When planning a visit to either enclosed harbour in Tor Bay, it’s always advisable to radio ahead on vhf channel 14 to check availability of visitor berthing, especially during busy weekends in the summer season or during large maritime events.
You’ll find useful information about Tor Bay Harbour and the approaches to the three enclosed harbours of Torquay, Brixham and Paignton on Admiralty Chart No. 26 – ‘Harbours on the South Coast of Devon’.
However grand or modest your craft may be, please ensure that you navigate safely and observe the maximum harbour speed limit of 5 knots. Your boat’s wash can be particularly damaging to nearby vessels alongside.
Please be respectful of other commercial and leisure harbour users and refrain from using alternative vacant berths…it will belong to someone! Anchoring in either of Tor Bay’s enclosed harbours (or approaches) is strictly prohibited!
First, an important safety note once ashore…
Brixham, Torquay and Paignton are ‘working’ Harbours and visitors to any Harbour site should read and abide by any safety signs and information to apprise themselves of potential hazards or dangers. Please pay particular attention when approaching any pier edge or unfenced areas. There are ladders, grab chains and steps located around the Harbour for getting out of the water. Lifebuoys are strategically located around the perimeter to assist in the rescue of a person in the water. Whilst several areas are pedestrianised, keep a watchful eye for delivery vehicles, trucks, fork-lifts and of course boats and trailers!
Brixham Harbour - Approaches and Berthing
A white lighthouse is situated at the outer end (Oc R 15s) of Brixham’s three quarter-mile long Victoria breakwater and is easy to locate from Berry Head.
Give the breakwater end a wide berth, as large beam trawlers can often emerge from behind it and you should then keep to the starboard side of the 75m wide fairway, marked by port hand (FIR) and starboard hand (FIG) buoys right up to the fish quays and the Marina.
At night, the eastern end of the Marina wave screen breakwater is indicated by (2 FI G 5s vert) lights, the south-western end (2 FI R 5s Vert).
The Harbour Authority provides limited berthing alongside the ‘Town Pontoon’ (that’s the one closest to the inner harbour) which is available all year round. Follow the main fairway, keeping the Marina to port and the fishing vessel basin to starboard. Please radio the ‘BRIXHAM HARBOUR’ by VHF channel 14 for availability and berthing instructions. A phone call (01803 851854) beforehand is advisable during the summer.
Anchoring is strictly prohibited within the enclosed harbour or approaches. However, Fishcombe Cove just west of the Harbour is an ideal location being sheltered and peaceful in southerly and westerly weather.
Visiting vessels also have the option to visit Brixham Marina (01803 882929) or VHF Channel 80 calling ‘BRIXHAM MARINA’ as an alternative venue.
Paignton Harbour - Approaches and Berthing
Paignton Harbour can be readily located, being ¼ mile south of the Paignton Pier landmark.
However, safe navigation requires attention to the following points…..
An East Cardinal mark, warns approaching mariners of rocks located to the east of Paignton Harbour, whilst a unique port hand mark, displaying the ‘N’ flag, denotes opposite to conventional access (ie vessels when entering the harbour keep to the PORT side of the fairway).
A (quick) flashing Red light marks the end of East Quay.
Mariners should be particularly aware of the state of tide when planning to visit the Harbour. The harbour dries out at low tide, so any prolonged visits require vessels to be either bilge keel or flat bottomed. Mariners will soon see the visitor’s pontoon alongside the pier to port, with the main slipway beyond.
Visitors should radio ‘PAIGNTON HARBOUR’ on VHF channel 14 for specific berthing instructions prior to arrival.
Alongside berthing is very limited so please contact the Paignton Harbour Office for further advice. A phone call (01803 557812) beforehand is advisable.
Torquay Harbour - Approaches and Berthing
Torquay Harbour is straightforward.
Visitors should radio ‘TORQUAY HARBOUR’ on VHF channel 14 for specific berthing instructions prior to arrival. This popular location can get extremely busy during the summertime, so please contact the Torquay Harbour Office for further advice. A phone call (01803 292429) beforehand is advisable.
The ‘Town Dock’ is immediately in front of you as you enter the harbour. Navigate the fairway keeping Haldon Pier to starboard. This is also the approach to the harbour slipway. Visitor pontoons will soon appear alongside the Town Dock on your port side - look for ‘V’ on the white pile caps to guide you. You can exit the Town Dock via the gangway onto Beacon Quay and make your way to the nearby Harbour Office. Here you will receive harbour and local information plus a visitor code providing Town Dock entry and access to the toilet and shower facilities.
Over to starboard, a 96 metre visitor pontoon with safe gangway access is located alongside Haldon Pier (between May & September).
The visitor pontoons may sometimes be used for hosting various Maritime Events during the summer season, so it’s prudent to check availability beforehand. The Harbour Authority does not accept advanced visitor bookings, so all visitor berths are available on a ‘first come first served’ basis.
Visiting vessels also have the option to visit Torquay Marina (01803 200210) or VHF Channel 80 calling ‘TORQUAY MARINA’ as an alternative venue.
Subject to demand, visitors may be required to raft-up on vessels of a similar size, especially during the peak holiday weeks and bank holiday weekends. There is no discount for rafting up!
Water and electricity points are available for visitor berthing on a first come first served basis. You will need to provide your own electric cable or hose pipe. Electric cards can be purchased from the Harbour Office. There are also toilet and shower facilities available for visiting mariners 24hrs a day.