Set into an almost land locked bay within England’s most extensive natural harbour the marina offers complete protection. Safe access is available in almost all reasonable conditions, night or day, up to Town Quay. The final mile to the marina is restricted by two lifting bridges that coordinate their openings around a fixed schedule. The outer entrance to Poole Harbour may become very rough or even dangerous on an ebb tide during south-easterly gales.
Keyfacts for Cobb's Quay
Summary* Restrictions applyA completely protected location with safe access.
Position and approaches
Haven position50° 43.243' N, 001° 59.926' W
This is the head of Cobb's Quay 'A' Pontoon near the entrance to the marina.
What are the key points of the approach?
Not what you need?
- Poole Town Quay - 0.4 miles SE
- Poole Quay Boat Haven - 0.5 miles SE
- Poole Yacht Club - 0.5 miles S
- Port of Poole Marina - 0.6 miles SSE
- Lake Yard Marina - 0.6 miles SW
- Parkstone Yacht Club - 1 miles ESE
- Brownsea Island - 1 miles SSE
- Shipstal Point - 1.1 miles SSW
- Salterns Marina - 1.3 miles ESE
- Goathorn Point - 1.6 miles SSE
How to get in?
Cobb’s Quay Marina is a large scale marina located on the west side of Holes Bay about a mile above Poole Town Quay. It has 850 berths and with prior arrangement can accommodate yachts of up to 25 metres in length, and supports draughts of 2 metres. In addition to its floating berths the marina also offers a dry stack system capable of handling 240 motorboat berths of up to 10 metres.
Approaches through Poole Bay and Harbour provide drafts of not less than 6 metres CD up to Town Quay. But the Backwater Channel, that leads across Hole Bay to the marina, has a least depth of 1.3 metres CD. This makes the marina accessible to the vast majority of vessels at High Water +/- 5 hours. Holes Bay requires vessels that carry any airdraft to pass through two bridges, Poole Bridge and the Twin Sails Bridge. They open to a fixed schedule up to 15 times per day and vessels need to be on station at the most convenient opening.
Cobb’s Quay Marina holds no specific visitor berths and accommodates visiting yachts in the berths of resident holders that are away. It is therefore advisable to make berthing arrangements in advance by contacting the marina on VHF Ch. 80/M call sign [Cobb’s Quay Marina] or P: +44 1202 674299.
Weekly and monthly rates are available at Cobb’s Quay Marina. Peak daily summer berthing fees, as of 2016, are:
- • Up to 12.5 metres at £3.80 per metre.
- • 12.6m – 18 metres at £4.50 per metre.
- • 18.1m - 24m at £5.00 per metre
- • 24 metes and over POA
Berths should be available from 12 noon for arrival, and should be vacated by 12 noon on the day of departure.
Entry into Poole Harbour and the run up to Poole are covered in the Poole Town Quay entry. Continue up ‘Little Channel’ past ‘Town Quay’ to ‘Poole Bridge’ located about 500 metres westward.
The Bridge Operator may be contacted on VHF Ch.12 call sign [Poole Bridge] P: +44 1202 674115 if there is any uncertainty about opening times. Pleasure craft are free to come alongside the visitor berths at ‘Town Quay’ to temporarily await an opening without any charge. Mariners may freely take advantage of an unscheduled bridge opening for commercial traffic to proceed up to Hole Bay.
The bridges openings are coordinated with each other and open to the following fixed scheduled:
- • The bridges open at half past the hour at weekends from 05:30-23:30.
- • From 05:30-14:30 outbound traffic is preferred - Twin Sails bridge opens first, Poole Bridge opening approximately 15 mins later.
- • From 15:30-23:30 inbound traffic is preferred - Poole Bridge opens first, Twin Sails Bridge opening approximately 15 mins later.
- • Weekdays follow this schedule except there are no bridge lifts at 08:30, 13:30, 17:30, 20:30.
- • The bridges opening for a period of about 15 minutes.
The first bridge will open again should it be required to do so, to allow vessels out of the basin between the bridges. There are holding berths on the western side of the basin should a mariner wish to come alongside between lifts.
Bridge traffic signal lights, visible day and night, are exhibited from the tower of Poole Bridge and either side of the lifting spans of The Twin Sails Bridge. The IALA standard bridge lights display as follows:
- • Red Light - Do not proceed.
- • Flashing Red Light - Emergency, stop or do not proceed.
- • Red and Yellow Light - Vessels may proceed with caution.
- • Proceed - Vessels may proceed as the bridge is almost fully open.
After the Twin Sails Bridge continue up Holes Bay following the mooring pontoon to port. Holes Bay is shallow and consists of soft mud, so if a mariner should go wrong little harm will come of it. Access to the marina is via the bay's well marked Backwater Channel that is made clear from the outset by flanking rows of moorings. Further along these become a single line of moorings on the starboard side of the channel. The port side is then marked by beacons and port hand light-buoys. Continue past the port hand No. 4 buoy, after which a port beacon, then to port hand No. 6 buoy.
Here, between port hand No. 6 buoy and an east cardinal beacon on the north side, the Backwater Channel divides into two branches with the eastward branch leading into Cobb's Quay Marina. Turn to port between the marks and the final 200 metres to the marina's entrance is marked by two starboard beacons.
Berth as directed by the marina office.
Why visit here?Cobb's Quay is owned and operated by Marina Development Limited (MDL) based in Hamble Hampshire. The company owns and manages eighteen coastal marinas and boatyards in England, including another marina in Chichester Harbour at Northney. It has other facilities in France, Italy and Spain and the company provides its berth holders with freedom to roam between their extensive ranges of facilities when space is available.
Situated in Holes Bay within Poole Harbour, Cobb’s Quay provides its visitors with a protected base in one of the oldest inhabited areas of the harbour, detailed in the Lake Yard Marina entry, and an ideal location from which to explore Poole Harbour. Set back in Holes Bay it also guarantees very restful evenings tucked away from any possible inclement weather not to mention the hurly-burly of the Town Quay’s hectic summer’s ‘silly season’ as the local’s call it. The marina provides a good, arm’s-length base from which to explore the historic town detailed in the Poole Town Quay entry.
Those who want to socialise will find a friendly seafaring atmosphere within the marina without traveling far from the pontoon. The on-site Cobb’s Quay Yacht Club offers quality food with a varied menu with a focus on seafood dishes, and its lively band nights are redolent of Town Quay.
For those who need to attend to some maintenance Cobb’s Quay is one of the best places to come alongside in the harbour. There is a well-stocked chandler onsite and a wide range of specialist services from rigging to marine electronics, GRP repairs, cosmetic work and engineering. Should a vessel need to come out there is a 25 ton slipway hoist. The marina has established itself as a one-stop shop for all boating needs.
What facilities are available?The pontoons provide power and water. All domestic requirements up to and including WiFi can be found within the marina area. Cobb's Quay has first-class facilities including a chandlery and convenience store located on site. There is a state of the art toilet and shower building. The building also includes a reception lobby with vending machines, purpose-designed disabled facilities and a laundrette. Cobbs Yacht Club Bar & Restaurant is also located conveniently on site.
The marina provides general waste disposal, and full recycling facilities. Diesel and unleaded petrol are available at the fuel bay. Arrangements can be made for the disposal of waste oil. The yard offers extensive shore-side facilities. Its slipway is accessible at all states of the tide and it has a 25 ton slipway hoist. Onshore the yard has extensive hard standing with undercover storage. There are many tenants on site providing a wide range of marine services including marine electronics, GRP repairs and cosmetic work, and engineering. This makes it an ideal place to winter a boat or to have extensive repairs carried out. It also has ample brokerage firms with an excellent range of new and used boats for sale. There is ample car parking that includes electric vehicle charging.
Poole’s town centre, stretching from the water’s edge at Poole Town Quay up to the Dolphin Shopping Centre, is 30 minutes by bus or 10 minutes by taxi. It is also possible to catch a train from Hamworthy which takes about 20 minutes with the station being about a 15 minute's walk. The Quay and Old Town provide a range of small, independent shops, including a well-stocked and capable chandlery, a host of pubs, take away outlets, a mini supermarket and good restaurants. Dorset's largest indoor shopping centre, ‘The Dolphin Shopping Centre’ that has 110 stores covering all items is a 15 minute walk along the high street.
Poole railway station is located in the town and is served by London Waterloo to Weymouth express and semi-fast services. From east to west these call at Branksome near the border with Bournemouth, Parkstone, Poole railway station in the town centre and Hamworthy. Most local bus services are run by ‘More Bus’ who are based at the town's bus station. It operates networks across Poole, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Salisbury, in addition to operations on the Isle of Purbeck and to the the New Forest. Poole is also a calling point for National Express Coaches, which have frequent departures to London Victoria Coach Station. Direct services to the Midlands, the North of England and to Heathrow and Gatwick airports can also be found in the town.
Bournemouth International Airport on the periphery of Bournemouth is only 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) from Poole Town Quay. Ferry services from Poole Harbour to Cherbourg are provided by Brittany Ferries who operate one round trip per day.
Any security concerns?Access to the marina is via key code secured gates. The marina has 24 hour security.
With thanks to:Claire Jeffery MDL Marina. Photography with thanks to Michael Harpur, Jeff Owen photos and Lets Go Out Bournemouth and Poole.
A short video detailing the passage through Poole Harbour to Cobb's Quay Marina.
Passing Through Poole Lifting Bridges
Aerial view of Poole's Twin Sails Bridge opening
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