Queensferry, like most harbours on the Forth, is tidal. An allowance of between 21/2 to 3 hours before and after HW can generally be made, depending on draft and tidal conditions. A visitor’s berth is available at the end of the north arm.
Imray chart C27 covers the Firth of Forth estuary from Dunbar/Fife Ness to Kincardine with useful larger scale charts of main harbours. Admiralty Chart no 736 covers Oxcars to Rosyth. Information on pilotage throughout the Forth can be obtained from Forth Yacht Clubs Association Handbook (www.fyca.org.uk).
As a rule HW at the bridges is around 20 minutes after HW at Leith. In this area tides can run at up to 4 knots and rip tides can develop when wind is against tide. It is best when proceeding upriver from below the Rail Bridge to stay to the south side keeping a safe depth, to take advantage of a back eddy in Queensferry bay.
The main shipping channel (north side of Oxcars to the north span of the Forth Rail Bridge to south side of Beamer rock) can be busy with vessels using Grangemouth docks and Rosyth. To the east of the Rail Bridge, on the south side, lies Hound Point oil terminal, which must be kept at a distance of 30m. There are similar restrictions at the terminal at Braefoot Bay on the north shore, opposite Inchcolm Island. Passage through Mortimer’s Deep is prohibited during tanker arrival/departure.
The speed limit for all vessels under 120m is 15 knots to the east of the Rail Bridge and 10 knots to the west. Apart from maintaining an awareness of ship movements, there is no restriction to sailing in the area around the bridges.
Hawes pier can be accessed except at the lowest tide, but the pier is busy with BP Hound Point ferry on the east side and sightseeing boats regularly alongside the west slip. It is also the launching pier for Queensferry RNLI. It is not advisable to remain alongside unattended.
Port Edgar Marina lies immediately west of the Forth Road Bridge on the south shore and is home to one of the largest sailing schools in Scotland. This major yacht harbour is available for long and short term berthing.
Access to the Forth and Clyde Canal is via the river Carron just to the west of Grangemouth docks.
Forth Coastguard VHF Ch 67
Port Edgar Marina office VHF Ch 80 or tel. 0131 331 3330.
Forth Pilots VHF Ch 71
Forth Radio VHF Ch 24