Sailing Portsmouth and The Solent

Sailing and boating in Portsmouth and the Solent

Embark on a Sailing Adventure in Portsmouth, the gateway to The Solent, one of the World's Premier Sailing Destinations! Nestled alongside the famous Solent waters, Portsmouth offers an unmatched sailing experience, making it the ultimate haven for both beginners and seasoned sailors. Explore the thrill of the open sea, indulge in exhilarating water sports, and immerse yourself in the vibrant maritime culture.

Set against the picturesque backdrop of The Solent, Portsmouth boasts proximity to the renowned Isle of Wight, creating a sheltered paradise for inshore sailing, windsurfing, kite surfing, canoeing, and leisurely cruising. Discover the perfect blend of excitement and tranquility on these inshore waters.

Every year, the Isle of Wight becomes the epicentre of sailing excitement, hosting the prestigious Cowes Week sailing event in August and the exhilarating Round the Island Race in July. These events showcase the region's rich maritime heritage and provide thrilling spectacles for sailing enthusiasts.

In Portsmouth, sailing isn't just a pastime; it's a passion woven into the city's fabric. Home to the esteemed Ben Ainslie Racing and the British America's Cup INEOS Team UK, Portsmouth takes pride in its affiliation with the prestigious America's Cup sailing event.

For more detailed information on Portsmouth's vibrant sailing community, premier Sailing Clubs, and well equipped Marinas, click on the following links: Portsmouth Sailing Clubs and Portsmouth Marinas. Seize the opportunity to navigate the seas, experience the thrill of the wind in your sails, and create unforgettable memories in Portsmouth, where sailing dreams set sail.

Portsmouth Harbour

To the west of Portsmouth is Portsmouth Harbour, this is a roughly triangular natural harbour, each of the three sides is approximately two and a half miles long. Portsmouth Harbour is home to Portsmouth Naval Base, Portsmouth International Port and a commercial dock and is therefore very busy with maritime traffic. Vessels over 20m in length have to enter and leave Portsmouth Harbour in the main channel, and must have permission from the Queen's Harbour Master (QHM). QHM controls shipping on VHF Ch11.
Vessels over 48m in length must have a pilot boat to enter and leave Portsmouth Harbour.

The Solent

Yacht sailing in The Solent just off Southsea Seafront at Portsmouth

The Solent is 15 miles long and varies in width between 21 to 3 miles due to the undulating shape of its opposing coasts.

Within the Solent, strong currents flow through the Hurst Narrows (1.8 metres per second on spring tides) at the western entrance to the Solent (Velegrakis 1994).

However, at the entrances to Portsmouth Harbour, Langstone Harbour and Chichester Harbours, surface currents may reach in excess of 3 metres per second on a full spring ebb (Admiralty Chart 3418).

Langstone Harbour

To the east of Portsmouth is Langstone Harbour, at high tide, water covers about 1900 hectares but at low tide only about 200 hectares are under water. Langstone Harbour has a number of mooring areas providing both deep water and dry moorings for several hundred boats. A small fleet of commercial fishing vessels operate from the harbour and there are some commercial shipping movements to and from the two commercial aggregate wharfs.

Useful Marine Contacts

Portsmouth lifeboat operating in The Solent off of Southsea

Solent Coastguard Maritime Rescue

If at sea call on VHF channel 16 or depress the RED distress button on your DSC controller.
For routine traffic and other information Telephone: 02392 552100 or call on VHF 67.
Digital Selective Calling MMSI 002320011.

Portsmouth Lifeboat Station

Address: Ferry Road, Southsea, Hampshire, PO4 9LY
Telephone: 02392 814811

Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service (GAFIRS)

Independent Lifeboat based in Gosport on call 24 / 365 area of coverage is from Hillhead Harbour to South Parade Pier, including all of Portsmouth Harbour.
Address: GAFIRS, Military Road, Stokes Bay, Gosport, Hants, PO12 2TR.
Telephone: 02392 584017 (HQ - Operational Calls)
Telephone: 02392 988016 (HQ - General Calls)
Website: GAFIRS
In an Emergency - Contact the Coastguard using 999

Langstone Harbour

Langstone Harbour Board, Ferry Road, Hayling Island, Hampshire, PO11 0DG
Tel: 02392 463419
VHF Ch12 and 16 (Working hours)

Queen's Harbour Master, Portsmouth

Address: Semaphore Tower, HM Naval Base, Portsmouth, PO1 3LT
Telephone: 02392 723694
Customs: If you are arriving or departing from any country outside the EU or the Channel Islands, you must complete the Customs form C1331.
HM Customs Portsmouth Telephone: 02392 852148