East Coast; Southbound from Dublin Bay to Rosslare Harbour
What is the route?
Why sail this route?Many cruisers enjoy inshore coastal sailing and particularly so between close situated locations. This coastal description strives to assist passage planning by highlighting the key coastal characteristics and immediate offshore dangers in this area.
What are the navigational notes?The 70 miles of coast between Dublin Bay and Rosslare Harbour is partly obstructed by a long discontinuous chain of detached sand banks. The banks lie parallel to the coast varying from just over a mile to almost ten miles offshore and some are as long as five miles in length. They are mostly made up of fine sand that shift slightly in depth and position but others have a gravel base whilst others have boulder ridges.
The primary dangers are the Kish and Bray Banks, Arklow Bank, Blackwater Bank plus some smaller covered obstructions that will be discussed. Portions of the Arklow Bank have depths of less than 1.6 metres, and the Blackwater Bank’s Money-weights section has patches that totally uncover and dry. Heavy breakers will be found on all the banks in strong easterly conditions.
Nevertheless the coastline presents little difficulty in reasonable conditions for a modern sailing vessel with auxiliary power. It is very well marked by lit buoys and large deep channels reside between the banks and the coast. Between these larger banks there are many navigable channels that provide external access. All have ample space for large commercial shipping and depths are generally greater than 20 metres all the way. As such vessels that traverse this coast usually select an inshore route that leads inside of the offshore banks. The shared ‘route’ ‘Dublin - Kilmore Quay inside the banks’ contains a very useful set of waypoints for this coast.
However if you are a stranger to the coast, or are in anyway uncertain, or operating in heavy weather with low visibility, it is perhaps best not to add additional navigational complexity. In this case it may be best to exit Dublin Bay to the north of the Kish Bank lighthouse and keeping outside all the banks, staying east of the Codling and Blackwater Bank, to run down to Rosslare Harbour or Bay through the North or South Sheer.
Hosting the capital of Ireland, Dublin Bay is unmistakable from seaward. Situated between Dalkey Island on the south and the Hill of Howth on the north it is about 5.8 miles wide and 6 miles deep. The head of the bay is filled with extensive sand-banks through which the River Liffey, guided by long walls, flows into the sea and the city and port of Dublin are situated at the mouth of the river. The Hill of Howth, abruptly rising on the north side of the bay, forms the most prominent natural feature when approached from the sea. Dún Laoghaire Harbour plus the Killiney Hills will be seen to the south closer in. The coast is comparatively low on the southern side backed by hills which rise to a height of 500 metres within 5 miles of the shore. In the centre of the bay the Poolbeg lighthouse stands 20 metres high at the head of the south breakwater. A mile and a half above the Liffey’s entrance the conspicuous twin 210 metre high Poolbeg power station chimneys stand close together; behind which the high rise buildings of Dublin city will appear. The Burford Bank, described in the previous ‘Strangford Lough to Dublin Bay’ description, lies across the approaches to the bay.
Dublin Bay’s central marker, the Dublin Bay buoy, is situated in the middle of the bay.
Dublin Bay buoy - Fl Mo (A) 10s position: 53° 19.912'N, 006° 04.646'W
Caution: A Traffic Separation Scheme has been established in Dublin Bay with a traffic circle established around Dublin Bay buoy. This is well marked on Admiralty Chart No. 1415, 2002 and involves separation lanes to the north and south of the Burford Bank.
The port of Dún Laoghaire lies 2.5 miles southwest of the Dublin Bay buoy. The harbour is formed by two magnificent granite piers extending from the south shore of the bay in the direction of Howth. On the ends of each pier with red and green lanterns:
East Pier Head – 12 metre Fl (2) R 10s 16m 17M position 53°18.135’N, 006° 07.620’W
West Pier Head – 9 metre Fl (3)G 7.5s 11m 7M position 53° 18.185’N, 006° 07.865’W
Caution: Dún Laoghaire is a busy ferry port with extensive facilities for yachts. High Speed ferries (HSS) enter and exit at speed. When they are under way it is obligatory to keep clear of the fairway and the harbour mouth.
Scotsman’s Bay, between Sandycove point, with its distinctive Martello tower, and Dún Laoghaire, is foul throughout. One mile northwest of Sorrento Point is the small boat harbour called Bullock Harbour, or Coliemore Harbour. It dries and is very crowded and is only used by small open boats. Between Sandycove Point and Bullock Harbour, there are some outlying rocks with 1.6 metres of cover 200 metres offshore. The shore between Dalkey and Bullock Harbour, or Coliemore Harbour, is clear of danger and steep-to.
Two miles southeast of Dún Laoghaire is Dublin Bay southernmost reach Sorrento Point and Dalkey Island lies immediately offshore 0.2 of a mile to the east. Vessel may anchor off the island in Dalkey Sound. The island is 24 metres high, with a Martello tower on its summit. The shore of the main is steep-to, but the reef that extends up to about 0.5 mile north-northwest of the island has straggling outliers on both sides of it. A channel, about 230 metres wide, leads between the island and the mainland. The least depth in the channel is 8 metres; and it is the preferred leisure craft approach with a set of waypoints available in routes.
Quarter of a mile to the east of Dalkey Island is a small cluster of rocks called The Muglins. They are 6 metres high and bold-to except to the westward, where for 100 metres distance there is a rock with 1 metre of cover. They are a different group or chain and the seaway between these two groups is the ‘Muglins Sound’. There is a lighthouse on The Muglins, that could more aptly be described as a distinctive beacon, making it highly recognisable. It is a white conical tower with a red band:
The Muglins - Lighthouse Fl 5s 9m 11M position: 53° 16.524’N, 006° 04.579’W
A channel, about 270 metres wide resides between the dangers on each side, runs between the rock and Dalkey Island. The Dalkey Island Channel is the preferred fairway of the two. But when the tidal current is strong through Dalkey Sound small craft may use this outer channel through Muglins Sound.
Offshore from Dublin Bay to Wicklow Head there is a dangerous set of off lying banks that will characterise the coast from Dublin Bay to Rosslare Harbour.
The long narrow sandy Kish Bank stretches 6.5 miles, in a north south direction, and is about half a mile wide. It has from 1.6 to 3.5 metres over a considerable area from north to the middle of the bank, and from 5 to 6 metres elsewhere. Both it and the Bray Bank are steep-to on each side, with 20 and 20 metres close to their edges. The bank is marked by two markers plus the 31 metre high Kish Bank Lighthouse, a white concrete tower with a red band that has a helicopter platform on top:
North Kish – North Cardinal VQ position: 53° 18.549'N, 005° 56.432’W
East Kish - Red Can Buoy Fl (2) R 10s position: 53° 14.349'N, 005° 53.618’W
Kish Lighthouse - Fl (2) 20s 29m 22M position: 53° 18.650'N, 005° 55.542’W
Three miles to the south of the Kish Bank is the Bray Bank. This is 2 miles long, in a north south direction, and one-third of a mile wide, with 4 metres of water over it at its shallowest point. Between the Bray and Kish banks there is a three-quarters of a mile wide cut were 5 to 7 metres of water will be found.
Two miles to the south of the Bray Bank is the Codling Banks. This is a vast crescent-shaped area of coarse broken ground, approximately three miles wide and four miles long. The bank consists of gravel and large boulders that run in narrow ridges and carry 2.6 metres of water on the shallowest parts. Heavy overfalls occur when a full run of tide passes over the shoal, especially with the flood stream and it should be entirely avoided. Vessels must approach them with great caution as the flood tide setts strongly out over the banks. The Codling Banks are marked by three markers:
East Codling – Red Can Buoy Fl (4) R 10s position: 53° 08.517'N, 005° 47.126’W
West Codling – Green Can Buoy Fl G 10s position: 53° 06.962'N, 005° 54.558’W
South Codling - South Cardinal VQ (6) + LFl 10s position: 53° 04.730'N, 005° 49.784’W
Four to five miles outside the Bray and Kish Banks there is a ridge of sand with from 13 to 16 metres of water, extending in northerly direction from the Codling Bank. A vessel making towards Kish should avoid this ridge in strong easterly conditions. This was marked by Codling LANBY until it was replace in 2010 by an East Cardinal Buoy equipped with a light, Racon and AIS:
Codling – East Cardinal buoy Q (3) 10s position: 53° 03.020'N, 005° 40.815'W
Six miles northeast of Wicklow is the India Bank. Made up of fine sand, it is two-thirds of a mile in length, half a mile wide, and steep-to on its western side. The shallowest part is 3.5 metres near the south end of the bank. South Ridge extends in a north-northeast direction from the India bank. The India bank and South ridge may be considered as one continuous danger, a narrow swatch with 7 metres of water alone separating them. Both are marked by two north and south cardinals.
North India - North Cardinal VQ position: 53° 03.173'N, 005° 53.473’W
South India – South Cardinal Q (6) + LFl 15s position: 53° 00.349’N, 005° 53.346’W
Inshore, from Killiney Bay to Bray the coast is composed of a shingly beach. It is foul offshore with several rocks, some of which dry, and should not be approached nearer than half a mile, at which distance 5 to 10 metres of water will be found. Killiney Bay is hemmed in to the north by the remarkable hill of Killiney, on its 149 metre summit on which stands the conspicuous Mapas obelisk. This is ruined signal tower 0.8 of a mile west by southwest of Sorrento Point. There is an outflow marker on the south side of the bay.
Shanganagh O/F – Yellow Fl Y 3s position: 53° 14.892'N, 006° 05.154’W
With offshore winds vessels may anchor at Sorrento Point to the southwest of Dalkey Island and on the northernmost reach of Killiney Bay, beneath the headland of the same name.
Immediately offshore of Killiney Bay is the small Frazer Bank, a ridge of sand, about a mile in length and 400 metres wide, with 5.3 metres of water. Its north end is half a mile south from Dalkey Island, from which it extends in a south direction.
About five miles south of Dalkey Island is the remarkable headland of Bray Head that rises 236 metres from the sea. It is fronted by bold precipitous cliffs along the face of which runs a railway. Off the southern extremity of the head at the distance of 150 metres from the shore, is the half tide Cable Rock. It uncovers to 2 metres, with a few stragglers outside it and deep water close to. Off the north and northwest part of Bray Head Periwinkle and Crab Rocks are drying reefs that extend almost 200 metres.
The resort town of Bray, fronted by a small boat harbour that dries, is situated about 1.2 miles north-northwest of the head. The terraces and buildings of the town are prominent from seaward. Wicklow’s Great Sugar Loaf, with a 500 metres high conical peak, and the 274 metres high Carrickgollogan, with a chimney 0.5 mile north-northwest of the summit, are all conspicuous in the vicinity of Bray Head. An outflow buoy is located off the town.
Bray O/F – Yellow Fl (4) Y 10s position: 53° 13.254'N, 006° 04.540’W
About two and a half miles south of Bray Head is Greystones. This is a small resort town fronted by a shallow boat harbour with a marina in development. An outflow buoy resides offshore.
Greystones O/F – Yellow Fl Y 5s position: 53° 08.441'N, 006° 02.532’W
Offshore in this area there are two small shoals that are of little concern to a sailing vessel and often ignored. However in strong onshore conditions it is better to sail to the east of the buoys that mark these shoals.
Just over a mile to the southeast of Bray is the Moulditch Bank, with 3.8 metres of water. It is an irregular patch of coarse gravel and large stones, extending nearly a mile and a quarter from the shore and is marked by a lighted buoy.
Moulditch - Red Buoy Fl R 10s position: 53° 08.430'N, 006° 01.230’W
Small vessels may pass inside it in 5 metres of water by keeping about quarter of a mile from the shore. The tide rushing over the Moulditch causes overfalls which extend beyond the limits of the bank.
About three miles south southeast of the Moulditch Bank is the Breaches Shoal that has a depth of 5 metres, located about 1.5 miles east-northeast of The Breaches, and is marked by a lighted buoy.
Breaches - Red Buoy Fl (2) R 6s position: 53° 05.721'N, 005° 59.856’W
From Bray Head to Wicklow, a distance of 12 miles, the coast composed of a low shingly beach, along which runs the railway. There is a beach all the way from Bray Head to Wicklow Harbour that is only broken by a short rocky stretch around Greystones. The coast here is steep-to and a distance off of 200 metres clears all dangers except when rounding Six Mile Point, where an offing of 400 metres would be preferred.
Conspicuous on the coast will be the Breaches, about 6.5 miles north of Wicklow, which are several openings in the coast leading to a tidal inlet. An obvious dark red railway bridge spans the openings. The coast is flat for a long way off, except at the Moulditch bank, and leisure vessels may approach it to within half a mile from the shore, to the southward of the Moulditch, where in excess of 5 metres will be found, and in excess of 2 metres at half that distance.
About fourteen miles south-southeast of Bray is Wicklow Head a bold projecting 71 metres high headland. It is readily recognised by three light towers, standing nearly equidistant from each other on a west-northwest line of bearing. The disused lighthouses are on the summit and lower and outer lighthouse, half way down the slope of the cliff is the active light. It has white walls and buildings on the seaward side:
Wicklow Head Lighthouse - Fl (3) 15s37m23M position: 52° 57.947’N, 005° 59.889’W
Around Wicklow Head the bottom is very foul, with irregular patches of 7.6 to 9.1 metres in places up to 1.5 miles off the Head, and 10 to 16 metres between them. There is, however, no danger for small vessels, when to the northward of the Horseshoe.
Half a mile northwest of Wicklow Head is Wicklow Harbour a small port lying at the mouth of the Leitrim River. An outfall pipeline extends 0.7 of a mile to the northeast of the harbour with a light buoy marking the outer end.
Wicklow Outflow Buoy - Fl (4) Y 10s position: 52° 59.541’N, 006° 01.295’W
From Wicklow Head to Arklow the view of the coast is bounded by the interior ranges of the Wicklow Mountains. The highest of the range, Lugnaquilla, is 925 metres high. The immediate inshore stretch of coast continues free from danger as far as Ardmore point, save for the unmarked rocky shoal of Wolf Rock – discussed presently. At Jack's Hole, on the northern side, a row of mobile homes will be seen. 600 to 800 metres off the coast here clears all dangers. Immediately to the south is the 2.25 mile wide Brittas Bay with a third of a mile of rocky cliff and conspicuous caravans parked above it. Mizen Head is a low, 10 metres high, flat rocky point having an old tower on its northern side. The shoreline from Mizen Head to Arklow is that of a sandy beach.
A mile and a half south-southwest from Wicklow Head resides the Horseshoe a bank of coarse gravel and stones. On its shallowest part near the north end there is little more than half a meter of water. The bank is marked by a port hand marker buoy to the southwest of the bank that vessels should pass to seaward side of.
Horseshoe – Port Can Buoy Fl R 3s position: 52° 56.616’N, 005° 59.404’W
There is a narrow unmarked passage between the bank and the shore, with from 6 to 8 metres of water, but it cannot be recommended without local knowledge.
Three miles south southwest of Wicklow Head is the low 15 metres high Ardmore Point, with steep grassy sides but no buildings. The half-tide Wolf Rock, with foul ground in the vicinity, resides 600 metres to the south of Ardmore Point. Part of it dries to about 1 metre and it is nearly 800 metres out from the shoreline. It is recommended that sailing vessels keep a distance of half a mile out from the rock or maintaining a least depth of more than 10 metres in this area.
Just over eleven miles south southwest of Wicklow Head is Arklow Head and 1.2 miles further north of the headland is the town of Arklow and harbour. Located at the entrance of the Avoca River, Arklow offers a completely protected harbour on the south bank of the river and a marina on the north bank. The town lies close northeast of Arklow Rock a rugged eminence of 123 metres high, albeit continually being reduced by quarrying, is a conspicuous mark 2 miles to the northward of Arklow point.
This coastal area between Kilmichael Point, two miles to the south of Arklow, and effectively as far north as Wicklow Head is enclosed by the extensive Arklow Bank. This is a narrow shallow ridge of sand, awash in places, about 12 miles in length and a quarter to two-thirds of a mile wide. It resides 4 to 6 miles offshore running nearly parallel to the shoreline. The shallowest and most dangerous part is towards the north end, where there is one spot with 1 metre of water. Over portions of the middle of the bank there is as much as from 5 to 6 metres and in settled conditions leisure vessel may cross over it. Towards the south end it again becomes shallow, with patches of only 1.8 metres of water.
Arklow Bank has been made highly conspicuous by its wind farm - consisting of seven GE 3.6-megawatt generators installed in June 2004. There are also two tall and well lit weather data collection masts. There are cardinals off the north and south edges of the bank, plus two additional buoys have been placed on the eastern edge of the bank; although there are no markers on the western side:
North Arklow - North Cardinal Q position: 52° 53.862’N, 005° 55.263’W
No. 2 Arklow – Red Buoy Fl R 6s position: 52° 50.294’N, 005° 54.558’W
No. 1 Arklow - Red Buoy Fl (3) R 10s position: 52° 44.327’N, 005° 56.029’W
South Arklow – South Cardinal VQ (6) + LFl 10s position: 52° 40.812’N, 005° 59.230’W
A further Yellow/Black Superbuoy, with a topmark of two cones pointing downwards, replaced the lightship Arklow Lanby. The Superbuoy is now in a new position stationed about a mile to the southeast of South Arklow and has been renamed South Arklow.
South Arklow - Superbuoy Q(6)+ LFL 15 s 6(0.6+0.6)+ 2 + 5.8s = 15s position: 52° 40.196'N, 005° 58.886'W
Caution: A vessel should keep a mile to the eastward of all these buoys, as the ebb tide sets strongly in over the bank. The same precaution must be used when near the inner edge of the bank with the flood tide which sets strongly out over it. In heavy weather it is advised that a vessel keeps a couple of miles off the Arklow Bank. Outside the bank the depth of over 40 metres will be found about a quarter of a mile from its south end, likewise to the east and the same depth half a mile from its north end.
From Arklow to Cahore Point the coast is generally rocky, of moderate elevation, and free from danger except at the Glassgorman Banks. The soundings increase gradually from the shore; at half a mile's distance, there are 10 to 12 metres on clear ground, and 50 metres of water 8 or 10 miles out.
Kilmichael Point is a low rocky foreshore, that lies about and 3.5 miles to the northeast of Tara Hill. Tara Hill is a very prominent seamark being a round hill that raises abruptly to an elevation of 251 metres.
Immediately offshore and to the southeast of Kilmichael Point is the Glassgorman Banks. These consist of several detached shoals, with narrow and intricate channels between them, enclosing the shore between Tara Hill and Arklow rock. The least water on the banks, 1.8 metres is at the northern end of the outer bank 1.5 miles east of Kilmichael Point, whilst on other parts there are from 4 to 8 metres. Two port hand buoy mark the outer edge of the bank.
No. 2 Glassgorman - Port Can Buoy Fl (4) R 10 position: 52° 44.514’N, 006° 05.343’W
No. 1 Glassgorman - Port Can Buoy Fl (2) R 6s position: 52° 39.075’N, 006° 07.441’W
An alternate inshore channel runs between the west side of Glassgorman Banks and the coastal bank off Kilmichael Point that has a least reported depth of 3.6 metres approximately 0.8 of a mile south-southeast of the point.
Five miles to the north-east of Cahore point, and about midway between it and Kilmichael point, is Courtown Harbour with a small pier and harbour. A yellow Outflow Buoy is moored off the harbour.
Courtown Outflow Buoy – Yellow Buoy Fl Y 10s position: 52° 38.437’N, 006° 12.975’W
Cahore Point, with the small Cahore Harbour, or Polduff, protected by a pier about 0.5 mile northwest of the point, has a conspicuous white house on its summit. Its highest part attains an elevation of 19 metres and Ballygarret Roman Catholic Chapel, about 1.5 miles northwest of the point, is also easy to identify.
Continuing south the coast from the Cahore Point to Wexford Harbour’s Raven Point, a distance of 15 miles, continues the theme of alternating ranges of 50 metre high clay cliffs and sand hills. The shoreline is again fronted by a series of dangerous outlying banks, with deep water inside, and good channels between.
About three and a half miles south southwest of Cahore Point is Morris Castle that may be identified by a conspicuous group of white houses. The whole space here within the Blackwater Bank to the southward of the Rusk, discussed presently, is free from danger; with from 10 to 20 metres in mid channel, shoaling gradually towards the shore, and deepening towards the bank, which is steep-to. The bottom throughout is clean sand and a vessel may anchor in any part of it in settled conditions to await a tide.
Approximately 5 miles north-northeast of Raven Point is Blackwater Head that is easily identified by the abrupt southwest termination of clay cliffs and the ruins of a house on its summit. Between Blackwater Head and Raven Point the coast is backed by undulating hills. The 99 metres high Ballyrevan is most prominent standing about 2.5 miles southwest of the head. Immediately north from Wexford Harbour’s Raven Point is Wexford Bay or North Bay with a sandy bottom that gradually shoals toward the shore.
The key bank in this area is the aforementioned Blackwater Bank that resides to the north of the Lucifer Bank. This is an extensive ridge of sand, 3 to 4.5 miles offshore and running nearly parallel with the coastline. It is 7 miles long, and at its widest part 1.5 miles wide. The drying part is towards the north end where there are marked wrecks nearby. The inside, or western side, of the bank is steep-to with 15 metres 400 metres off. The seaward, or eastern side, by contrast deepens gradually to depths of 5 metres and then falls abruptly into 30 metres. Blackwater Bank is marked by five buoys, one at the southern end, and two on its eastern side and two on the inside.
West Blackwater – Starboard Can Buoy Fl G 6s position: 52° 25.865’N, 006° 13.572’W
Southeast Blackwater – Port Can Buoy Fl R 10s position: 52° 25.644’N, 006° 09.719’W
South Blackwater – South Cardinal Q (6) + LFl 15s position: 52° 22.757’N, 006° 12.866’W
East Blackwater – East Cardinal Q (3) 10s position: 52° 28.031’N, 006° 08.056’W
No. 1 Rusk - Port Can Buoy Fl (2) G 5s position: 52° 28.539’N, 006° 11.799’W
Half a mile to the north of the Blackwater Bank is Money-weights Bank. This is a small but dangerous bank as about half a mile of it dries. Money-weights northern end is marked by the North Blackwater North Cardinal.
North Blackwater – North Cardinal Q position: 52° 32.225’N, 006° 09.520’W
Inshore the Rusk and Ram Banks, tailing off from Cahore point, are about 3 miles long, and are half to one-third of a mile wide.
The Rusk Bank has 2.4 metres at low water over a considerable space near its north and widest end. Its south part is separated from Money-weights Bank by the 0.5 mile wide Rusk Channel. Its northern part extends 1 mile towards Cahore Point. It is marked by three port hand red buoys are placed on the eastern side:
No. 6 Rusk - Port Can Buoy Fl R 3s position: 52° 32.666’N, 006° 10.425’W
No. 4 Rusk – Port Can Buoy Fl (3) R 6s position: 52° 31.089’N, 006° 10.841’W
No. 2 Rusk – Port Hand Buoy Fl (2) R 5s position: 52° 28.638’N, 006°12.613’W
The Ram Bank is a spit extending south from Cahore Point with a least depth of 1.4 metres near the shore - less water has been reported. A direct line from the No. 6 Rusk buoy to Cahore Point leads just north of the Ram.
Between the east side of Rusk Bank and the west side of Money-weights Bank resides the Rusk Channel. The channel is part of the commercial shipping inshore coastal route and is about 0.5 a mile wide with depths of 12.8 to 14.6 metres. It is marked by the aforementioned buoys that lie to the east of the east side of Rusk Bank and the west side of the Blackwater and Money-weights Bank.
Between the extremity of the Ram Bank and the north end of Rusk Bank is a narrow channel called The Sluice. This has a charted least depth of 4.7 metres but the channel changes each year and depths of 2 metres and less have been reported. Locals who prefer to sail along the coast often use this channel. It cannot be recommended for strangers where the larger commercial Rusk Channel is the preferred approach. If it is selected, great care should be taken at all times. The northern No. 6 marker marks both the entrance to the The Rusk channel and the north entrance of The Sluice.
Rosslare Harbour is addressed from the north through the North Shear Channel. This in turn is addressed from further north by passing through the aforementioned Rusk Channel, or passing between the north end of Lucifer Bank, discussed presently, and the south end of the Blackwater Bank. A course is then steered for the light structure on the head of the breakwater bearing on a 195°(T) that leads through North Shear Channel to the harbour – reciprocal or northbound bearing 015°(T).
This passes to north and east of the Long Bank that extends along the front of both Rosslare Bay and Wexford Harbour. The Long Bank lies in a north by northeast direction and is 4.5 miles long and about half a mile wide. The shallowest part is 2.8 metres near the center of the bank. The south end is marked by the aforementioned South Long, but the north end and western side are also marked by a cardinal and starboard marker.
North Long – North Cardinal Q position: 52° 21.432’N, 006° 16.967’W
West Long – Green Can Buoy Q G position: 52° 18.174’N, 006° 17.963’W
A noteworthy extension to the north of the Long Bank, and the North Long buoy, are Barham Shoals, with 8.2 metres of cover.
The southernmost sand bank that encloses Rosslare Bay’s eastern side is Holdens Bed. It is approximately three-quarters of a mile long, north to south, and a quarter of a mile wide. Located immediately to the southwest of the Long Bank it may be considered a detached portion of this larger bank. The Holdens Bed has 5.8 metres of water at its shallowest point and its western edge is steep-to.
Outside the Long Bank, five miles east by southeast from Rosslare Point, resides Lucifer Bank. It is about 1.5 miles in length, lying in a north-northeast and south-southwest direction, and nearly two-thirds of a mile wide, with 3.5 to 6.5 metres over it.
Less than two miles to the east of the Long bank, and merging into the southern end of Lucifer Bank, New Grounds is a narrow bank of sand 1.75 miles long, with 3.5 metres of water, and 10 to 23 metres close-to on either side. Both New Ground and Lucifer are marked by an East Cardinal, positioned well east and south of these banks, on the seaward side.
Lucifer - East Cardinal VQ (3) 5s position: 52° 17.035’N, 006° 12.671’W
Inshore to the southeast of the Raven is Wexford Harbour that is a vast water covered estuary to the River Slaney. More than half of the estuary uncovers and the remainder is very shallow. Four miles to the west of the estuary Wexford town quay and two church spires, standing on the raised west bank of the river, are conspicuous. Rosslare Point, just over 2 miles south southwest of Raven Point, marks the southern extremity of the harbour.
A series of moving sand bars complicating access to Wexford Harbour of which the Dogger Bank, extends out a mile from the opening between the two adjacent points of Rosslare to the Raven Points. It is made up of hard sand and some gravel that dries in places. This area is subject to significant shifting sands plus changing depths and Wexford Bar Buoy will be found marking the area. The Bar Buoy is an orange spherical marker that typically resides on the 5 metre contour. This marks the entrance to the ever shifting harbour channel through the bar. From here an annual track of buoys mark the centre of the channel into the town quay.
The area of water between Wexford Harbour and Rosslare Harbour is called Rosslare Bay. Otherwise known as South Bay, it is situated between Greenore Point and the entrance to Wexford harbour, 6 miles to the north and offers a good anchorage. The shoreline here is initially characterised by low ranges of clay cliffs that reach 2 miles northwest of Rosslare Harbour. At this point a large flat-roofed hotel building, with a water tower, close south - southeast, is conspicuous. Progressing further north the shore gradually slopes down to a strip of sand hills terminating at Rosslare Point to form the east side of Wexford Harbour. Rosslare Bay is shallow near the shore, with 5 metres of water at 1 mile's distance off and out in the North Sheer, close to the banks, 12 to 13 metres will be found.
Rosslare Harbour and Bay are entered and exited to the south via the South Shear Channel. The South Shear Channel passes south of the Holden’s Bed and Long Bank. The North Shear Channel passes north and west of it.
The South Shear is immediately south of Holdens Bed bank and the southern end of the Long Bank. It is half a mile wide with a controlled depth of 6.7 metres at the entrance decreasing to 3.9 to 4.5 metres off the head of the harbour breakwater. The key northern markers for the South Shear are starboard markers off the Holdens Bank plus a south cardinal off the southern end of the Long Bank. All of the following markers should be passed to starboard on entry.
West Holdens – Starboard Buoy Fl (3) G 10s position: 52° 15.763'N, 006° 18.747'W
South Holdens – Starboard Buoy Fl (2) G 6s position: 52° 15.146'N, 006° 17.249'W
South Long - South Cardinal VQ (6) + LFl 10s position: 52° 14.835’N, 006° 15.647’W
The South Shear’s southern dangers, on the opposite or south side of the channel, are the shoals and reefs surrounding the mainland’s Greenore Point plus the Splaugh Rock. These are marked by the following markers that should be passed to port on entry.
Splaugh - Red Can Buoy Fl R 6s position: 52° 14.432’N, 006° 16.774’W
Calmines - Red Can Buoy Fl R 2s position: 52° 14.997’N, 006° 17.781’w
The channel, along with the North Sheer, is supported at night by a white sector light from red metal tower set on Rosslare Harbour pierhead.
Pierhead light – Red tower Oc.W.R.G. 5s 15m 13-10M position: 52° 15.430’N, 006° 20.320’W
The light sectors are as follows; Green 098°-188°, White-208°, Red -246°, Green-283°, White-286°, Red-320°.
Vessels continuing south and west may avail of the ‘Westbound; Rosslare to Cork Harbour’ and Irish coastal description in ‘Routes’.
Waypoint 1: Dublin Bay buoy, 53° 19.912' N, 006° 4.646' W
Dublin Bays central marker situated in the middle of the bay.
Waypoint 2: Rosslare Harbour Pierhead light, 52° 15.430' N, 006° 20.320' W
Red tower Oc.W.R.G. 5s 15m 13-10M
What tidal notes are available?We are now approaching the next tidal event that will be Springs, need more detailed tidal planning information?
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 is the best sailing time?May to September is the traditional Irish Sailing season with June July offering the best weather. June and July’s statistical incidence of strong winds are however two days of winds up to force seven. As such, depending on personal sailing preferences, a vessel may expect to be held-up or enjoy robust sailing conditions. Ireland is not subject to persistent fog. Statistically complete days of persistent fog occur less than once in a decade.
What weather information is available?Weather information available from our Irish information page. If you're looking for shelter, facilities, or a type of location along this coast, use our find resources tool.
Are there any security concerns?Never been a security issue known to have occurred sailing off the Irish coast.
With thanks to:inyourfootsteps.com research
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