Sailing Directions


The following directions are intended as a helpful description of your journey up river. They do not relieve masters and skippers of vessels of their obligation to conduct their own navigation and safe pilotage plans within harbour limits.

In the entrance, the stream ebb or flow seldom exceeds 2 knots except after heavy rainfall or strong northerly winds when, on the ebb tide, this can run up to 3.5 knots.

At spring tides, the river almost dries out for two miles below Totnes at low water, but vessels drawing not more than 0.9m (3 feet) can proceed to Totnes 1.5 hours after low water.

The tidal stream 1.5 miles outside the entrance runs N.E. from 2 hours before to 4 hours after high water at Dartmouth and S.W. from 2 hours before to 4 hours after low water at Dartmouth.

To make the best use of this guide, reference should be made to Admiralty Chart No 2253 (Edition No. 6. 13/12/2012) or a suitably detailed and up to date equivalent.

Most Harbour Authority mooring buoys are blue. Those designated for visitors are marked with a black “V”. Visitors’ pontoons and visitors’ dinghy moorings are marked with blue flags. There are no formal visitors’ landing points south of the Lower Ferry. 


Keep a good look out for the two lower car ferries that ply between Kingswear and Dartmouth – they comprise a tug and vehicle-carrying float that is towed alongside the tug. They are restricted in their ability to manoeuvre and exhibit appropriate shapes/lights. The wire guided Higher Ferry that crosses the river just below Dart Marina exhibits the same shapes/lights. Beware of submerged wires in the vicinity of this ferry. See also Notice to Mariners for information on speed limits, diving and other information.