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Passage Planning Guide

Weather And Local Knowledge Always check weather conditions before leaving the harbour.
Pre Planning For long voyages please notify the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, for shorter trips it is advisable to let a friend or relative know what you are doing and when you expect to return. Download an example passage planning document.
Lifejackets And Lifesaving Equipment (Including Flares) The importance of routinely wearing both appropriate and suitably tested lifejackets cannot be overstated. Similarly, the carriage of distress flares and portable buoyancy equipment will ensure that assistance to the vessel or those overboard is rendered without delay.
Safe Speed Observance of harbour speed limits and maintenance of a safe speed appropriate to conditions will reduce the risk of an accident and the extent of damage or injury. An important factor in assessing appropriate speed is the effect of wake on other harbour users.
VHF Radio Emergency assistance is immediately available through the Coastguard via VHF Channel 16. To facilitate an early response in an emergency, vessels without fixed radio installations are recommended to carry portable VHF sets. It is absolutely essential that a good lookout is kept at all times when underway. A vigilant watch will reduce the risk of conflict with other vessels and ensure that assistance is rendered to vessels in difficulty without delay.
Gunnery Range HM Forces train on the Lulworth Ranges and much of this training involves the firing of weapons. During firing periods for your own safety avoid sea danger areas. Exact details of firing programmes are available from the Range Officer on Tel: +44 (0) 1929 462721 ext. 4700/4859/4819. Army range control listen on VHF channel 8 and during firing, Range Safety Boats, listen on VHF channel 16 and 6. Please see the 2017 Lulworth Range Information to Mariners for more information.
The Portland Race The Portland Race, the waters off Portland Bill (approximately 7 sea miles from Weymouth Harbour mouth), can be treacherous and should be avoided, particularly during spring tides. With careful planning however, the tidal flow can be of great benefit when running to the west. To make the best possible passage, it is suggested craft are at Portland Bill four hours after high water Portland/half an hour before high water Dover.
NATIONAL COASTWATCH @ PORTLAND BILL The National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) Portland Bill station is situated at an elevation of 50 metres above sea level, approximately 500 metres north of the Portland Bill Lighthouse.  For further information, including summer/winter opening hours, visit the National Coastwatch website.