Lock Guidance Notes


The lock is manned 24 hours a day enabling access to and from the marina at all states of the tide (although those vessels that draw over 2 metres should always check first, in case of extreme low tides).


Lock movements are generally controlled by Traffic Lights and boats are requested not to enter the lock against a RED Traffic Light unless specifically advised to do so by the duty lockmaster.


Berth allocation is normally conducted in the lock and a map showing the allocated berth is issued with other relevant Marina information


Shotley marina operates on Channel 80 for General Marina Traffic Control.

Vessels are advised to monitor those channels whilst approaching the marina, locking through and whilst underway within the marina basin. This allows for instant communication between the tower and you if and when required. Before making your transmission please monitor the appropriate channel for a short time to ensure it is not being used.


The lock is approached by passing through the Marker Posts positioned in the River Stour and proceeding along the dredged channel to the Lock entrance using the Inogen Leading Light as guidance.

The marker posts are positioned 2.5 cables North West of the Ganges Buoy and are marked as follows:

  • PORT HAND – Yellow and Black post with an East Cardinal Topmark
    Quick flash White every 5 seconds
  • STARBOARD HAND – Green post with Starboard Hand Topmark
    Group Flash (4) Green every 15 seconds

The Marker Posts are approximately 50 feet apart


The Inogen Leading Light is situated on the Starboard Side of the Lock Entrance. When a vessel is on the correct line of approach in the Entrance Channel a vertical Black line is seen in the centre of an orange screen. Any deviation from the correct bearing will cause the black vertical line to change to arrows. Follow the arrows to come back to the correct line of approach.


At low water springs owners with a draught in excess of 1.8 metres should contact the Lockmaster to check that there is sufficient water over the sill for them to safely enter the lock.


When approaching the Marker Posts call the Lockmaster on VHF Channel 80 If there is little or no traffic then you can expert to be called to the lock.

At busy periods be prepared to stem the tide and await your turn. The Lockmaster will endeavour to maintain a fair queuing system, however, his priority is the safe and speedy operation of the lock.

On entering the lock be prepared to moor either side and move to the front of the lock, or as near to the next boat’s stern as safety allows. Boats should be secured fore and aft by lines to the cleats on the floating fenders.

With many newer vessels having a beam that is in excess of half the width of the lock, owners will appreciate that in order to maximise the available lock space, boats will on occasions be called out of turn.

In order to ensure fairness during particularly busy periods, owners are requested not to radio in, in order to add their boats name to the list until they actually arrive at the existing queue of boats.


Before leaving your berth contact the Lockmaster on VHF Channel 80. If there is little or no traffic you will be called down to the lock or the waiting pontoon. At busy times you may be requested to remain on your berth if the lock waiting pontoon is congested.

Owners of particularly large or difficult to manoeuvre boats should advise the Lockmaster accordingly for specific instructions as to when to leave the berth. Owners of vessels queuing on the waiting pontoon will appreciate that some larger vessels are held on their berths until it is their turn. These vessels will be called from their berth directly into the lock only when it is their turn.

On entering the lock be prepared to moor either side and move to the front of the lock, or as near to the next boat’s stern as safety allows. Boats should be secured fore and aft by lines to the cleats on the floating fenders.

On proceeding from the Lock towards the Marker Posts at the end of the dredged channel, the helmsperson should look behind him/her at the Inogen Leading Light to ensure that the boat is keeping to the channel.


Freeflow occurs at the time leading up to high water, and varies in length from a few minutes to one hour or more. In general Spring tides have longer freeflow periods than Neap tides. However, the predicted time of freeflow is dependent upon Lock movements during the previous 12 hours and is therefore difficult to accurately predict.

Care should be taken when going through the Lock as there can be a considerable current flowing in from the Harbour. It is necessary for some visiting boats to slow down or stop when entering to enable the Lockmaster to allocate a berth.