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Gilert Bay

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The Saltee Islands are two small islands that are situated off the southeast corner of Ireland, approximately halfway between Hook Head and Carnsore Point. This is a Great Saltee Island anchorage, the larger and southernmost of the two islands, with Gilert Bay being the smaller of two adjacent anchorages available off the island’s southern side.

Gilert Bay is an exposed anchorage that is only suitable for a day trip after a prolonged settled spell. Although it appears as though a vessel can tuck in snuggly into the bay there is in fact little protection if there is any sea swell. The Saltee Islands require careful navigation owing to the numerous outlying rocks and strong currents. They are however very workable in settled clear conditions and highly enjoyable.
Please note

Currents can attain speeds of 3.4 knots on springs in this area. Those planning to explore these waters should have the benefit of a good plotter, or large scale charts, and a reliable engine.

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Keyfacts for Gilert Bay
None listed

Remote or quiet secluded locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tender

None listed

Protected sectors

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

2 stars: Careful navigation; good visibility and conditions with dangers that require careful navigation.
2 stars: Exposed; unattended vessels should be watched from the shore and a comfortable overnight stay is unlikely.

Last modified
May 29th 2020


An exposed location with careful navigation required for access.

None listed

Remote or quiet secluded locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tender

None listed

Position and approaches
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Haven position

52° 6.905' N, 006° 36.694' W

The waypoint is in the centre of the bay where you may drop the anchor into sand at a depth of 3 metres at low water.

What is the initial fix?

The following Gilert Bay initial fix will set up a final approach:
52° 6.700' N, 006° 36.603' W
This is in about 13 metres LAT, 400 metres southward of the anchorage.

What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in southeastern Ireland’s coastal overview for Rosslare Harbour to Cork Harbour Route location. The Kilmore Quay Click to view haven entry provides approach directions for this haven.

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 Gilert Bay for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Georgina’s Bay - 0.1 miles WSW
  2. Great Saltee (landing beach) - 0.3 miles N
  3. Little Saltee (west side) - 0.9 miles NNE
  4. Little Saltee (east side) - 1 miles NE
  5. Little Saltee (landing beach) - 1.1 miles NNE
  6. Kilmore Quay - 2.1 miles NNE
  7. Baginbun Bay - 5.4 miles WNW
  8. Bannow Bay - 5.4 miles NW
  9. Fethard On Sea - 5.6 miles WNW
  10. Slade - 6.8 miles W
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Kilmore Quay - 2.1 miles NNE
  2. Baginbun Bay - 5.4 miles WNW
  3. Bannow Bay - 5.4 miles NW
  4. Fethard On Sea - 5.6 miles WNW
  5. Slade - 6.8 miles W
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

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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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What's the story here?
Gilert Bay as seen from close south
Image: Burke Corbett

The Saltee Islands consisting of the Great and Little Saltee, are situated approximately 4 miles off the coast of Kilmore Quay Co.Wexford. The Islands are privately owned but have been largely unoccupied since the early 20th century. Great Saltee Island lies about 3.24 miles from Kilmore Quay, has an area of about 87ha, and is wedge-shaped. The island ascends from a low shore on its northern mainland side to 20-30 metre high cliffs on its south-eastern side. The southern summit rises to an altitude of 58 meters which is its highest point.

The Saltees are a haven for sea birds, nurturing an impressive array of birds, from Gannets and Gulls to Puffins and Manx Shearwaters. They also lie on an important migratory route and a popular stopping-off place for spring and autumn migrants. In addition to its birdlife, Great Saltee has a breeding population of Grey Seals, one of the very few in eastern Ireland. Up to 120 animals are present in autumn and up to 20 pups are produced annually. All of this combine to make it a Special Area of Conservation and very popular with both day-trippers and birdwatchers alike.

Gilert Bay is the smaller of the two bays tucked into the south side of the island. it offers an alternative to the larger Georgina's Bay.

How to get in?
Gilert Bay as seen from the west end of Great Saltee Island
Photo: Public Domain

Convergance Point Offshore details are available in southeastern Ireland’s coastal overview for Rosslare Harbour to Cork Harbour Route location and the adjacent Georgina’s Bay Click to view haven entry provides approach directions for the south side of Great Saltee Island. Those planning to cruise this area should study the 'Additional notes for the Saltee Islands' set out in the Rosslare Harbour to Cork Harbour Route location. A sharp lookout should always be kept for lobster pots in around the Kilmore Quay area.

Sunken Rock of Makeston awash 200 metres to the southwest of Makeston Rock
Image: Burke Corbett

Initial fix location From the initial fix or in clear water due south of the described anchoring position approach the anchorage on a 000° track, maintaining a sharp lookout to starboard for the 'Sunken Rock of Makeston'. This is the key rock to locate upon entry as it marks the eastern side of Gilert Bay. It lies 200 metres to the southwest, bearing from 210° T, of Makeston Rock.

Pinnacle rocks that separate Gilert Bay from Georgina’s Bay
Image: Burke Corbett

Once this has been located keep the visible pinnacle rocks that separate Gilert Bay from Georgina’s Bay to port and enter the small bay.

Gilert Bay as seen from the west
Image: Michael Harpur

Haven location Once securely within the bay anchor in sand according to draft and conditions. The head of the bay, depending on the previous month’s heavy weather conditions, may offer either a sand or shingle beach to land upon at low water.

Why visit here?
This is another lovely secluded place on the back of Great Saltee Island where a vessel can enjoy a peaceful repose or land a dinghy and let the family loose to swim and explore. Visitors will most likely have this hidden bay to themselves along with its wonderful wealth of wildlife.

Guillemots over Gillert's Bay
Image: Michael Harpur

It also offers an alternative to neighbouring Georgina’s Bay that may get busy on a settled sunny sailing season day. Like its larger neighbour of Georgina's Bay, Gilert Bay is an excellent place to drop the hook, sit back in the cockpit and enjoy the wealth of the Saltee’s hallmark birdlife.

Shag surveying Gilert Bay
Image: Michael Harpur

However late season visitors, in and about September time, will find that this bay hosts up to half a dozen seal pups upon the small beach that lies at the head of cut. They prefer Gilert Bay as the older seals tend to stay on a shelf behind Makeston Rock.

Black Backed Gull flying over the bay
Image: John Finn

The single point to note about the islands southern anchorages is that the cliffs are steep here. Although it is possible to alight upon their enclosed beaches at low water it is not possible to get up to and explore the island from either of these anchorages. The main landing beach, on the north side of the island, should be used for those who wish to come ashore and explore.

What facilities are available?
There are no facilities on the Little Saltee Island. Immediately ashore Kilmore Quay has all facilities.

Any security concerns?
Security issues are unheard of on the Saltee Islands. In fact if anything the reverse is more likely to be encountered. Local boatmen are very welcoming and you can take it that they will by good nature be keeping an eye on the welfare of your vessel, should she drag whilst you are ashore, and be ready to assist you.

With thanks to:
Burke Corbett, Gusserane, New Ross, Co. Wexford. Photography with thanks to Burke Corbett, Kevin Higgins, John Finn and Michael Harpur.

Gilert’s Bay, Great Saltee Island, County Wexford, Ireland
Image: eOceanic thanks Kevin Higgins via CC-BY-SA 2.0

The Saltee Islands that can be seen from Gilert Bay

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