• The triangular Basin is flanked by Bathurst Parade, Lower Guinea Street and Commercial Road (John Sebastian Quay). Its entrance to the main harbour runs along Trin Mills.
  • British Admiralty Map Reference 1179 covers the Bristol Channel area, including the floating harbour of which Bathurst Basin forms a small part.
  • The location of the entrance to Bathurst Basin is  51 degrees 26 minutes  ‘ 54 seconds  North / 02 degrees 35 minutes  ‘ 40 seconds West.
  • What 3 words – trail.tones.wisely

The Basin

Bristol Harbour Master’s Office kindly provided the following information:  

  • There is currently no maximum ‘length’ for vessels entering the basin. However, there are physical restraints due to the lock entrance and current pontoon locations – which are movable. The John Sebastian Lightship is approximately 35 metres (114.8 feet) long with a 8 metre  (26.25 feet) beam.
  • 8 metres would probably be the maximum ‘beam’ due to the basin entrance, but a vessel may be longer than 35 metres.
  • The ‘safe turning circle’ is 50 meters (164 feet) or 60 metres (196.85 feet) if the pontoons were removed, which requires action by the Harbour Master. 
  • Draught of 4 metres (13.12 feet)
  • The Harbour level is set to keep it steady at around 9.6 m above Newlyn datum.
  • Water Depth is 4.9m (survey 2019)
  • Salinity: brackish – density is not measured

FOBB advises that you seek Harbour Master advice before entering the Basin and that, as a guide, you assume an Under Keel Clearance (UKC) of 10% of vessel draught. 

The ‘Useful Links’ menu at the side of this page includes information on entering and leaving Bristol Harbour and on mooring, as well as harbour contact details.

Water quality

Surface water samples are taken at 43 sites in the Floating Harbour. The latest readings for selected sites are available on the Bristol City Council webpage on water quality but Bathurst Basin is not covered on this page. Monitoring surface water quality in the Basin is essential for two reasons:

  • The flow of water through the Basin is limited, unlike that in the main harbour where regular scouring allows water to flow through. This may lead to a build-up of unwanted toxins in the Basin.
  • The Basin is used by a large number of leisure pursuits – canoeing, paddle-boarding, kayaking – as, unlike the main harbour, there is little water traffic to interrupt their activities. Swimming is rightly prohibited in the harbour, but inevitably individuals enter the water accidentally. It is vital to post regular readings for Bathurst Basin, so that recreational users can avoid using the Basin when health risks are high.

Water quality testing in Bathurst Basin was conducted monthly from April 1994 until October 2012, when it ceased. Following a Freedom of Information request by FOBB, the water was tested on three occasions – 13th, 20th and 27th September. But regular monthly testing in the Basin has not been resumed because, in the words of a Council officer, ‘ the results of bacteriological sampling here were comparable to the levels monitored in the main body of the harbour.’

The readings in the Basin for the 27th September were:

  • Total Coliforms: 26,000 CFUs (colony forming units)  per 100 ml.
  • Escherichia coli (E-coli):  3,200 CFUs per 100ml. These bacteria strains pose a greater threat as they can include varieties that are a real health hazard.

If E-Coli levels go above 5,000 CFUs per 100ml at the Baltic Wharf site or across all other sites, the Council will post a warning notice on its website (link above). The Council advises that individuals avoid using the harbour during this time. They will conduct daily testing until levels improve. We are concerned that recreational users of Bathurst Basin will not be be able to chek if the Basin has unusually high levels of bacteria.

The Marina

The marina in Bathurst Basin is run by Cabot Cruising Club who provided the  answers to these questions:

  • How marine berths do you provide?  46 berths for club vessels.
  • Are there length /beam /draft restrictions? Aside from the 5 narrowboats on the Merchant Landing Quay, vessels aside the pontoons would need to be around 12 meters or under in length, no height restriction, no beam restriction albeit a 12 meter vessel will not have excessive beam. Likewise, draft will be within limits on a vessel this size.
  • What utilities are provided? The club provides power and water to its moored vessels. Sewage waste disposal is either a pump-out facility at Bristol Marina or emptying of toilet cassettes at the City Council toilet block on our quayside.
  • Are there showers? Yes, there is a shower in each of the toilets in the City Council run block on the quayside in the car park. Rather dated though!
  • Are there storage rooms? Not for berth holders.

Conservation Orders

Grade 2 Listings