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Mooring and berthing in the harbour

Mooring and berthing in Bristol Harbour

How to apply for short, long term and winter berths in Bristol Harbour.

Harbour Licence customer survey 2019.

If you're renewing your mooring, navigation or berthing licence please complete our online Harbour Licence customer survey.

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.

Leisure berths

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 and with a draft of 1.5m or less can moor in the Harbour Inlet.

This inlet is the area opposite the SS Great Britain (pdf, 58KB) (opens new window)

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.

Berth areas

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.

Disabled access

There are four disabled access landing stages: Baltic Wharf, Castle Park, St Augustine’s Reach and Temple Quay.

Under 16's

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 a renewal of annual leisure berth licence

Annual licensing starts on 1 May each year.  These are leisure berths only and not for residential use.

Conditions of a renewal of licence application

To renew an annual leisure berth licence you must:

  • provide evidence that your vessel meets the Boat Safety Scheme standards.
  • provide copies of 2 recent utility bills
  • 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

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, 12KB) (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.

Annual Leisure Moorings

At present the waiting list for new berthing applications is closed. This is because of the infrequent movements of boats within the Harbour.

Winter moorings

Unfortunately, this year we’re unable to offer winter moorings to anyone.

We need to do essential maintenance and upgrade work to the facilities for our permanent moorer. Our visiting pontoons will be used to relocate vessels while maintenance work is carried out.

Our notice to mariners will be updated in due course for winter moorings 2021/2022.

Residential moorings

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, 12KB) (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.