Mean Tidal Ranges Springs 4.0m; Neaps 1.9m.
There is a double high water at springs which gives a stand of 2 hours. At neaps there is a long stand. However wind direction, force and barometric pressure can materially alter these conditions and may lower sea level by up to 0.6m.
On approach from the Solent and Calshot the first thing you see is the Hamble Point Cardinal Mark Southerly Cardinal – Q(6)+LF1. 15s).
On approaching from Southampton ensure the Hamble Beacon Number 2 (Easterly Cardinal Q (3) 10s) is observed – and be aware that depending on the state of the tide shoaling occurs to the north of the beacon.
A River wide 6 knot speed limit with a wash limit commences at Beacon Number 1.
Two sector lights, both showing red, white and green, give guidance into the entrance of the river. The white light indicates the area of the main channel.
The first sector light is located at Hamble Point (Oc (2) WRG 12s, 351°-W 353° - leads 352° into the River entrance.
Midway between No.5 and 7 beacons alter course 028° in the white sector from the second sector light at Warsash (Iso WRG 6s) 027° - W - 029°.
Beacon number 2 is an Easterly Cardinal mark ( Q(3) 10s 2M)
Beacons 1,3, 5, 7 and 9 are green, lit and fitted with radar reflectors.
Beacons 4, 6, 8 and 10 are red, lit and fitted with radar reflectors.
Caution is required at low water, depending on the state of the tide, as some marks stand in shallow water.
The main channel into the River opens up as the Life Boat Jetty is reached.
4 starboard hand buoys, which are lit, indicate the channel on the starboard side and a Preferred Channel to Starboard Mark (Fl (2+1)R.10s) at the southern end of the visitors pontoon (pile coloured Red – Green – Red) indicates the port hand side of the main channel.
The area immediately south of the visitors pontoon is an area of navigational concern as vessels alter course to approach Hamble Point Marina.
Relatively large cruise vessels enter the Hamble regularly during the summer. Although highly manoeuvrable in light winds, in strong wind conditions handling becomes more difficult at low speeds. Smaller craft should keep clear accordingly.
Some dinghy races start and finish in the River but it is a race instruction that they keep clear of other River users, who should nonetheless show courtesy to those racing.
There is no Rule against sailing in the River but the prudent yachtsman will have his motor instantly available and lower sails when the fairway becomes overcrowded. It is unseamanlike for a yacht or dinghy to hoist a spinnaker in the congested waters above the Warsash Maritime Academy.
These vessels are required to call Hamble Harbour Radio (Channel 68) on entry or before getting underway. Southampton Harbour also requires these vessels to call and monitor Southampton VTS (Channel 12), inbound when passing Nab Tower, and when entering Southampton Harbour waters from the West Solent and adjoining harbours.
Trailer Launched Vessels and PWC's are advised to launch at Warsash Public Slipway giving them direct access to Southampton Water, negating a lengthy transit down a crowded River.