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Ferris Bay

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Overview





Ferris Bay is situated on the northeast coast of Ireland immediately east of the entrance to Larne Lough. It is an anchorage outside Larne Lough between the entrance and Islandmagee’s northern promontories.

Ferris Bay is a good anchorage especially in conditions with a southerly quadrant, however, any conditions with a northerly component would make the anchorage untenable. In such circumstances, it would be advisable to move a short distance into Larne Lough. Accessing the bay is straight-forward at any stage of the tides as it is completely open to the northwest.
Please note

Larne Harbour is Northern Ireland's busiest ferry port with very fast cross channel ferries and shipping. Visiting yachts should take care not to impede this commercial traffic and make ‘Larne Port Control’ aware of your intentions prior to approach. The anchorage is close to where the ferries entering and exiting Larne Harbour which subjects it to wakes from the commercial ships. Although vessels will close in and travel slowly here, one should be prepared for a sudden ‘wake’ roll from these vessels.




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Keyfacts for Ferris Bay
Facilities
Marked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant family beach in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderQuick and easy access from open waterNavigation lights to support a night approachScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
None listed

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
3 metres (9.84 feet).

Approaches
4 stars: Straightforward; when unaffected by weather from difficult quadrants or tidal consideration, no overly complex dangers.
Shelter
4 stars: Good; assured night's sleep except from specific quarters.



Last modified
July 18th 2018

Summary

A good location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Marked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant family beach in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderQuick and easy access from open waterNavigation lights to support a night approachScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
None listed



Position and approaches
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Haven position

54° 51.126' N, 005° 47.190' W

This is set on the 2 metre contour within Ferris Bay's south-western corner.

What is the initial fix?

The following Larne Harbour Initial Fix will set up a final approach:
54° 51.580' N, 005° 47.550' W
Half a mile north of the harbour and approximately midway between Larne No. 1 and No. 2 Light buoys. This is set upon the leading lights alignment of 184.3° T that leads through the centre of the entrance channel.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in the northeast Ireland’s Coastal Overview for Malin Head to Strangford Lough Route location.

  • Approaches to bay can be found in the Larne Harbour Click to view haven entry.

  • Track into the middle of the bay staying well clear of the rocky spit extending northward from Ferris and Barr’s Point.


Not what you need?
Click the 'Next' and 'Previous' buttons to progress through neighbouring havens in a coastal 'clockwise' or 'anti-clockwise' sequence. Below are the ten nearest havens to Ferris Bay for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Brown’s Bay - 0.4 miles ENE
  2. Larne Harbour - 0.5 miles SSE
  3. Ballydowan - 1 miles SSE
  4. Magheramorne Point - 1.2 miles SSE
  5. Portmuck - 1.3 miles E
  6. Mill Bay - 1.3 miles SE
  7. Ballygalley Bay - 2.4 miles NW
  8. Whitehead - 4 miles SSE
  9. Carrickfergus Harbour & Marina - 5.3 miles S
  10. Glenarm Bay and Harbour - 5.6 miles NW
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Brown’s Bay - 0.4 miles ENE
  2. Larne Harbour - 0.5 miles SSE
  3. Ballydowan - 1 miles SSE
  4. Magheramorne Point - 1.2 miles SSE
  5. Portmuck - 1.3 miles E
  6. Mill Bay - 1.3 miles SE
  7. Ballygalley Bay - 2.4 miles NW
  8. Whitehead - 4 miles SSE
  9. Carrickfergus Harbour & Marina - 5.3 miles S
  10. Glenarm Bay and Harbour - 5.6 miles NW
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try our resources search

Chart
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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How to get in?


Ferris Bay is a small sandy northwest facing bay situated between Ferris and Barr’s points on the north side of the Islandmagee peninsula.

Convergance Point The bay is immediately outside the entrance to Larne Lough and the directions for Larne Harbour Click to view haven may be used for approaches.

Vessels approaching Ferris Bay should take care not to impede commercial traffic approaching Larne. An approaching vessel should make ‘Larne Port Control’ aware of its intentions and they will advise on ship movements, weather, tide, etc. The call sign for the Port of Larne is [Larne Port Control] on VHF Ch. 14, P: +44 28 28 872179.

The key local dangers to avoid are the rocky outcrops that extend from the three northern points of the Islandmagee. Of these Skernaghan Point’s rocky outcrop, stretching northward from its head, is the area’s primary danger. A berth of at least 500 metres from Skernaghan Point and at least 200 metres from Barr’s and Ferris points clears these dangers.


Initial fix location From the Larne Harbour initial fix, situated midway between the No. 1 Green buoy Q (3) 10s and the No. 2 Red buoy Fl (2) R 6s, set a course of 160° T to pass close by the No. 2 port hand buoy and continue for half a mile into Ferris Bay keeping Ferris Point well to starboard.

The conspicuous square white watch tower of the Port Control Office with radar scanner on top and surrounding white walls stands on Ferris Point. This will be passed on the starboard bow and moves progressively abeam as the vessel continues into the bay. Anchor before the tower climbs to a bearing of 200° T. This is about the position of the 2 metre contour, and the head of the bay shallows thereafter so stay well offshore of the beach.


Haven location Find a location to make the best of the prevailing conditions and anchor according to draft. Very good holding will be found here in sand. Land by dinghy on the sandy beach at the head of the bay.


Why visit here?
The origin of the name Ferris Bay is unknown but its single most conspicuous feature has to be the ‘Port Control Office’ building on its western point. Constructed in 1976 the space-age black glass box in a white tower marks the east side of the narrow entrance into Larne Lough. Now disused as a lighthouse the ultra-modern structure replaced a traditional lighthouse that once showed a light from here.

The original lighthouse, known as Larne Lough Lighthouse, was designed by the celebrated engineer George Halpin. Constructed in 1838 it exhibited its first light in the following year when it was considered a work of immense architectural value. Three assistants operated the lighthouse supported by a Principal Keeper who was also responsible for the Maidens Lighthouse until 1951. But when Ballylumford power station opened in 1943 and the port of Larne continued to develop its ferry trade the installations of these near neighbours increasingly began to obscure the lighthouse. The power station chimneys behind confused its position during the daytime, and the Larne Harbour floodlights by night. The light finally became redundant in 1976 when a directional light was installed at Chaine Tower Lighthouse on the western side of the harbour entrance. Today the modernised Ferris Point building remains in service as a base for the Larne Port Control, the maintenance of buoys and the Maidens light plus it also provides a Helipad.

George Halpin also designed and supervised the erection the Maidens lighthouses that were built almost a decade before the Larne Lough Lighthouse in 1829. Situated five miles from Ferris Point and steep-to all round these dangers consist of two clusters of rocks called the West and East Maiden, separated from each other by a deep and wide sound. They marked the dangers by building two lighthouse towers 750 metres apart, one on each rock cluster. The keepers of the lighthouses and their families originally lived on site for the whole year and the isolation led to a remarkable 1830s romance. Rowing across the sound that separated the towers the assistant keeper of one lighthouse fell in love with the daughter of the keeper of the other. But the families were uncomfortable with the relationship and fell out. When the father forbade his daughter to meet the assistant keeper, the couple ran off to Carrickfergus where they eloped.

In 1903 an improved light was exhibited on the Maidens East Lighthouse and the West Tower light was discontinued. In 1906 Maidens Lighthouse became a combined station with the light at Ferris Point, with the Principal Keeper of Ferris Point Lighthouse responsible for both. Shore dwellings for the families of the four Maidens assistant keepers were built at Ferris Point. Three of the assistant keepers were on duty on Maidens at any time. Each assistant keeper, in turn, spent 30 days on Maidens Lighthouse followed by 10 days ashore with his family at Ferris Point. In 1977 the keepers were permanently withdrawn after the station was converted to automatic operation. The lights at the Maidens and Chaine Tower are now monitored by remote control.

The eastern side of Ferris Bay is bounded by Barr’s Point and this may be very interesting to golfers as it is home to a testing and picturesque golf course. The nine-hole course has been in existence for over 100 years and is part parkland and part links, with views east reaching as far as Scotland. The clubhouse, a short stroll from the landing beach, has full catering and bar facilities where visitors are always welcome. A footpath follows the road to the east past the golf course to the sandy beach at Brown’s Bay where there is a small shop and a walk out to the point.

From a purely boating point of view, Ferris Bay is an alternative anchorage to its neighbouring and very popular Brown’s Bay. Although a little overgrown, it is a picturesque little bay that overlooks the mainland to the north. It is a shorter stroll from here to the Ballylumford Ferry and it may provide a good alternative if Brown’s Bay is experiencing some swell.


What facilities are available?
Ferris bay has road access and the Larne Golf Club, where full catering and bar facilities are available and visitors are always welcome, but little else. Public Toilets are available in the adjacent Brown's Bay where there is Steele's shop that has some provisions plus a post office.

All other facilities are available in Larne Harbour half a mile distant and serviced by the small ferry from Ballylumford that takes 5 minutes to cross the mouth of the lough. There is a footway for the short distance from Ferris bay to Ballylumford where the small passenger ferry departs. The small ferry takes no more than 12 people and booking is essential P +44 28 2827 3785.


Any security concerns?
Never a problem known to have occurred in Ferris Bay.


With thanks to:
Terence Stitt, Portmuck Harbour Master. Photography with thanks to Albert Bridge, KyleH, Alvaro, Aubrey Dale, Andrew Hill, Michael Hogan, Mary and Angus Hogg and Anne Burgess.


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Please zoom out to see the 'initial fix' for this location.
The above plots are not precise and indicative only.



















The following videos may be useful to help first time visitors familiarise themselves with Ferris Bay.


The following video presents views of Ferris Bay.





The following video and images were taken by sea canoeists who visited The Maidens.




A photograph is worth a thousand words. We are always looking for bright sunny photographs that show this haven and its identifiable features at its best. If you have some images that we could use please upload them here. All we need to know is how you would like to be credited for your work and a brief description of the image if it is not readily apparent. If you would like us to add a hyperlink from the image that goes back to your site please include the desired link and we will be delighted to that for you.


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