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When approaching Cardiff by day, the Rannie Buoy (Port Hand Buoy) marks the extremity of rocks and sand spit off Lavernock Point. The South Cardiff Cardinal Buoy marks the southern extremity of the Cardiff Grounds. From a position between the two buoys make a course for the Outer Wrach Buoy (West Cardinal Buoy). Follow the Wrach Channel and buoyage into the Cardiff Bay Barrage Outer Harbour.


When approaching from the South or West, leave the Rannie Buoy (Fl(2)R.5s) to PORT and the South Cardiff (FIQ(6)+LFl.15s) to STARBOARD. Steer a course for the Outer Wrach Buoy (FIQ(9).15s). You will pick up the Sector Lights for the Wrach Channel (oc 1Os RWG). Stay in the white sector until you pick up the buoyed channel for the Cardiff Bay Outer Harbour, and Sector Light (LFI. WRG.5s).

The 'preferred channel to starboard' mark at the start of the Barrage approach channel is for large vessels approaching ABP Cardiff. Visitors to the Barrage should leave this mark to starboard on approaching the Barrage Outer Harbour. Note: This has a flashing red light at night.

Note: Vessels coming from King Road (Avonmouth) are advised to use the South/West Approach. It is important that you keep a careful watch for large vessels as they are severely constrained by their draught and this restricts their ability to manoeuvre. It is also required that you maintain a listening watch on VHF Ch. 68 (Cardiff Radio) during this time.

When on your final approach, you should call 'Barrage Control' on VHF Ch. 18 to request a lock in. They will advise you of the next available lock and give the instruction when to enter the Outer Harbour.

When navigating in this part of the Bristol Channel you should use Admiralty Charts 1182 and 1176 and the appropriate pilot books. The information shown below is intended as an aid to navigation only and should not be relied upon for navigational use. Rather it should be used in conjunction with official charts and hydrographic data.


Under normal circumstances, for average draft vessels (1.5m), full tidal access is possible. However, occasions will arise when the build-up of silt within the Outer Harbour will reduce access. Relevant information on draught and access will be passed on by 'Barrage Control' if the need arises. For present levels in the outer harbour, check out Cardiff Harbour Authority Website www. 'Free Flow' (simultaneous opening of both inner and outer gates) is only possible through lock 1. Vessels requiring this service are required to submit a written request giving one month's notice. Letters should be addressed to the Barrage Team.

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