Navigation at Scarborough Harbour

Berthing areas, entering the harbour, procedures, pilotage.

Important information

Local Notice to Mariners

VHF operating channel 12.
Listening watch maintained on channels 12 and 16.

Scarborough Harbour is located on the northeast coast in the shadow of Scarborough Castle and adjacent to the excellent South Bay beach.

The leisure berths in the outer harbour dry out at low tide. Vessels are expected to proceed at a slow speed within the harbour. Some areas within the harbour have restricted berthing for specific types of vessels.

Weather charts are posted at the lighthouse and port control or available from links on the BBC's 'Coast and Sea' Weather Centre.

Other than fishing vessels, pilotage is compulsory for all vessels over 37 metres total length.

The limits of Scarborough Harbour are northwards of a line from the extremity of the East Pier to the outer extremity of the West Pier.

The harbour authority has the power to order the navigation of vessels within 250 metres of the East Pier.


Graphic of Scarborough harbour for navigational use


If all harbour users apply the following examples of good and proper practice, then the existing safe situation should be preserved within the harbour.

It was agreed that the main area of concern regarding possible interaction between vessels is approaching and leaving the harbour entrances and the area surrounding the inner harbour pontoons.

It is agreed that craft leaving the harbour should give way to craft entering.

It is agreed that vessels equipped with VHF should maintain a listening watch on Channel 12, the harbour working channel in order that advice can be given by the harbour watch keepers and call when approaching or leaving the harbour to ascertain vessel movements prior to entry or departure.

All vessels should proceed at a moderate safe speed. This will be set by Byelaw at 5 knots. The skippers of all craft should be aware that they are responsible for the wake caused by the passage of their vessel and should proceed at such a speed so as to minimise any effects to other vessels operating within the harbour limits or to vessels moored alongside. A sign is erected at the entrance to the harbour to direct the skippers of vessels accordingly.

The practice of yachtsmen leaving the helm to adjust or set sail whilst still close to the harbour entrance was discussed. It is felt that this practice is imprudent whilst within the confines of the entrance and skippers should ensure that their craft are well clear of any traffic entering or leaving the harbour prior to carrying out this activity, no vessel shall operate under sail power alone within harbour limits, unless it is its sole means of propulsion.

The dangers of craft exiting the outer harbour underneath the Vincent Pier bridge were discussed, and it was felt that good practice would be for all vessels exiting/entering the outer / East harbour to use the East pier entrance when accessible during March to November to help ease the potential risk at peak times around the main entrance to the harbour.

Safe operating information is available to all day launched craft on safety notices distributed by harbour staff. 

Call sign “Scarborough LPS” can be contacted on Channel 12 VHF, the port working channel, in order to obtain information on tidal heights, weather conditions, the availability of berths and the movements of other vessels within the harbour. Any instructions which may be given by the watchkeeper must be observed.

The international regulations for the prevention of collision at sea apply within Scarborough Harbour and the operators of all vessels are expected to have a thorough knowledge of them.

It is expected that new Byelaws will shortly be introduced to assist in the safe management of Scarborough Harbour.

Berth areas


The berth areas available in Scarborough are:

Scarborough Fish Quay

This is situated adjacent to the West Pier on the west side of the inner harbour and is reserved for the use of fishing vessels landing fishery products. Other craft may use the quay by special permission of the Harbour Master.

North Wharf

This is situated on the north side of the inner harbour and is reserved for fishing vessels and commercial/passenger craft only. Privately-owned craft are not allowed to berth in this area except by special arrangement.

Lancaster Flats

This is situated on the east side of the inner harbour and dries out each low water. Berths in this area are reserved for small commercial vessels.

Inner Harbour Pontoons

Newly provided floating pontoon moorings are located in the inner harbour and are fully serviced with electricity and water. Berths are available in 8, 10 and 12 metres.

Vincent Pier – Inner Harbour

This is reserved for large commercial/passenger craft and vessels wishing to access the grid.

Vincent Pier – Outer Harbour

This area dries out each low water. Berths are reserved for private craft and are allocated by the Harbour Office.

Outer Harbour Jetty

This is a wooden jetty leading from and running adjacent to the Vincent Pier in the outer harbour.

Outer Harbour Flats

This area covers the expanse between the Vincent Pier and the East Pier and dries out each low water. Berths are reserved for private craft and are allocated by the Harbour Office. Moorings are provided by vessel owners.

Outer Harbour – Speedboat Moorings

These are located in the outer harbour in the most northern area. These are chain moorings reserved for private speedboats and are allocated by the Harbour Office.

Outer Harbour Pontoon Berths

These are situated in the southwest corner of the Harbour below the lighthouse. Berths are reserved for permanent private craft and are allocated by the Harbour Office.

Visitors' berths


A limited number of berths are available for visiting private craft on the Inner Harbour and Outer Harbour pontoon moorings.

Drying alongside

A small number of berths are available for visiting private craft and are situated in the outer harbour just north of the drawbridge.

Vessels over 37m LOA

Any vessel wishing to enter the harbour over 37 metres overall length is required to contact the Harbour Office at least 24 hrs prior to arrival.

Vessel limits

Vessels can normally be handled to the following limits but these may be extended under special circumstances.

Please discuss your requirements with the Borough Harbour Master.

  • L.O.A.: 55m
  • Beam: 15 metres
  • Draft: 4.5m, subject to tide