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TSS in the channel

Sneds

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26 Feb 2007
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No TSS
To narrow I guess, especially up the Brito; end
It is quite something to witness two massive car carriers passing as though narrow boats on a canal!
 

TwoHooter

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marinetraffic.com MMSI 235116115
Sneds is right, there is no TSS in the Bristol Chanel and from personal experience I can tell you that Bristol VTS on VHF CH. 12 do not want you to talk to them unless absolutely necessary, just keep a listening watch. You can usually hear the pilots on the merchant vessels telling each other what they are going to do and on one occasion I spoke to a Car Carrier to tell it my intentions which seemed to be appreciated. West of Battery Point it is safe to navigate small craft outside the buoyed channel which keeps one clear of the BUVs (Big Ugly Vessels).

Edit: picture of BUV
 
Last edited:

Allan

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17 Mar 2004
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I've always treated the area near the Denny cardinal much like a TSS. That is, stay outside the bouys and only cross to Portishead at ninety degrees to the traffic when it's totally clear. When heading to the Avon one day I followed a car carrier passed Portishead, as I was sailing well I drifted out to leave him on my starboard side as he had announced on channel 12 he was going into Portbury. He then told VTS he was ready to turn to Port! A bit confused, I called him and he confirmed his intention to turn and stem the tide for his approach into Portbury. I happily tightened up and passed around his stern into the Avon. Definitely worth monitoring channel 12!
Bristol VTS and/or Bristol harbour authority used to issue a brochure about leisure boating in the approaches to Avonmouth. It had a picture of two yachts leaving the Avon on the front. It's very informative and as one of the yacht skippers was me, I can only assume we were doing the correct thing!
Allan
 

mattonthesea

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28 Nov 2009
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Bristol
Some of the pamphlet is in this pdf

Edit: refused file attachment. Do search for
Avonmouth Guide Leisure Craft

and it's the Safety Guidance one from Bristol.gov.uk
 

Sneds

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26 Feb 2007
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Ditto re speaking with VTS, they are not interested in leisure traffic, keep a listening watch especially when leaving the Avon
They may ask you to wait if there is a ship leaving Avounmouth or Portbury, but if you can’t see the ship and realise you should keep out of its way, well perhaps you should’ve gone to Specsavers!
Do not call them up at the reporting points, these are for commercial traffic and not us and I cringe when I hear leisure sailors “reporting in” or asking permission, this is not Heathrow
 

TwoHooter

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I've not seen that chartlet before. What it shows is what I have done when we were based at Portishead including a trip up to Bristol (when we passed Balmoral under the suspension bridge - marvellous). Except for one thing. I don't like the look of the Inshore route where it passes Battery Point. It's too close. And the big ships don't come in as close as the pink channel suggests, they are constrained by the passage between Denny Shoal SCB and Firefly SHB. There might be a tug closer in while waiting for an arrival but I think you can be further off Battery Point than the chartlet shows and still be out of everyone's way. Having said that, if there was a big ship around I would always take the offshore route and keep the red cans between me and the Bristol shore.

Why are chartlets like this always marked 'Not to be used for navigation'? It's just irritating. It's not going to cover the publisher if there is a valid claim for negligence. It's settled law that documents are to be construed on their face not on what they are called. This is issued by a port authority, it's prima facie intended to tell skippers where to go (and not go), so what possible benefit to anyone is there from marking it 'Not to be used for navigation'? Of course it's going to be used for navigation, that's its sole purpose. Daft.
 

mattonthesea

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28 Nov 2009
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Bristol
I've almost always run up the inshore route. And several times had big'ns pass. No problems but it is a little worrying by Portishead Point!
The time I went up the offshore route I was concerned that we wouldn't make the Avon!

A couple of times I have spoken to the ships themselves as not all follow the channel. Once or twice I have called VTS for verification. They hailed me once; City Docks had reported our destination as Caribbean and VTS wanted to wish me luck 🤓
 

jwilson

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22 Jul 2006
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5,245
Unless the rocks have changed a lot in the last 40 years you can take almost any yacht within ten feet of the rocks at Battery Point safely when above half tide. You are not likely to be there at LW. The one that will get you is the mud bank as you turn to starboard into the Avon.
 

Allan

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17 Mar 2004
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Location
Bristol
A testament to the strength/speed of the tide. I once left the Avon on the ebb just after a dredger left the entrance to Avonmouth. He dropped his spoil at the spoil ground off Portishead point. There can't be many spoil grounds in main shipping lanes.
Allan
 
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