Index River Severn Sharpness Canal Severn Estuary Bristol Channel Tides Skipper's Reference Ports of Call Canal Boats Severn Links

  Severn boating  

 Skipper's Reference Books 

sailing booksAlthough there is increasing use of satellite navigation, chart plotters and other electronic aids, the prudent Skipper will have books, charts and tidal information ready to hand in the cockpit or wheelhouse.

They are invaluable for cruise planning and may prove vital should the gps go down or the electrics fail.

 Books & Maps 

The 'Bristol Channel and Severn Cruising Guide'  by P Cumberlidge (published by Imray Laurie Norie and Wilson) is the classic cruising guide to the Bristol Channel and the coast of north Devon and Cornwall.

'Nicholson's Ordnance Survey Guide to the Waterways'  is a definitive source of maps and information for the river and canal system. Volume 2 includes the inland River Severn and Sharpness Canal.

The 'Lundy Fastnet & Irish Sea Pilot'  by David Taylor (published by Imray Laurie Norie and Wilson) covers the Bristol Channel and adjacent ports in England and Wales.

A wealth of local navigational knowledge is contained in the 'Blue Book'  published by the Bristol Channel Yachting Association and on the web sites (see Bristol Channel ) of local yacht clubs.


The standard marine charts for the United Kingdom are produced by the Hydrographic Office for the Admiralty.

For passage planning, the Small Craft Series is recommended with Chart 1179 being relevant to the Bristol Channel.  This should be supplemented by other larger scale charts for the areas in which you intend to cruise.

Chart 1179 does not cover the estuary and river above Avonmouth and for this tricky area Chart 1166 (Avonmouth to Sharpness) should be regarded as essential.

Do not forget to update your charts with information available in 'Notices to Mariners'. These are often summarised in the monthly boating magazines or can be obtained online (see below).

 Tide Tables 

With the second highest tidal range in the world, daily tidal information is essential for safe passage in the River Severn, Estuary and Bristol Channel.  Tidal currents may be strong and many ports are only accessible around high tide.

On a daily basis, tide times can be obtained from a variety of sources including newspapers but for extended cruises a Nautical Almanac or book of tide tables is essential. Local tide tables can often be obtained from coastal bookshops or fishing tackle suppliers.

Milford Haven (Wales) and Avonmouth are standard ports

For planning purposes, these are approximate mean time differences on high water Avonmouth

Ilfracombe (- 1 hr 20 m)......Minehead (- 0 hr 45 m)......Watchet (- 0 hr 40 m)......Swansea (- 0 hr 51 m)......Barry (- 0 hr 22 m)......Cardiff (- 0 hr 16 m)......Old Severn bridge (+ 0 hr 10 m)......Sharpness (+ 0 hr 40m)

But you will need daily up to date tide times if you venture into the Bristol Channel.

For online sources to charts and local tides see under 'Nautical Matters' in Severn boating links


Some useful conversions and boating formulas are given here.

Index River Severn Sharpness Canal Severn Estuary Bristol Channel Tides Skipper's Reference Ports of Call Canal Boats Severn Links

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Disclaimer: Severn-boating accepts no responsibity for the availability, usage or accurary of the information given on this page or in any book or chart.