Portrush Harbour, County Antrim, Ireland
SummaryA good location with straightforward access.
Forecast to be exposed on Wednesday.
LWS draught3 metres (9.84 feet).
Today's local tide estimatesLW 01:22, HW 07:33
LW 13:34, HW 19:58
Now approaching Springs
Swell todayDirection SW, height 0.0 metres, period 9.7 seconds, significant wave height of 0.4 metres.
Local weather outlook
Haven position55° 12.340' N, 006° 39.600' W
Where is that position?This position is at the southern end of the substantial North Pier where a light stands Lt F1.R.3s. It is adjacent to the harbour entrance that is between the pier heads of the north and south piers.
What is the initial fix?
What is the story here?Portrush Harbour is situated upon the north coast of Ireland upon the northern end of Portrush Bay and the west side of a mile-long promontory leading out to Ramore Head. It is a small harbour enclosed by two piers where it is possible to berth alongside a quay, temporarily alongside a pontoon or potentially pick up a mooring.
Tucked into the promontory behind substantial breakwaters the harbour provides good protection from the elements. However in strong north or north westerly conditions shore swell enters the harbour making it uncomfortable. Access is straightforward as all that is required is to pass between the heads of the lighted North and South Piers and there is a minimum of two metres depth in the entrance at LWS. However Portrush Bay is subject to a ground swell that runs across the entrance making it inadvisable for the unfamiliar to attempt an entry in any onshore winds over force four to five.
Please note the harbour is small, very busy and subject to congestion. However visiting craft are made particularly welcome and a berth is nearly always available for an overnight stay. Nevertheless it would be difficult to leave a boat unattended here for an extended period. The direction and velocity of the tide should be the central feature of any navigation planning in this area.
Not what you need?
Ballintoy Harbour - 10.3 miles ENE
Ballycastle - 14.4 miles E
Church Bay - 16.7 miles ENE
Cushendun - 21.8 miles ESE
Seatons Marina - 3.4 miles SSW
Coleraine - 3.7 miles S
Magilligan Point - 10.6 miles W
Foyle Pontoon (Derry City) - 25.6 miles WSW
Why visit here?Portrush (from the Irish: Port Rois meaning "the landing place on the promontory") has a history that dates back to antiquity where Ramore Head’s name is derived from ‘Rath Mhor’ meaning 'big ring fort'.
The current town began as a small fishing village near the remains of a Norman Castle and a medieval abbey. Major development came in the 19th century following the industrialised post-railway holiday boom. Thousands came to enjoy new found leisure time at Portrush's three sandy beaches, the West Strand, East Strand and White Rocks, that are among the finest beaches in Ireland. During this period Portrush acquired its elegant terraces of Georgian houses that reach out along the mile long peninsula towards Ramore Head. It is in this stretch of construction that the main part of the old town resides including the railway station as well as most hotels, restaurants and bars.
Portrush carries forward its legacy today as a bustling seaside town that hosts a considerable number of summer visitors and runs special events throughout the year. It has a variety of eating out options with restaurants, gastro pubs, cafes, hotels and has all amenities a popular holiday resort demands including the renown Royal Portrush Golf Club situated upon the peninsula. As such the town offers a host of activities for all the family and it is an especially good location for younger family members.
Well worth visiting in the immediate area is Dunluce Castle that is upon the coast three miles east of Portrush, on the coast road towards Portballintrae, and south of the Storks. The spectacular castle-crowned crag that stands a hundred feet above the sea is thought by many to be the most picturesque and romantic of Irish castles. World renown attractions such as the Giants Causeway (10 miles from Portrush), Old Bushmills Distillery & Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge are also located nearby making the trip very worthwhile.
The Skerries, where it is possible to anchor, are an important habitat to a large population of breeding seabirds of which several bird species are unique. Interestingly the islands claim a foot note in geological history. Formed from cooled volcanic lava geological evidence from this outcrop was pivotal in proving the theory that basalt is formed from cooled volcanic lava.
From its secure picturesque harbour, surrounded by restaurants, wine bars and cosy pubs to its beautiful sandy beach, with panoramic views over the ocean to the Causeway Coast, Scotland and the Donegal hills, not to mention a wide range of activities for younger folk, there’s something for everyone aboard a vessel that chooses to visit Portrush. Furthermore it is an ideal staging post for further cruising. It is an perfect location to set up a westward jump around Malin Head or even an eastward one around Fair Head.
How to get in?The ‘Routes: Malin Head to Strangford Lough Coastal description’ provides approach information to the suggested initial fix. Vessels approaching from the west should select the eastbound sequenced description; vessels approaching from the east should select the westbound sequence; northern approaches may use either description.
The Portrush initial fix resides on the ‘Storks Beacon’ line of bearing and may be a helpful guide for an easterly approach through the Sound, or northerly approach outside.
Portrush Harbour is entered between the heads of North Pier and South Pier on each of which stands a light. The North Pier: Fl R 3s 6m 3M visible 220°-160° and the South Pier: Fl G 3s 6m £M and is visible 220°-100°.
North Pierhead – light Fl R 3s 6m 3M position: 55° 12.337’N, 006° 39.580’W
Leading lights are sometimes available flashing red on red triangles 028° but these are normally only switched on for lifeboat use. The harbour is well lit but those planning a night entry will find it difficult to pick out the navigation lights from the town lights behind.
The eddies in Portrush Bay make the harbour difficult to approach in light winds by sail. Only the first quarter of the ebb sets from Ramore Head towards the harbour. After this, for the remainder of the ebb and the whole of the flood, an eddy commences running from the harbour out along the rocks to the north. Furthermore the winds in the harbour entrance are known to be fluky. So be prepared to power from Ramore Head into the harbour.
Care is required in the final approach to the harbour entrance itself. The north pier should be given a wide berth as a sunken breakwater, with 0.6 metres of cover, runs out about 20 metres to the southwest from the pier. Also in robust conditions a ground swell runs across the entrance. Anything onshore above a force four of five and the harbour should be avoided altogether. In all cases, once the entrance has been identified, come south until it is well open before turning northeast to track into the harbour.
Once through the entrance berth take a central route up through the harbour and come alongside the 183 metres long north quay, with depths of 2.7 metres alongside. A slightly uncomfortable swell will be felt in westerly conditions and when these are prevalent the best berths are further along the wall. Once the vessel is secured seek directions from harbour office. A temporary overnight stay is possible upon a pontoon berth at the east end of the north quay, with depths of 3 to 5 metres, but this must be vacated in the morning. Vacant moorings may also be available by arrangement with the harbour master.
What are the tides here?Today's local tide estimates are based on High Water Belfast -0415
Today's Belfast tides — High water: 11:48, Low waters: 05:37, 17:49
Today's Dover tides — High water: 11:41, Low waters: 06:54, 19:17 (From Tide Times)
We are now approaching the next tidal event that will be Springs, need more detailed tidal planning information?
High Water Dover -0440. Belfast -0433
MHWS 1.9m MHWN 1.4m MLWN 0.8m MLWS 0.4m
Direction of stream (approximates);
Skerries Dover: -0345 east going, HW west going, at 3-3.5 knots.
Off Portstewart Point: Dover -0400 east by south, +0100 West by south, at 1.25 knots.
At the Skerries the ebb stream or west going stream sets fair through the anchorage and sound to the westward, attaining a velocity of 3 to 3.5 knots in the constricted passage between Ramore head and the Carr rocks. Eastbound vessels should make note that the flood stream sets from Ramore head towards Carr Rock. However it turns east in about mid channel in the sound when it sets fair. In heavy weather an unpleasant seaway will be found in the sound that is best avoided.
The above image represents the current tidal stream off this haven in local time. Click [+] to advance the estimate by an hour and click [ - ] to step back. Future tidal planning is best accomplished by extracting the date's Dover Tide HW , and clicking [+] or [ - ] based on the presented Dover offset. Do you need information on the tidal graphics?
What facilities are available?The pontoon offers water, fuel and arrangements can be made to dispose of waste from on-board waste tanks. Fresh provisions including gas and a launderette can be obtained from the sizable town servicing a population of about 6,500 that expands exponentially during the summer. Portrush Yacht Club has showers and resides in a modern building adjacent to the Harbour Office on the quay. Visitors will find its members very welcoming. A slip plus a good beach for scrubbing can be found inside the harbour.
Portrush is a busy and friendly holiday town with all the pubs good restaurants, wine bars and cafe resources you would expect. Its railway station is the last stop on the Coleraine-Portrush line, where travellers can connect with trains to Derry, Belfast and beyond. Translink run a regular bus and train service to and from Portrush. Nearest airport at Aldergrove 77 km.
What emergency contacts are there?Belfast Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC). Operational Area: Northern Ireland/ Irish Republic Border, Lough Foyle to Northern/Irish Republic Border Carlingford Lough. Belfast Coastguard (MRSC) VHF Ch 16, liaises closely with IRCG. Emergencies are worked on 16, 67 and working channel.
Alternatively, or if ashore, phone 999 and 112 and ask for ‘Marine Rescue’. Police, Fire and Rescue are also available on this number. Belfast (MRSC) may be contacted directly on +44 2891 463 933. Portrush is an auxiliary station with an all weather lifeboat and an inshore lifeboat (summer only) stationed in the harbour. There is also a coastguard lookout upon Ramore Head. HM Coastguard Sector Office +44 28 70 823356 has a remote aerial connected to Bangor CG VHF Ch. 16 and 67.
Other useful contacts in this area
Portrush Harbour Master: Angus Barry, VHF Ch. 14, M +44 7889 081860, email Angus.Barry@Colerainebc.gov.uk
Portrush Yacht Club: P +44 28 70 823932, click here for their web site.
Police P +44 28 7083 44122
Doctor P +44 28 7082 3767
Hospital P +44 28 7034 4177
Any security concerns?Never an issue known to have occurred to a vessel in Portrush. However this is a seaside resort that gets particularly busy in season. The below user comment should be considered before planning a visit.
What navigational resources are available for this area?British Admiralty 2798 ‘Lough Foyle to Sanda Island including Rathlin Island’ scale of 200,000:1 plus 2494 ‘Ireland-North Coast, Plans on the North Coast of Ireland’. Imray chart C64 ‘Belfast Lough to Crinan and Islay’ plus Northern Ireland Ordinance Survey No. 5 and No. 4 at a scale of 1:50,000 for inland details. OpenStreetMap provides local maps that include relief details plus walking and cycle routes for this locality.
With thanks to:Terry Crawford, local boatman of many decades.
How can I get this offshore?If a mobile signal is available you may access all our information via your mobile phone's internet browser. Our 'Lite' site, Lite in your footsteps .com that shortens to liyfs.com, works with any mobile phone and it presents the data in a simplified, speed optimised format. Similarly, if an internet connection is limited or expensive, switching to the 'Lite' view enables faster and more efficient PC, Mac, or tablet access.
Alternatively print this page's text, illustrations and photos, but without the internet menu, layout, backdrops and Google maps, or economise upon printer consumables and print this page with text only, to get a hardcopy of this location.
Print this haven
Add a review or comment:
Robin Anderson wrote this review on Jan 23rd 2012:
Sadly, Portrush Harbour has been disgracefully neglected by the Local Authority with no investment in the Harbour for many, many years. The needs of boat owners and visiting yachtsmen are totally ignored. The Harbour Masters have been excellent but are totally unsupported in their work. There have been serious security problems in recent years from young yobs stoning visiting yachtsmen , boarding and damaging visiting craft. Moored boats have been cast adrift by louts who visit the harbour after getting tanked up in the local hostelries. The Council appear content to give over the harbour to drunks and yobs and have no regard to boat owners. Motorists who are too lazy to walk from the nearby huge public car parks are allowed to park all over the harbour access area. A great shame - so moor with chain and keep a close watch on your boat here as rest assured that the Local Council has no interest in supporting the harbour as a place for boats!Average Rating: Unrated
Jim Williamson wrote this review on Jun 16th 2012:
Fortunately, our visit was good though the above comments may well be justified. Toilet and showers were adequate if not fancy. Angus Barry the harbourmaster was very friendly and helpful. The pubs were certainly busy on the Friday night of our visit but there were no incidents and no noise after about 10.30pm. The Viking laundrette 68 Causeway Street 028 7082 2060 did an excellent serevice wash.Average Rating: Unrated
Please log in to leave a review of this haven.
Please note inyourfootsteps.com makes no guarantee of the validity of this information, we have not visited this haven and do not have first-hand experience to qualify the data. Although the contributors are vetted by peer review as practised authorities, they are in no way, whatsoever, responsible for the accuracy of their contributions. It is essential that you thoroughly check the accuracy and suitability for your vessel of any waypoints offered in any context plus the precision of your GPS. Any data provided on this page is entirely used at your own risk and you must read our legal page if you view data on this site.