Mooring and berthing in the harbour
Bristol Harbour offers short term and long term berths for all types of vessels.
We’ve a waiting list for all types of vessel in all areas of Bristol Harbour but berths do occasionally become available.
See our Bristol Harbour map for berth locations.
The original boat safety certificate must accompany the application for a navigation and berthing licence. This is not applicable to canoes/manually propelled and dinghies.
Short term visitor berths
There are 50 visitors’ berths in the harbour and they’re supplied with water and electricity.
The Arnolfini pontoons have secure coded access.
For berthing costs see our navigation and berthing charges.
Only craft of up to 15m in length can moor in the Harbour Inlet.
Annual berths are allocated from a waiting list.
You must be allocated a mooring by us before you can occupy a berth other than the short-term visitor berths.
The licencing for an annual berth runs from 1 May to 30 April each year.
Size of craft and berthing
Large craft are berthed alongside the quay walls either singly or double-banked.
Smaller craft are berthed alongside pontoons and finger pontoons.
For operational reasons we may need to move craft to another mooring at any time.
For licencing reasons vessels are categorised according to their main use, for example, leisure, residential, commercial, and into berthing areas, depending on the location.
Berthing area: Class A
Description: West of Bristol Bridge
Berthing area: Class B
Description: East of Bristol Bridge
Berthing area: Hanover Quay
Description: Hanover Quay (map ref.18)
Berthing area: St Augustine’s Reach (West side)
Description: Bordeaux Quay to City Centre (map ref.21)
Berthing area: The Grove
Description: East of Prince Street Bridge (map ref.25)
Berthing area: Temple Back
Description: West of Temple Way Bridge (map ref.33)
Berthing area: Temple Quay
Description: East of Temple Way Bridge (map ref.34)
Some moorings may have to be vacated three or four times a year for major events such as regattas, festivals or visiting ships. Class ‘B’ areas aren’t as likely to be affected by this.
There are four disabled access landing stages: Baltic Wharf, Castle Park, St Augustine’s Reach and Temple Quay.
An adult must accompany anyone under 16 when on board vessels and pontoons.
Securing your vessel
Vessels moored alongside quay walls must be secured to bollards or mooring rings and put out fenders to the craft moored inside. The two craft should be secured together with diagonal springs to prevent the damaging each other.
Applying for an annual berth licence
Annual licensing starts on 1 May each year.
You can apply for an annual licence for long term berthing by completing the berthing application form.
Conditions of a licence application
To apply for an annual berth licence you must:
- provide evidence that your vessel meets the Boat Safety Scheme standards.
- supply a recent photograph of your vessel (taken within one month)
- insure your craft against third party risks and passenger liability to a minimum of £3,000,000 for any one claim
After your application has been submitted
Once we receive your completed application we will add your craft to the appropriate waiting list and will contact you once a berth has been found.
Licences for part of a year and refunds
Annual licences expire on 30 April, so the fee payable is reduced in stages during the course of the year.
If a licence is given up, a refund may be claimed up to a maximum of three-quarters of the annual amount payable, depending on the time left to run.
To apply for a refund fill in and return the application for a refund form (pdf, 12k) (opens new window) .
Change of ownership
Licences cannot be transferred without our consent. If you want to transfer a licence then contact the Harbour Master. Each transfer request will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
At present the waiting list for new berthing, applications for narrow boats, barges and wide beams are closed. This is because of the nfrequent movements of these types of boats.
The facilities provided range from fully serviced marina type pontoon berths for vessels up to 9.5 metres and linear quay wall berths for larger vessels.
To apply for a leisure mooring complete and return the leisure mooring application.
There is a limited number of winter berths available. These berths are made available to cruising live-aboard boaters for winter lay-up between 1 October and 31 March of the following year.
Demand is high for these berths so early application is essential.
To apply, complete and return the winter mooring application (pdf, 12k) (opens new window) .
If applications are unsuccessful applications vessels must leave the harbour on 1 April.
There’s a long waiting list for residential moorings which is currently closed.
The residential berths are currently fully allocated and rarely become available, and no other residential use of vessels is permitted.
To be placed on the waiting list you must complete and return the residential mooring application (pdf, 12k) (opens new window) .
We have two residential mooring areas:
- Welsh Back
- Wapping Wharf
Each area has planning consent and licenced individual moorings.
Waste must be removed from sewage holding tanks by mobile pump-out services by outside contractors.
No car parking spaces will be allocated on the quayside for residential mooring.
Residential Mooring Agreements may be granted on a lease of up to 25 years with break clauses and review provisions every 5 years. The charges include the facilities and services provided.
City docks mooring policy
For more information about mooring and berthing in the docks please read the City Docks mooring policy.