Local pilot information

Rules and regulations

6kts, minimal wash in moorings, large areas of no anchoring

Charts

BA: 147, SC 5603.6. Stanford: 13. lmray: Y57

Tides

Local tide tables available here

Waypoint

Voose N Cardinal buoy 50005'77N I 05006'90W

Range

MHWS 5.3m-MHWN 4.2m. MLWN 1.9m-MLWS 0.6m.  Streams attain up to 2kts in river at springs

Overnight

Pick up green visitor mooring

Hazards

Car Croc Rock, Voose Rock: both unlit

Gedges/August Rock: flashes green every five seconds

Bar/shallows within river on north shore

Rough approach in strong east wind/ebb tide

Beware pot and net buoys, especially west of Voose Rocks. Reduced depth due to oyster cages

Restricted manoeuvrability due to net buoys.

Latter marked by three yellow hazard buoys, topped with crosses, all lit, which flash yellow every five seconds

Large areas of upper reaches dry

The above information is taken with kind permission from Mark Fishwick, whose book West Country Cruising Companion, is available on Amazon

Approaches

As you close on Rosemullion Head, the green conical August Rock buoy (seasonal) to seaward of the Gedges Rocks (drying 1.4m/4.6ft) should be left to starboard before bearing round into the river mouth as it opens ahead, running due west.

 

There are no further hazards at the entrance to the river, whose depth averages between 3m/9.8ft and 4m/13.1ft. Please note that there can be a funnelling effect at the mouth when beating in. However, the shelter once inside is excellent in all but an easterly wind.

 

On the southern shore of the approach is the hidden entrance to Gillan Creek, which is easily located by the distinctive hump of Dennis Head across its mouth. This picturesque creek, which largely dries out at low tide, is only accessible to boats with a shallow draught. The only deep water is at its mouth, which is heavily populated with moorings. Car Croc Rock (dries 1m/3.2ft) sits almost in the middle of the entrance, marked by an east cardinal buoy (BYB1). Be warned: Car Croc extends further to the south-east than it appears, so give it a good berth, passing midway between it and the south shore when entering. Also beware of the rocks extending to seawards from Men-aver Point.

The Car Croc is lit ,flash character Q (3)10 sec.

If possible, arrive in Gillan Creek just after low water, when the various hazards are easy to see. Feel your way in on the tide, anchoring clear of the local moorings off the houses at Flushing, or go further into the creek to the hamlet of St Anthony. Here, however, you will dry out at low tide. On the shingle foreshore of St Anthony is Sailaway Boat Hire, which may be able to provide you with a mooring. The densely wooded creek beyond the sandy spit is particularly attractive when the tide is in and perfect for a dinghy trip.

 

Back in the main river, there are some sheltered anchorages when the wind is between north and west just within the entrance. These are located in the bight along the northern shore between Toll Point and the small boathouse at Porth Saxon, and off the shingly Grebe beach further to the west. However, under a recent Falmouth Bay & Estuaries conservation initiative, there is a voluntary restriction on anchoring in this area in order to protect the eelgrass bed,

which extends outwards from the low-water mark for approximately 200m/656ft. You are therefore asked to anchor further out or further to the west, off the hamlet of Durgan, clear of the local moorings towards Polgwidden Cove.

Continuing west from Ponsence, the Voose is a drying rocky ledge that has snared a surprising number of boats despite its north cardinal BY buoy. It is possible to anchor just east of the Voose Rocks, off Bosahan Cove. If the tide is low, as you approach the narrows keep just over a cable (185m/608ft) off the steep wooded shore leading up to Bosahan Point. Also take care to avoid the line of fishermen's store pots and the sunken oyster cages. These are marked with three yellow cross-topped buoys, which flash yellow every five seconds.

 

Continue towards the large concentration of moorings ahead, but look out for the northern, starboard side. Here, shallows extend up to a cable from the shore — the depth is not much more than 0.5m/1.6ft in places — past the small-boat moorings, the beach, the modern houses and pub at Helford Passage, as far as the green conical Bar buoy (seasonal). This can be difficult to spot among the boats.

 

In this section, there are several visitors’ moorings, identified by green buoys and pick-up buoys. Please do not anchor in this area, but pick up a spare visitor mooring. For mooring fees, please see the Visitor Mooring page. If the moorings officer is not out in the Helford River Moorings launch, you can contact him on VHF channel 37, call sign ‘Mooring Officer’.

Inshore, the river dries at LWS (low water at spring tide) into a sand and mud bank, which is popular with locals for digging cockles. The shallows stretch up river as far as the entrance to Port Navas Creek.

 

For those wishing to explore up river, Port Navas Creek on the northern flank of the river offers a yacht club, with one visitor mooring, and a boatyard. Apart from a pool in the entrance known as Abraham’s Bosom, the creek dries out at low tide and the areas not populated with moorings are taken up with oyster beds. A shallow-draught vessel may be able to arrange to water-up at the club.

 

If continuing on the main channel towards Gweek, please note that the the river dries out at low tide shortly after Tremayne Quay on the port bank. After Port Navas Creek, there are more oyster beds in the main section of the river, which is consequently devoid of moorings. It is possible for moderate-draught craft to make their way up to Gweek Quay on a reasonable tide. The last section of the drying channel is well marked with port and starboard hand buoys.

If possible, arrive in Gillan Creek just after low water, when the various hazards are easy to see. Feel your way in on the tide, anchoring clear of the local moorings off the houses at Flushing, or go further into the creek to the hamlet of St Anthony. Here, however, you will dry out at low tide. On the shingle foreshore of St Anthony is Sailaway Boat Hire, which may be able to provide you with a mooring. The densely wooded creek beyond the sandy spit is particularly attractive when the tide is in and perfect for a dinghy trip.

 

Back in the main river, there are some sheltered anchorages when the wind is between north and west just within the entrance. These are located in the bight along the northern shore between Toll Point and the small boathouse at Porth Saxon, and off the shingly Grebe beach further to the west. However, under a recent Falmouth Bay & Estuaries conservation initiative, there is a voluntary restriction on anchoring in this area in order to protect the eelgrass bed,

which extends outwards from the low-water mark for approximately 200m/656ft. You are therefore asked to anchor further out or further to the west, off the hamlet of Durgan, clear of the local moorings towards Polgwidden Cove.

 If there is no response, he can be contacted by telephone on 01326  250749 or 07808 071485.

 

Inshore, the river dries at LWS (low water at spring tide) into a sand and mud bank, which is popular with locals for digging cockles. The shallows stretch up river as far as the entrance to Port Navas Creek.

 

For those wishing to explore up river, Port Navas Creek on the northern flank of the river offers a yacht club, with one visitor mooring, and a boatyard. Apart from a pool in the entrance known as Abraham’s Bosom, the creek dries out at low tide and the areas not populated with moorings are taken up with oyster beds. A shallow-draught vessel may be able to arrange to water-up at the club.

 

If continuing on the main channel towards Gweek, please note that the the river dries out at low tide shortly after Tremayne Quay on the port bank. After Port Navas Creek, there are more oyster beds in the main section of the river, which is consequently devoid of moorings. It is possible for moderate-draught craft to make their way up to Gweek Quay on a reasonable tide. The last section of the drying channel is well marked with port and starboard hand buoys.

If possible, arrive in Gillan Creek just after low water, when the various hazards are easy to see. Feel your way in on the tide, anchoring clear of the local moorings off the houses at Flushing, or go further into the creek to the hamlet of St Anthony. Here, however, you will dry out at low tide. On the shingle foreshore of St Anthony is Sailaway Boat Hire, which may be able to provide you with a mooring. The densely wooded creek beyond the sandy spit is particularly attractive when the tide is in and perfect for a dinghy trip.

 

Back in the main river, there are some sheltered anchorages when the wind is between north and west just within the entrance. These are located in the bight along the northern shore between Toll Point and the small boathouse at Porth Saxon, and off the shingly Grebe beach further to the west. However, under a recent Falmouth Bay & Estuaries conservation initiative, there is a voluntary restriction on anchoring in this area in order to protect the eelgrass bed,

which extends outwards from the low-water mark for approximately 200m/656ft. You are therefore asked to anchor further out or further to the west, off the hamlet of Durgan, clear of the local moorings towards Polgwidden Cove.

Inshore, the river dries at LWS (low water at spring tide) into a sand and mud bank, which is popular with locals for digging cockles. The shallows stretch up river as far as the entrance to Port Navas Creek.

 

For those wishing to explore up river, Port Navas Creek on the northern flank of the river offers a yacht club, with one visitor mooring, and a boatyard. Apart from a pool in the entrance known as Abraham’s Bosom, the creek dries out at low tide and the areas not populated with moorings are taken up with oyster beds. A shallow-draught vessel may be able to arrange to water-up at the club.

 

If continuing on the main channel towards Gweek, please note that the the river dries out at low tide shortly after Tremayne Quay on the port bank. After Port Navas Creek, there are more oyster beds in the main section of the river, which is consequently devoid of moorings. It is possible for moderate-draught craft to make their way up to Gweek Quay on a reasonable tide. The last section of the drying channel is well marked with port and starboard hand buoys.

Approaches