at the end of a pier. The lights and procedures for the locks are:
RED RED RED (vert): vessels shall not proceed and are requested to keep clear of the lock gates.
GREEN WHITE GREEN (vert): vessels may proceed on instruction from Marina Control.
Visitors are asked to book outward bound locks, and you can do this up to one week in advance. Outward bound locks will run on the hour and half past the hour with hourly intervals at the beginning and end of the tide. Inbound locks will run quarter to and quarter past the hour with hourly intervals at the beginning and end of the tide.