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Coleraine

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Overview





Coleraine is situated five miles upriver from the entrance to the River Bann on the north coast of Ireland. It provides berthing at a fully serviced marina and the opportunity to come alongside the town quay.

The River Bann provides complete protection and all round shelter. River access is straightforward between well-lit stone training walls assisted by alignment beacons and leading lights. Once through the entrance there are no issues progressing up the well-marked river to Coleraine Marina. The entrance however is subject to swell, outflow overfalls, and a dangerous surf in moderately adverse conditions where careful planning is required. In the worst case, with north and northwest gales, the sea breaks right across it rendering it impassable. Consequently no attempt should be made by a newcomer in any onshore winds of Force 6 or above.
Please note

As a rule when overfalls are visible on the approach or the sea is noticeably breaking upon the pierheads, an entry should not be attempted. Furthermore, it is best to plan an approach to be at slack water or the first of a rising tide. The town quay requires a bridge lift for vessels of any airdraft.




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Keyfacts for Coleraine
Berthing  028 7034 4768     HM  028 7034 2403      leisure@coleraine.gov.uk      Ch.M
Approaches
4 stars: Straightforward; when unaffected by weather from difficult quadrants or tidal consideration, no overly complex dangers.
Shelter
5 stars: Complete protection; all-round shelter in all reasonable conditions.


Considerations
Dangerous to enter when it is Beaufort force 6 or more from N, NNE, NE, W, WNW, NW and NNW.Restriction: may only reasonably accommodate vessels less than a specific lengthNote: fish farming activity in the vicinity of this locationNote: strong tides or currents in the area that require considerationNote: overfalls, tidal rips or breakers in the vacinityNote: harbour fees may be charged


Nature
Marina or pontoon berthing facilitiesVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementNavigation lights to support a night approachUrban nature,  anything from a small town of more 5,000 inhabitants  to a large cityScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity
Facilities
Water available via tapDiesel fuel available alongsideGas availableTop up fuel available in the area via jerry cansMini-supermarket or supermarket availableExtensive shopping available in the areaSlipway availableLaundry facilities availableShore power available alongsideShore based toilet facilitiesShowers available in the vicinity or by arrangementHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationCashpoint or bank available in the areaPost Office in the areaInternet café in the areaDoctor or hospital in the areaPharmacy in the areaChandlery available in the areaTrolley or cart available for unloading and loadingMSD (marine sanitation device) pump out facilitiesHaul-out capabilities via arrangementBoatyard with hard-standing available here; covered or uncoveredMarine engineering services available in the areaElectronics or electronic repair available in the areaBus service available in the areaTrain or tram service available in the areaBicycle hire available in the areaCar hire available in the areaTourist Information office availableHandicapped access supportedShore based family recreation in the area

Last modified
May 30th 2017; suggest a correction?

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Now Force

Summary* Restrictions apply

A completely protected location with straightforward access.

LWS draught

3 metres (9.84 feet).

Today's tide estimates

LW 03:19 (0.8m) HW 09:49 (2.2m)
LW 15:51 (0.8m) HW 22:26 (2.3m)
Now approaching Neaps

Swell today




Approaches
4 stars: Straightforward; when unaffected by weather from difficult quadrants or tidal consideration, no overly complex dangers.
Shelter
5 stars: Complete protection; all-round shelter in all reasonable conditions.


Considerations
Dangerous to enter when it is Beaufort force 6 or more from N, NNE, NE, W, WNW, NW and NNW.Restriction: may only reasonably accommodate vessels less than a specific lengthNote: fish farming activity in the vicinity of this locationNote: strong tides or currents in the area that require considerationNote: overfalls, tidal rips or breakers in the vacinityNote: harbour fees may be charged


Nature
Marina or pontoon berthing facilitiesVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementNavigation lights to support a night approachUrban nature,  anything from a small town of more 5,000 inhabitants  to a large cityScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity
Facilities
Water available via tapDiesel fuel available alongsideGas availableTop up fuel available in the area via jerry cansMini-supermarket or supermarket availableExtensive shopping available in the areaSlipway availableLaundry facilities availableShore power available alongsideShore based toilet facilitiesShowers available in the vicinity or by arrangementHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationCashpoint or bank available in the areaPost Office in the areaInternet café in the areaDoctor or hospital in the areaPharmacy in the areaChandlery available in the areaTrolley or cart available for unloading and loadingMSD (marine sanitation device) pump out facilitiesHaul-out capabilities via arrangementBoatyard with hard-standing available here; covered or uncoveredMarine engineering services available in the areaElectronics or electronic repair available in the areaBus service available in the areaTrain or tram service available in the areaBicycle hire available in the areaCar hire available in the areaTourist Information office availableHandicapped access supportedShore based family recreation in the area

Last modified
May 30th 2017; suggest a correction?

Position and approaches
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Haven position

55° 8.660' N, 006° 40.590' W

This is immediately adjacent to the north-western most pontoon of Coleraine Marina.

What is the initial fix?

The following River Bann Entrance Initial Fix will set up a final approach:
55° 10.565' N, 006° 46.493' W
It is approximately six hundred metres north-northwest of the river entrance. It is set in open water, upon the 10 metre contour, in the 165° alignment of leading lights that lead between the pierheads. An approach of 165° will lead through the entrance from here.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in the east and southbound Route location or north and westbound Route location sequenced 'Malin Head to Strangford Lough' coastal description. With the river entrance situated less than five miles west by southwest of Ramore Head the coastal directions provided for Portrush Click to view haven may be used for general approaches to the area.

  • Approach Barmouth's conspicuous training walls east of north and identify the leading marks.

  • Steer in keeping the transits in-line on 165°T and then follow the marks upriver.



Not what you need?
Try our Advanced Havens Search tool to find locations with the specific attributes you need, or click the 'Next', coastal clockwise, or 'Previous', coastal anti-clockwise, buttons to progress through neighbouring havens. Below are the ten nearest havens to Coleraine for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line distance
  1. Seatons Marina - 0.5 miles NW
  2. The Lower River Bann - 1.7 miles WNW
  3. Portrush Harbour - 2.4 miles N
  4. Portballintrae - 3.9 miles NE
  5. White Bay - 6.1 miles WNW
  6. Portnocker - 6.2 miles WNW
  7. Cornashamma Bay - 6.3 miles WNW
  8. Magilligan Point - 6.5 miles WNW
  9. Portkill - 6.5 miles WNW
  10. Silver Strand - 6.5 miles WNW
Ten nearest havens by straight line distance
  1. Seatons Marina - 0.5 miles NW
  2. The Lower River Bann - 1.7 miles WNW
  3. Portrush Harbour - 2.4 miles N
  4. Portballintrae - 3.9 miles NE
  5. White Bay - 6.1 miles WNW
  6. Portnocker - 6.2 miles WNW
  7. Cornashamma Bay - 6.3 miles WNW
  8. Magilligan Point - 6.5 miles WNW
  9. Portkill - 6.5 miles WNW
  10. Silver Strand - 6.5 miles WNW
Alternatively the above can be ordered by compass direction or coastal sequence


How to get in?
Please use our integrated Navionics chart to appraise the haven and its approaches. Navionics charts feature in premier plotters from B&G, Raymarine, Magellan and are also available on tablets. Open the chart in a larger viewing area by clicking the expand to 'new tab' or the 'full screen' option.

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Coleraine is a large town and small port that lies just under five miles upriver from the entrance to the River Bann. It is the largest town on the Causeway Coast and it is sited at the lowest bridgeable point of the river where it is 90 metres wide. The River Bann is the longest river in Ulster, with the Lower and Upper Banns combined its length is 129 km or 80 miles. Exiting into the Atlantic at Barmouth, on the north coast, the river winds its way from its source in the Mourne Mountains, situated in the southeast corner of Northern Ireland, pausing in the middle to widen into the enormous Lough Neagh.



Convergance Point With the river entrance situated less than five miles west by southwest of Ramore Head the coastal directions provided for Portrush Click to view haven may be used for general approaches to the area.


Convergance Point Barmouth where the River Bann enters the Atlantic between stone training walls, is situated two miles southwest of Portstewart Point. It is made highly conspicuous by its large stone breakwaters projecting 400 metres out from the shore.

On the eastern side from Portstewart Point the rocky coast turns south and then levels to a sandy beach backed by a range of sand-hills. This beach, called Portstewart Strand, leads to the river entrance that is made readily apparent by the training walls. On the west side high sand ridges extend east along the coast for about four miles from Magilligan Point. Then, for a further two miles, rocky cliffs extend up to the entrance to the River Bann.

Just over a mile before the entrance on the western side, is the conspicuous classical Mussenden Temple situated on the edge of the rocky cliffs. This is a white tower approximately five metres in height overlooking Castlerock Strand that leads to the entrance. By keeping at least half a mile off shore the approaches to Barmouth will be clear of all dangers.
Please note

The second half of both flood and ebb tides have a beneficial tidal eddy that runs along the coast between Ramore Head and the River Bann.







Initial fix location The River Bann Entrance initial fix is approximately six hundred metres north-northwest of the river mouth and set on the 165°T leading lights alignment.

The river entrance is situated between stone training walls that project 400 metres north from the beaches. The east pierhead has a 4.5 metre high white conical concrete tower.

Barmouth East Pierhead - Fl R 5s 6m 2M position: 55° 10.323'N, 006°46.338' W

The west pierhead has a green metal post Fl G 5s 4m 2M. This is set about one third of the way back along the West Mole. It is obscured from north round to west.

Situated on the west bank of the river are the leading light beacons that are 6 metres and 14 metres in elevation. The front is situated south-southeast of the entrance and it is a five metre high white pyramidal metal tower; Oc 5s 6m 2M. The rear is situated approximately 300 metres further south southeast and it is a white square concrete tower; Oc 5s 14m 2M.

Barmouth rear Alignment Marker - Oc.5s.14m2M position: 55° 9.869' N 006° 46.173' W


Before progressing, check that there are no commercial traffic movements and carefully monitor conditions for signs of breaking water on the training walls. If in any way uncertain it is advisable to phone Coleraine Harbour Radio on P: +44 28 70 34 2012 or via VHF on Channel 12. The harbour office monitors the entrance by CCTV and they are best set to advise approaching vessels if there is in any uncertainty.





From the initial fix, set east of north on transit, identify the leading marks and steer in keeping them in-line on 165°T. Expect to pass over the sand bar which is constantly moving on this transit. It is dredged to a minimum depth of approximately 3.5 metres.

Enter the 45 metre wide channel between the pierheads where the least depth in the entrance is 2.9 metres. Keep well clear of the area off the ends of the pierheads and tend towards the east wall as the western wall is foul with boulders.
Please note

Do not cut in at angles into the entrance as both piers have enormous off-lying rock boulders.



Once inside the river channel maintain a uniform width of about 200 metres and a depth of 3.4 metres to Coleraine which is well marked with lit beacons; green Fl G 5s on the southwest side and red Fl R 5s on the northeast side.


The only exception is the first port hand marker on entry with the port mark off Ballyaghran Point and opposite the leading marks. This mark oddly appears almost centre channel with a Lt Fl R 3s. Nevertheless, pass this to port as depths reduce abruptly outside the marked channel in the River Bann.


From here it is simply a matter of following the well-marked channel to Coleraine that has a least width of 45 metres all the way. It is possible to anchor immediately inside the entrance of the Lower Bann Click to view haven as it provides complete protection from any seaway but little in the way of air cover as it has low ground all round.


The first marina encountered is the private Seatons Marina Click to view haven on the northeast bank that potentionally has some visitor berths and is covered separately. It is situated approximately three miles from the entrance and just over a mile before Coleraine.



Haven location Coleraine marina is situated on the northeast bank just over four miles from the entrance and approximately a mile upriver and to the north of the town. The 60 berth marina has depths of 3 metres alongside the outer end pontoons, reducing to 1.4 metres nearer the bank. Fifteen berths are available for visitors and typically most boats visiting Coleraine stay here.

It is possible to berth alongside the long commercial town quay with the permission of the harbour master. Leisure craft that carry any height will require the opening of the 4 to 9 metres airdraft railway bridge to pass upstream. To request an opening contact the harbour master P: +44 28 70 342403 a few hours in advance. The Riversdale Quay will appear on the east bank once past the railway bridge.







What's the story here?
Coleraine takes its name from the Irish Cúil Raithin meaning ‘corner/nook of ferns’ or 'ferny corner'. Legend has it that this name goes back to the 5th Century and the coming of St. Patrick.


The Saint was received here with great honour and hospitality by the area’s chieftain named Nadslua. He offered the Saint a site to build his church next to the River Bann. The area was overgrown with ferns, a ‘nook of ferns’, which lent the church the name and by extension the area. This name was later anglicised as Colrain, Colerain and finally Coleraine.


But Ireland’s history runs much deeper here than the 5th century. Coleraine is home to the Mountsandel site on the east bank of the river. Ancient wooden houses were excavated here that were carbon dated to 7,000BC. At 9,000 years old this makes it the oldest site with evidence of human settlement in Ireland. The impressive Mount Sandel fort may be accessed through Mountsandel forest with the closest entrance being near to the side of Coleraine Courthouse.




Being situated at the lowest bridgeable point of the River Bann, where the river is 90 metres wide, Coleraine has always been a strategic area that has been hotly contested through the centuries. It was placed under siege twice by both Kings of Munster and Ulster. The town was also subject to the Elizabethan, Cromwellian and Williamite wars. Finally in the 17th century with the 'Plantation' of English and Scottish settlers, backed by the companies of the city of London, a commercial basis was created from which Coleraine developed from two urban communities. The slightly skewed street pattern of Coleraine's town centre is legacy of that early exercise in town planning. Traces of the lines of ramparts that provided the Plantation town with its defences are also visible.


Further significant expansion came throughout the 19th century with the arrival of industrialisation. The Moles protecting the entrance to the river were built in the 1880’s and repaired and improved in 1929. The river port was expanded and handled cargoes of coal, potatoes and naptha. The coming of the railway further spurred development but the town was set to see its greatest expansion in the 20th century after the Second World War. This was after the 1965 arrival of one of the campuses of the University of Ulster which effectively doubled the population. After this Coleraine took on all the hallmarks of a university town with the expansion of associated commerce along with the development of sporting and recreational facilities. This bolstered the town’s size from an area of less than 2 square km in the early part of the 20th century, to the present more dispersed town of about 11 square km situated on both sides of the river with the University of Ulster on its northern outskirts.


Today Coleraine is a prosperous market town renowned for education, traditional linen, whiskey and salmon fishery. It can be described as a busy town, that quietly retires at night with much of the night life being taken up by the nearby seaside towns of Portrush and Portstewart.


The town’s rich history is reflected in its architecture that may be easily explored via walks around it and along the scenic river banks. The Visitor Information Centre in Coleraine provides a Walking Heritage Trail, ‘Around the Ramparts’ and also a historical touring route to explore the 17th century plantation town. Within the historically significant Mountsandel forest there are two linear paths, one along the top of the slope and the other at the foot of the slope, partly following the line of the river. Walkers can combine the two paths to form a circular route, or make use of the steps at the Fort to create alternative routes. Immediately south of the town there is a weir where the migrating salmon can be seen leaping through a series of steps on their route to their hatching grounds. Alongside this Coleraine has a wide range of local activities available that the visitor centre can best advise on.


From a purely cruising point of view Coleraine offers complete protection with the potential to securely leave a boat, and visit the Giant's Causeway, a twenty–five-minute bus ride away, and the distillery village of Bushmills, also well-served by buses. The Mussenden Temple, seen atop a precipitous cliff, is also close by overlooking County Donegal in one direction and Scotland in another. The river offers the option to cruise Lough Neigh, highlighted separately in the Lower Bann Click to view haven entry, plus the excellent provisioning available here.


What facilities are available?
Coleraine Marina offers visiting Cruisers all facilities and caters for vessels up to 60ft. in overall length. Berths are furnished with water and electricity, and the modern marina building offers changing & showering facilities plus a chandlery that caters for bottled gas. Diesel and petrol are also available and there is a slipway that provides launch capabilities for vessels up to 20ft. Car and cycle hire can be arranged at the office. The marina has a travelift for launching vessels up to 40ft in overall length and 13 tons displacement, and a hard standing for 25 boats.

With a population of almost 25,000, shopping in Coleraine is excellent. Likewise transport connections are good to Belfast 55 miles (88.5 km) to the northwest, and to Derry 30 miles (48.3 km) east, both of which are linked by major roads and railway connections. Therefore the City of Derry Airport, and Belfast International Airport, the main regional airport to the south, and George Best Belfast City Airport to the southeast, are all relatively accessible from Coleraine. The Riversdale Quay in Coleraine has a 35 tonne derrick crane available for lifting yachts where some maybe lifted with masts rigged. Some space is available for wintering here on the hard, in the open or undercover.


Any security concerns?
The marina has twenty four hour security.


With thanks to:
Terry Crawford, local boatman of many decades. Photography with thanks to Colin Park, mvghuber, Albert Bridge, Alex Mc Gregor, Willie Duffin, Lindy Buckley, Des Colhoun, Rossographer and Kyle Monahan.


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