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Coastal Overview for Dublin Bay to Rosslare Harbour

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What is the route?
This is the primary coastal description and set of waypoints for the area between Dublin and Rosslare Harbour. The detailed coastal description may be used by those planning to come closer inshore or to approach one of the useful passage havens that are listed along the length of the route. The sequence of description is from north to south or coastal clockwise as follows:

  • • Inside the Kish Bank

  • • Inside the Arklow Bank

  • • Outside the Blackwater Bank

  • • Outside the Lucifer Bank

  • • An approach to Rosslare Harbour via its main channel.
The preceding east coast's set of waypoints and coastal description is available by clicking 'Previous', above, and vessels planning on continuing westwards, around Carnsore Pont and beyond, can find the following sets of waypoints and coastal descriptions by clicking 'Next'.

Why sail this route?
The is a straightforward set of waypoints for passing between Dublin and Rosslare and the southeast corner of Ireland.

Between the larger banks, and Dalkey Island, there are many other navigable channels that provide shortcuts which may be availed of with a little more pilotage and tidal focus. They are usually well marked by lit buoys, have ample space and have depths that support large commercial shipping. As such, vessels traverse this length of coast can select these inshore channels and they are well described in the coastal description.

This set of waypoints will, however, be the best approach to take at night, with poor visibility or in uncomfortable weather. Conversely, if you are a stranger to the coast, or are in anyway uncertain, or operating in heavy weather with low visibility, it is perhaps best not to add additional navigational complexity. In this case, it may be best to exit Dublin Bay to the north of the Kish Bank lighthouse and keep outside all the banks, staying east of the Codling and Arklow Banks.

Please note

The current tidal event is springs so expect streams to be at their strongest.

What are the navigational notes?
Please use our integrated Navionics chart to appraise the route. Navionics charts feature in premier plotters from B&G, Raymarine, Magellan and are also available on tablets. Clicking the 'Expand to Fullscreen' icon opens a larger viewing area in a new tab.

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Please zoom out (-) if all of the waypoints are not displayed.
The above plots are not precise and are indicative only.


The 70 miles of coast between Dublin Bay and Rosslare Harbour is partly obstructed by a long discontinuous chain of detached sandbanks. The banks lie parallel to the coast varying from just over a mile to almost ten miles offshore and some are as long as five miles in length. They are mostly made up of fine sand that shift slightly in depth and position but others have a gravel base whilst others have boulder ridges.

The primary dangers are the Kish and Bray Banks, Arklow Bank, Blackwater Bank plus some smaller covered obstructions that will be discussed. Portions of the Arklow Bank have depths of less than 1.6 metres, and the Blackwater Bank’s Money-weights section has patches that totally uncover and dry. Heavy breakers will be found on all the banks in strong easterly conditions. Nevertheless, the coastline presents little difficulty in reasonable conditions for a modern sailing vessel with auxiliary power.


The complete course is 69.54 miles from the waypoint '¼ a mile east Dublin Bay buoy' to 'Rosslare Harbour Pierhead light' tending in a southerly direction (reciprocal northerly).

¼ a mile east Dublin Bay buoy, 53° 19.912' N, 006° 4.220' W
R/W Buoy Mo(A)10s Dublin Bay's central marker situated in the middle of the bay.

       Next waypoint: 3.42 miles, course 175.79°T (reciprocal 355.79°T)

½ of a mile east of Muglins, 53° 16.500' N, 006° 3.800' W
Muglins are a small group of rocks, located ¾ east by north-east of Dalkey Island, on which stands a light Fl R. 5s 14m 11M

       Next waypoint: 8.26 miles, course 167.75°T (reciprocal 347.75°T)

¼ of a mile east of Moulditch Buoy, 53° 8.430' N, 006° 0.880' W
Port marker for the Moulditch Bank, Red Buoy Fl R 10s

       Next waypoint: 2.85 miles, course 162.01°T (reciprocal 342.01°T)

¼ of a mile east of Breaches Buoy, 53° 5.720' N, 005° 59.415' W
Port marker for the Breaches Bank, Red Buoy Fl (2) R 6s

       Next waypoint: 7.81 miles, course 174.75°T (reciprocal 354.75°T)

1 mile east of Wicklow Head lighthouse, 52° 57.950' N, 005° 58.230' W
East of Wicklow Head Lighthouse Fl (3) 15s37m23M, suitable for a passage inside the Arklow Bank and outside the Glassgorman, Money Weights, and Blackwater Banks.

       Next waypoint: 32.86 miles, course 190.43°T (reciprocal 10.43°T)

¼ of a mile east of Southeast Blackwater East Cardinal, 52° 25.644' N, 006° 7.980' W
Eastern Cardinal Mark, Q(3) 10S, for the Blackwater Bank that resides to the north of the Lucifer Bank.

       Next waypoint: 9.00 miles, course 196.92°T (reciprocal 16.92°T)

¼ of a mile east of Lucifer, 52° 17.035' N, 006° 12.260' W
Lucifer Eastern Cardinal Mark, Q(3) 5s, positioned well east and south of the New Ground and Lucifer banks it marks.

       Next waypoint: 2.41 miles, course 236.00°T (reciprocal 56.00°T)

¼ of a mile east of South Holdens Buoy, 52° 15.686' N, 006° 15.526' W
South Holdens green buoy Fl G 3s SYNC, marking the north side of the approach channel to Rosslare Harbour and the southernmost end of the sandbank, immediately east of Rosslare Harbour, called the Holdens Bed. Rosslare Harbour, call sign [Rosslare Radio] Ch. 16, working channel 23, should be advised of any vessel moving within this area.

       Next waypoint: 2.91 miles, course 264.89°T (reciprocal 84.89°T)

Rosslare Harbour Pierhead light, 52° 15.425' N, 006° 20.260' W
Rosslare Harbour Red Tower, Oc.W.R.G. 5s 15m 13-10M, at the head of the pier.


Port of Dublin and Dublin Bay
Image: Giuseppe Milo

Hosting the capital of Ireland, Dublin Bay is unmistakable from seaward. Situated between Dalkey Island on the south and the Hill of Howth on the north it is about 5.8 miles wide and 6 miles deep. The head of the bay is filled with extensive sandbanks through which the River Liffey, guided by long walls, flows into the sea and the city and Dublin Port Click to view haven are situated at the mouth of the river.

View eastward along the Liffey
Image: Tourism Ireland


To cater for the amount of commercial traffic transiting the bay a Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) has been established within the bay area. This involves a pair of separation lanes that run on either side, north and south of the Burford Bank immediately adjacent to the bank’s cardinal marks. Yachts must not navigate in the traffic separation fairways.

North Burford – North Cardinal Q position: 53° 20.507' N, 006° 1.493' W

South Burford – South Cardinal VQ (6) + LFl 10s position: 53° 18.060' N, 006° 1.298' W

The High-Speed Service out of Dún Laoghaire Harbour takes a direct line from Dún Laoghaire to the South Burford Cardinal mark and then to the Kish Bank Light. It is advised that all yachts keep well clear of this route in the early afternoon.

It is advised that southern approaching vessels pass into the bay within the area of two miles to the northeast of Dalkey Island, and a northern approaching vessel enter in the area a mile to the southeast of the Bailey Light. If it becomes necessary to cross the traffic separation scheme fairway a vessel must drop sails and do so at right angles under power.

In the area between Burford Bank and the Liffey entrance, the Dublin Bay safe water marker buoy acts as a roundabout. All vessels entering or leaving are required to do so by way of this buoy; westbound ships go north of the Dublin Bay safe water marker buoy and eastbound go to the south.

Dublin Bay – Safe Water Mark Mo (A) 10s Racon (M) A/S position: 53° 19.894' N, 006° 4.666' W

As such the westbound ships passing to the north of Dublin Bay’s safe water marker buoy have to negotiate the narrow 300-metre wide channel between the Dublin Bay safe water mark and the Rosbeg South Cardinal mark. This is particularly confined so a yacht must entirely avoid this channel whenever westbound (inbound) shipping is using it.

Rosbeg South – South Cardinal Q (6) + L Fl 15s position: 53° 20.382' N, 006° 4.331' W

Conversely eastbound (outbound) shipping sail south of the Dublin Bay safe water marker in open water. With no sandbanks to constrain them, they can take almost any course. In this situation power usually gives way to sail but common sense suggests keeping clear of shipping whenever possible.


Dún Laoghaire Harbour
Image: Paul ODonnell via CC BY 2.0

Dún Laoghaire Harbour plus the Killiney Hills will be seen to the south closer in. The coast is comparatively low on the southern side backed by hills which rise to a height of 500 metres within 5 miles of the shore. In the centre of the bay, the Poolbeg lighthouse stands 20 metres high at the head of the south breakwater. 1½ miles above the Liffey’s entrance the conspicuous twin 210-metre high Poolbeg power station chimneys stand close together; behind which the high rise buildings of Dublin city will appear. The Burford Bank, described in the previous ‘Strangford Lough to Dublin Bay’ description, lies across the approaches to the bay.

Dublin Bay’s central marker, the Dublin Bay buoy, is situated in the middle of the bay.

Dublin Bay Buoy - Fl Mo (A) 10s position: 53° 19.912'N, 006° 04.646'W

The port of Dún Laoghaire Click to view haven lies 2.5 miles southwest of the Dublin Bay buoy. The harbour is formed by two magnificent granite piers extending from the south shore of the bay in the direction of Howth. On the ends of each pier with red and green lanterns:

East Pier Head – 12 metre Fl (2) R 10s 16m 17M position 53°18.135’N, 006° 07.620’W

West Pier Head – 9 metre Fl (3)G 7.5s 11m 7M position 53° 18.185’N, 006° 07.865’W

Please note

Dún Laoghaire is a busy ferry port with extensive facilities for yachts. High-Speed ferries (HSS) enter and exit at speed. When they are underway it is obligatory to keep clear of the fairway and the harbour mouth.

Scotsman’s Bay, between Sandycove point, with its distinctive Martello tower, and Dún Laoghaire, is foul throughout. One mile north-west of Sorrento Point is the small boat harbour called Bullock Harbour, or Coliemore Harbour. It dries and is very crowded and is only used by small open boats. Between Sandycove Point and Bullock Harbour, there are some outlying rocks with 1.6 metres of cover 200 metres offshore. The shore between Dalkey and Bullock Harbour, or Coliemore Harbour, is clear of danger and steep-to.

Two miles south-east of Dún Laoghaire is Dublin Bay southernmost reach Sorrento Point and Dalkey Island lies immediately offshore 0.2 of a mile to the east. Vessel may anchor off the island in Dalkey Sound Click to view haven. The island is 24 metres high, with a Martello tower on its summit. The shore of the main is steep-to, but the reef that extends up to about ½ a mile north-northwest of the island has straggling outliers on both sides of it.

South bound yacht passing Muglins via Muglins Sound
Image: Tourism Ireland

This coastal description provides a waypoint for a straightforward offshore route which is the best approach for a newcomer to take at night, with poor visibility or in uncomfortable weather, but it adds miles. The 230 metres wide channel that leads through Dalkey Sound, between the island and the mainland, is the shortcut normally taken by leisure craft with a fair tide. The least depth in the channel is 8 metres, and the Dalkey Sound Cut Route location provides a description and waypoints. The alternative Muglins Sound Cut Route location, located between Dalkey Island and a separate cluster of rocks with a light called The Muglins, is the preferred coastal cut when tides are adverse.

¼ of a mile to the east of Dalkey Island is a small cluster of rocks called The Muglins. They are 6 metres high and bold-to except to the westward, where for 100 metres distance there is a rock with 1 metre of cover. They are a different group or chain and the seaway between these two groups is the 'Muglins Sound'. There is a lighthouse on The Muglins, that could more aptly be described as a distinctive beacon, making it highly recognisable. It is a white conical tower with a red band:

The Muglins - Lighthouse Fl 5s 9m 11M position: 53° 16.524’N, 006° 04.579’W

A channel, about 270 metres wide resides between the dangers on each side, runs between the rock and Dalkey Island. The Dalkey Island Channel is the preferred fairway of the two. But when the tidal current is strong through Dalkey Sound small craft may use this outer channel through Muglins Sound.

Kish Bank Lighthouse seen from the east at dusk
Image: Type17 via CC BY-SA 2.0

Offshore from Dublin Bay to Wicklow Head, there is a dangerous set of off lying banks that will characterise the coast from Dublin Bay to Rosslare Harbour.

The long narrow sandy Kish Bank stretches 6.5 miles, in a north-south direction, and is about ½ a mile wide. It has from 1.6 to 3.5 metres over a considerable area from north to the middle of the bank, and from 5 to 6 metres elsewhere. Both it and the Bray Bank are steep-to on each side, with 20 and 20 metres close to their edges. The bank is marked by two markers plus the 31 meters high Kish Bank Lighthouse, a white concrete tower with a red band that has a helicopter platform on top:

North Kish – North Cardinal VQ position: 53° 18.549'N, 005° 56.432’W

East Kish - Red Can Buoy Fl (2) R 10s position: 53° 14.349'N, 005° 53.618’W

Kish Lighthouse - Fl (2) 20s 29m 22M position: 53° 18.650'N, 005° 55.542’W

Kish Bank Lighthouse
Image: David Dixon via CC BY-SA 2.0
Three miles to the south of the Kish Bank is the Bray Bank. This is 2 miles long, in a north-south direction, and ⅓ of a mile wide, with 4 metres of water over it at its shallowest point. Between the Bray and Kish banks, there is a cut ¾ of a mile wide where 5 to 7 metres of water will be found.

Two miles to the south of the Bray Bank is the Codling Banks. This is a vast crescent-shaped area of coarse broken ground, approximately three miles wide and four miles long. The bank consists of gravel and large boulders that run in narrow ridges and carry 2.6 metres of water on the shallowest parts. Heavy overfalls occur when a full run of tide passes over the shoal, especially with the flood stream and it should be entirely avoided. Vessels must approach them with great caution as the flood tide sets strongly out over the banks. The Codling Banks are marked by three markers:

East Codling – Red Can Buoy Fl (4) R 10s position: 53° 08.517'N, 005° 47.126’W

West Codling – Green Can Buoy Fl G 10s position: 53° 06.962'N, 005° 54.558’W

South Codling - South Cardinal VQ (6) + LFl 10s position: 53° 04.730'N, 005° 49.784’W

Four to five miles outside the Bray and Kish Banks there is a ridge of sand with from 13 to 16 metres of water, extending in a northerly direction from the Codling Bank. A vessel making towards Kish should avoid this ridge in strong easterly conditions. This was marked by Codling LANBY until it was replaced in 2010 by an East Cardinal Buoy equipped with a light, Racon and AIS:

Codling – East Cardinal buoy Q (3) 10s position: 53° 03.020'N, 005° 40.815'W

Six miles northeast of Wicklow is the India Bank. Made up of fine sand, it is ⅔ of a mile in length, ½ a mile wide, and steep-to on its western side. The shallowest part is 3.5 metres near the south end of the bank. South Ridge extends in a north-northeast direction from the India bank. The India Bank and South ridge may be considered as one continuous danger, a narrow swatch with 7 metres of water alone separating them. Both are marked by two north and south cardinals.

North India - North Cardinal VQ position: 53° 03.173'N, 005° 53.473’W

South India – South Cardinal Q (6) + LFl 15s position: 53° 00.349’N, 005° 53.346’W

The view from Killiney Bay to Bray Head
Image: William Murphy (Infomatique)

Inshore, from Killiney Bay to Bray the coast is composed of a shingly beach. It is foul offshore with several rocks, some of which dry, and should not be approached nearer than ½ a mile, at which distance 5 to 10 metres of water will be found. Killiney Bay is hemmed in on its north side by the remarkable hill of Killiney, on its 149-metre summit on which stands the conspicuous Mapas obelisk. This is ruined signal tower 0.8 of a mile west by south-west of Sorrento Point. There is an outflow marker on the south side of the bay.

Shanganagh O/F – Yellow Fl Y 3s position: 53° 14.892'N, 006° 05.154’W

With offshore winds vessels may anchor at Sorrento Point Click to view haven to the south-west of Dalkey Island and on the northernmost reach of Killiney Bay, beneath the headland of the same name.

Immediately offshore of Killiney Bay is the small Frazer Bank, a ridge of sand, about a mile in length and 400 metres wide, with 5.3 metres of water. Its north end is ½ a mile south from Dalkey Island, from which it extends in a south direction.


Bray head as seen from Bray Harbour area
Image: Michael Harpur

About five miles south of Dalkey Island is the remarkable headland of Bray Head that rises 236 metres from the sea. It is fronted by bold precipitous cliffs along the face of which runs a railway.

Coastal hugging vessels should stand ½ a mile off Bray Head. A drying reef called Periwinkle Rock fringes the foot of the headland’s northeastern side and the outlying Crab Rocks extends 150 metres north-eastward from this.

Crab Rocks - unmarked position: 53° 11’.800’N, 006° 05.100’W

Off the southern extremity of the head at the distance of 150 metres from the shore, is the half-tide Cable Rock. It uncovers to 2 metres, with a few stragglers outside it and deep water close to.

Cable Rock - unmarked position: 53° 10.523’N, 006° 04.185’W

Bray Harbour
Image: Michael Harpur

The resort town of Bray Click to view haven, fronted by a small boat harbour that dries, is situated about 1.2 miles north-northwest of the head. The terraces and buildings of the town are prominent from seaward.

Local boats in Bray Harbour
Image: Michael Harpur

Wicklow’s Great Sugar Loaf, with a 500 metres high conical peak, and the 274 metres high Carrickgollogan, with a chimney ½ a mile north by northp-west of the summit, are all conspicuous in the vicinity of Bray Head. An outflow buoy is located off of the town.

Bray O/F – Yellow Fl (4) Y 10s position: 53° 13.254'N, 006° 04.540’W

Image: Greystones Harbour Marina

About 2½ miles south of Bray Head is Greystones Click to view haven. This is a small resort town fronted by a shallow boat harbour with a marina.

Small tended on Greystones Harbour slip
Image: William Murphy (Infomatique)

Offshore in this area, there are two small shoals that are of little concern to a sailing vessel and often ignored. However, in strong onshore conditions, it is better to sail to the east of the buoys that mark these shoals.

Greystones Harbour Marina
Image: Greystones Harbour Marina

Just over a mile to the southeast of Greystones is the Moulditch Bank with 3.8 metres of water. It is an irregular patch of coarse gravel and large stones, extending nearly 1¼ miles from the shore and is marked by port hand marker buoy situated a ⅓ of a mile east of the bank.

Moulditch - Red Buoy Fl R 10s position: 53° 08.430'N, 006° 01.230’W

The tide rushing over the Moulditch causes overfalls which extend beyond the limits of the bank.

Inside the Moulditch Bank, the Greystones outfall marker buoy will be seen, about a mile to the south-east of Greystones Harbour.

Greystones O/F – Yellow Fl Y 5s position: 53° 08.441'N, 006° 02.532’W

Small vessels may pass inside of it in 5 metres of water by keeping about a ¼ of a mile from the shore. The tide rushing over the Moulditch causes overfalls which extend beyond the limits of the bank.

About three miles south by south-east of the Moulditch Bank is the Breaches Shoal that has a depth of 5 metres. Located about a ¼ of a mile east of The Breaches is its port hand marker buoy.

Breaches - Red Buoy Fl (2) R 6s position: 53° 05.721'N, 005° 59.856’W

From Bray Head to Wicklow, a distance of 12 miles, the coast composed of a low shingly beach, along which runs the railway. There is a beach all the way from Bray Head to Wicklow Harbour that is only broken by a short rocky stretch around Greystones. The coast here is steep-to and a distance off of 200 metres clears all dangers except when rounding Six Mile Point, where an offing of 400 metres would be preferred.

Conspicuous on the coast will be the Breaches, about 6.5 miles north of Wicklow, which are several openings in the coast leading to a tidal inlet. An obvious dark red railway bridge spans the openings. The coast is flat for a long way off, except at the Moulditch bank, and leisure vessels may approach it to within ½ a mile from the shore, to the southward of the Moulditch, where in excess of 5 metres will be found, and in excess of 2 metres at half that distance.

The two disused lighthouses on the summit of Wicklow Head
Image: Tourism Ireland

About fourteen miles south-southeast of Bray is Wicklow Head a bold projecting 71 metres high headland. The head is readily identified by its two old lighthouses on its summit, plus the white walls and buildings on the seaward slope near the present lighthouse.

Wicklow Head's present lighthouse on the seaward slope
Image: Paul O'Donnell via CC BY 2.0

The disused lighthouses are on the summit and lower and outer lighthouse, half way down the slope of the cliff is the active light. It has white walls and buildings on the seaward side.

Wicklow Head Lighthouse - Fl (3) 15s37m23M position: 52° 57.947’N, 005° 59.889’W

Around Wicklow Head, the bottom is very foul, with irregular patches of 7.6 to 9.1 metres in places up to 1.5 miles off the Head, and 10 to 16 metres between them. There is, however, no danger for small vessels, when to the northward of the Horseshoe.

Wicklow Harbour
Image: Michael Harpur

A ½ mile northwest of Wicklow Head is the small commercial Wicklow Harbour Click to view haven lying at the mouth of the Leitrim River. The sizeable provincial and county town of Wicklow forms a semicircle around the south side of the harbour.

Light tower on the extremity of Wicklow Harbour's East Pier
Image: Michael Harpur

The harbour is formed by the arms of two breakwaters named West and East Piers. The extremity of the East Pier has a cast-iron light tower that makes the position of the harbour unmistakable. It has a white tower red base, gallery and cupola, 7 metres in height and 11 metres above high water. It exhibits a red light seaward flashing every 5s that is visible for 6 miles and shows a white light over the harbour.

Yachts alongside Wicklow Harbour's East Pier
Image: Michael Harpur

Visiting yachts berth on the inside wall of East Pier where the wall has been boarded. It is 91 metres long and has depths alongside of up to 3.1 metres LAT.

An outfall pipeline extends 0.7 of a mile to the northeast of the harbour with a light buoy marking the outer end.

Wicklow Outflow Buoy - Fl (4) Y 10s position: 52° 59.541’N, 006° 01.295’W


From Wicklow Head to Arklow the view of the coast is bounded by the interior ranges of the Wicklow Mountains. The highest of the range, Lugnaquilla, is 925 metres high. The immediate inshore stretch of coast continues free from danger as far as Ardmore point, save for the unmarked rocky shoal of Wolf Rock – discussed presently. At Jack's Hole, on the northern side, a row of mobile homes will be seen. 600 to 800 metres off the coast here clears all dangers. Immediately to the south is the 2.25 mile wide Brittas Bay with a ⅓ of a mile off a rocky cliff and conspicuous caravans parked above it. Mizen Head is a low, 10 metres high, flat rocky point having an old tower on its northern side. The shoreline from Mizen Head to Arklow is that of a sandy beach.

The shoreline from Arklow to Mizen Head
Image: Michael Harpur

1½ miles south-southwest from Wicklow Head resides the Horseshoe a bank of coarse gravel and stones. On its shallowest part near the north end, there is little more than 0.5 meters of water. The bank is marked by a port hand marker buoy to the south-west of the bank that vessels should pass to the seaward side of.

Horseshoe – Port Can Buoy Fl R 3s position: 52° 56.616’N, 005° 59.404’W

There is a narrow unmarked passage between the bank and the shore, with from 6 to 8 metres of water, but it cannot be recommended without local knowledge.

Three miles south by south-west of Wicklow Head is the low 15 metres high Ardmore Point, with steep grassy sides but no buildings. The half-tide Wolf Rock, with foul ground in the vicinity, resides 600 metres to the south of Ardmore Point. Part of it dries to about 1 metre and it is nearly 800 metres out from the shoreline. It is recommended that sailing vessels keep a distance of ½ a mile out from the rock or maintaining a least depth of more than 10 metres in this area.

Arklow on the Avoca River
Image: Michael Harpur

Just over eleven miles south by southwest of Wicklow Head and about midway between Kilmichael Point and Mizen Head is Arklow Head. Arklow Rock a rugged eminence of 123 metres high, albeit continually being reduced by quarrying, is a conspicuous seaward mark located 2 miles to the northward of Arklow point. 1.2 miles further northward of the headland is the harbour town of Arklow Click to view haven. Entered between two parallel piers at the mouth of the Avoca River, Arklow offers a completely protected harbour basin with a visitor pontoon on the south bank of the river and a marina on the north bank.

This coastal area between Kilmichael Point, two miles to the south of Arklow, and effectively as far north as Wicklow Head is enclosed by the extensive Arklow Bank. This is a narrow shallow ridge of sand, awash in places, about 12 miles in length and a ¼ to ⅔ of a mile wide. It resides 4 to 6 miles offshore running nearly parallel to the shoreline. The shallowest and most dangerous part is towards the north end, where there is one spot with 1 metre of water. Over portions of the middle of the bank there is as much as from 5 to 6 metres and in settled conditions, leisure vessel may cross over it. Towards the south end, it again becomes shallow, with patches of only 1.8 metres of water.

Arklow Bank has been made highly conspicuous by its wind farm. This is currently made up of a test of seven GE 3.6 MW machines, with 106-metre turbines, and a further 193 turbines are planned. There are also two tall and well-lit weather data collection masts. There are Cardinals off the north and south edges of the bank, plus two additional buoys have been placed on the eastern edge of the bank; although there are no markers on the western side:

North Arklow - North Cardinal Q position: 52° 53.862’N, 005° 55.263’W

No. 2 Arklow – Red Buoy Fl R 6s position: 52° 50.294’N, 005° 54.558’W

No. 1 Arklow - Red Buoy Fl (3) R 10s position: 52° 44.327’N, 005° 56.029’W

South Arklow – South Cardinal VQ (6) + LFl 10s position: 52° 40.812’N, 005° 59.230’W

A further Yellow/Black Superbuoy, with a topmark of two cones pointing downwards, replaced the lightship Arklow Lanby. The Superbuoy is now in a new position stationed about a mile to the south-east of South Arklow and has been renamed South Arklow.

South Arklow - Superbuoy Q(6)+ LFL 15 s 6(0.6+0.6)+ 2 + 5.8s = 15s position: 52° 40.196'N, 005° 58.886'W

Please note

A vessel should keep a mile to the eastward of all these buoys, as the ebb tide sets strongly in over the bank. The same precaution must be used when near the inner edge of the bank with the flood tide which sets strongly out over it. In heavy weather, it is advised that a vessel keeps a couple of miles off the Arklow Bank. Outside the bank, the depth of over 40 metres will be found about a ¼ of a mile from its south end, likewise to the east and the same depth ½ a mile from its north end.


From Arklow to Cahore Point the coast is generally rocky, of moderate elevation, and free from danger except at the Glassgorman Banks. The soundings increase gradually from the shore; at ½ a mile's distance, there are 10 to 12 metres on clear ground, and 50 metres of water 8 or 10 miles out.

Courtown Harbour to Kilmichael Point with Tara Hill in the backdrop
Image: Michael Harpur

Kilmichael Point is a low rocky foreshore, that lies about and 3.5 miles to the northeast of Tara Hill. Tara Hill is a very prominent seamark being a round hill that raises abruptly to an elevation of 251 metres.

Immediately offshore and to the south-east of Kilmichael Point is the Glassgorman Banks. These consist of several detached shoals, with narrow and intricate channels between them, enclosing the shore between Tara Hill and Arklow Rock. The least water on the banks, 1.8 metres is at the northern end of the outer bank 1.5 miles east of Kilmichael Point, whilst in other parts, there are from 4 to 8 metres. Two port hand buoy marks the outer edge of the bank.

No. 2 Glassgorman - Port Can Buoy Fl (4) R 10 position: 52° 44.514’N, 006° 05.343’W

No. 1 Glassgorman - Port Can Buoy Fl (2) R 6s position: 52° 39.075’N, 006° 07.441’W

An alternate inshore channel runs between the west side of Glassgorman Banks and the coastal bank off Kilmichael Point that has a least reported depth of 3.6 metres approximately 0.8 of a mile south-southeast of the point.

Courtown Harbour's inner basin
Image: Michael Harpur

Five miles to the northeast of Cahore Point, and about midway between it and Kilmichael point, is Courtown Harbour Click to view haven with a small pier and harbour. It offers an anchorage off a village harbour with a small basin. Medium and shallow-draft vessels may enter the basin and come alongside the harbour wall. A yellow Outflow Buoy is moored off the harbour.

Courtown Outflow Buoy – Yellow Buoy Fl Y 10s position: 52° 38.437’N, 006° 12.975’W

Cahore (Polduff) Pier
Image: Michael Harpur

Cahore Point, with the small Cahore Harbour, or Polduff, Click to view haven protected by a pier about 0.5 mile northwest of the point, has a conspicuous white house on its summit. Its highest part attains an elevation of 19 metres and Ballygarret Roman Catholic Chapel, about 1½ miles northwest of the point, is also easy to identify.
Please note

Situated just five minutes from the north entrance to the Rusk Channel Cahore makes an ideal tide wait location for south and then westbound vessels. At high water Dover, this starts to run south at up to 3 kn making it the ideal staging point to set up a ‘single tide jump’ to Kilmore Quay.

Morriscastle Beach to the south of Cahore at dusk
Image: Mark Sinnott Via CC BY-SA

Continuing south the coast from the Cahore Point to Wexford Harbour’s Raven Point, a distance of 15 miles, continues the theme of alternating ranges of 50-metre high clay cliffs and sandhills. The shoreline is again fronted by a series of dangerous outlying banks, with deep water inside, and good channels between.

About 3½ miles south by south-west of Cahore Point is Morris Castle that may be identified by a conspicuous group of white houses. The whole space here within the Blackwater Bank to the southward of the Rusk, discussed presently, is free from danger; with from 10 to 20 metres in mid-channel, shoaling gradually towards the shore, and deepening towards the bank, which is steep-to. The bottom throughout is clean sand and a vessel may anchor in any part of it in settled conditions to await a tide.

Approximately 5 miles north-northeast of Raven Point is Blackwater Head that is easily identified by the abrupt south-west termination of clay cliffs and the ruins of a house on its summit. Between Blackwater Head and Raven Point, the coast is backed by undulating hills. The 99 metres high Ballyrevan is most prominent standing about 2.5 miles south-west of the head. Immediately north of Wexford Harbour’s Raven Point is Wexford Bay or North Bay with a sandy bottom that gradually shoals toward the shore.

The key bank in this area is the aforementioned Blackwater Bank that resides to the north of the Lucifer Bank. This is an extensive ridge of sand, 3 to 4.5 miles offshore and running nearly parallel with the coastline. It is 7 miles long and at its widest part 1.5 miles wide. The drying part is towards the north end where there are marked wrecks nearby. The inside, or western side of the bank, is steep-to with 15 metres 400 metres off. The seaward, or eastern side, by contrast, deepens gradually to depths of 5 metres and then falls abruptly into 30 metres. Blackwater Bank is marked by five buoys, one at the southern end, and two on its eastern side and two on the inside.

West Blackwater – Starboard Can Buoy Fl G 6s position: 52° 25.865’N, 006° 13.572’W

Southeast Blackwater – Port Can Buoy Fl R 10s position: 52° 25.644’N, 006° 09.719’W

South Blackwater – South Cardinal Q (6) + LFl 15s position: 52° 22.757’N, 006° 12.866’W

East Blackwater – East Cardinal Q (3) 10s position: 52° 28.031’N, 006° 08.056’W

No. 1 Rusk - Port Can Buoy Fl (2) G 5s position: 52° 28.539’N, 006° 11.799’W

A ½ mile to the north of the Blackwater Bank is Money-weights Bank. This is a small but dangerous bank of which about a ½ mile of it dries. Money-weights northern end is marked by the North Blackwater North Cardinal.

North Blackwater – North Cardinal Q position: 52° 32.225’N, 006° 09.520’W

Inshore the Rusk and Ram Banks, tailing off from Cahore Point, are about 3 miles long, and are ⅓ to ⅓ of a mile wide.

The Rusk Bank has 2.4 metres at low water over a considerable space near its north and widest end. Its south part is separated from Money-weights Bank by the ½ mile wide Rusk Channel. Its northern part extends 1 mile towards Cahore Point. It is marked by three port hand red buoys are placed on the eastern side:

No. 6 Rusk - Port Can Buoy Fl R 3s position: 52° 32.666’N, 006° 10.425’W

No. 4 Rusk – Port Can Buoy Fl (3) R 6s position: 52° 31.089’N, 006° 10.841’W

No. 2 Rusk – Port Hand Buoy Fl (2) R 5s position: 52° 28.638’N, 006°12.613’W

The Ram Bank is a spit extending south from Cahore Point with a least depth of 1.4 metres near the shore - less water has been reported. A direct line from the No. 6 Rusk buoy to Cahore Point leads just north of the Ram.

Between the east side of Rusk Bank and the west side of Money-weights Bank resides the Rusk Channel. The channel is part of the commercial shipping inshore coastal route and is about 0.5 a mile wide with depths of 12.8 to 14.6 metres. It is marked by the aforementioned buoys that lie to the east of the east side of Rusk Bank and the west side of the Blackwater and Money Weights Bank.

It is entered between by passing to the east of the Rusk Bank No. 6 Light-buoy, port hand, situated about 1½ miles to the south-east of Cahore Point, then passing to the west of North Blackwater Light buoy, north cardinal, that mark the channel’s northern end. Continue through the channel to the east of No. 4 Light-buoy, port hand, that marks the west side of the channel. Then continue out of the Rusk Channel No. 1 Light-buoy, starboard hand, and Rusk Channel No. 2 Light-buoy, port hand. These latter buoys mark the channel’s southern end.

Between the north end of the Rusk Bank, about a mile to the north-west, and a spit extending south from Cahore Point called The Ram is the Sluice Channel. The Sluice Channel is an alternative to the Rusk Channel and about half as wide or less. This has a charted least depth of 4.7 metres but the channel changes each year and depths of 2 metres and less have been reported. Locals who prefer to sail along the coast often use this channel. It cannot be recommended for strangers where the larger commercial Rusk Channel is the preferred approach. If it is selected, great care should be taken at all times. The northern No. 6 marker marks both the entrance to The Rusk channel and the north entrance of The Sluice.


Wexford Harbour
Image: Michael Harpur

Inshore to the south-east of the Raven is Wexford Harbour Click to view haven that is a vast water covered estuary to the River Slaney. More than half of the estuary uncovers and the remainder is very shallow. Four miles to the west of the estuary, Wexford Town and two church spires, standing on the raised west bank of the river, are conspicuous. Rosslare Point, just over 2 miles south by south-west of Raven Point, marks the southern extremity of the harbour.

Wexford Harbour as seen from the southern shore with Rosslare Point (right)
Image: Michael Harpur

A series of moving sand bars complicating access to Wexford Harbour of which the Dogger Bank, extends out a mile from the opening between the two adjacent points of Rosslare to the Raven Points.

The entrance to Wexford Harbour
Image: Michael Harpur

It is made up of hard sand and some gravel that dries in places. This area is subject to significant shifting sands plus changing depths and Wexford Bar Buoy, the Bar Buoy as it is known locally, will be found marking the approaches.

Wexford Harbour Bay Buoy
Image: Wexford Harbour Office
Wexford Harbour Bar Buoy (Lighted) Safe Water Mark L Fl 10s position:52° 19.183' N, 006° 19.453' W

The Bar Buoy is a red and white safe water marker that lies in the North Sheer Channel, somewhere between the entrance and Long Bank, typically on the 10-metre contour and 1½ to 2 miles outside the estuaries' entrance points. This marks the start of a line of clearly visible port and starboard channel markers that lead into the quays.

The area of water between Wexford Harbour and Rosslare Europort Click to view haven, formerly and more commonly known as Rosslare Harbour, is called Rosslare Bay Click to view haven. Otherwise known as South Bay, it is situated between Greenore Point and the entrance to Wexford Harbour, 6 miles to the north and offers a good anchorage.

Rosslare Bay as seen from the north
Image: Michael Harpur

The shoreline here is initially characterised by low ranges of clay cliffs that reach 2 miles north-west of Rosslare Harbour. At this point a large flat-roofed hotel building, with a water tower, close south by southeast, is conspicuous. Progressing further north the shore gradually slopes down to a strip of sand hills terminating at Rosslare Point to form the east side of Wexford Harbour. Rosslare Bay is shallow near to the shore, with 5 metres of water at 1 mile's distance off and out in the North Sheer, close to the banks, 12 to 13 metres will be found.

Rosslare Bay as seen from the southeast over Rosslare Europort
Image: Michael Harpur

Rosslare Europort is addressed from the north through the North Shear Channel. This, in turn, is addressed from further north by passing through the aforementioned Rusk Channel, or passing between the north end of Lucifer Bank, discussed presently, and the south end of the Blackwater Bank. A course is then steered for the light structure on the head of the breakwater bearing on a 195°(T) that leads through North Shear Channel to the harbour – reciprocal or northbound bearing 015°(T).

This passes to north and east of the Long Bank that extends along the front of both Rosslare Bay and Wexford Harbour. The Long Bank lies in a north by northeast direction and is 4.5 miles long and about ½ a mile wide. The shallowest part is 2.8 metres near the centre of the bank. The south end is marked by the aforementioned South Long, but the north end and west side are also marked by a cardinal and starboard marker.

North Long – North Cardinal Q position: 52° 21.432’N, 006° 16.967’W

West Long – Green Can Buoy Q G position: 52° 18.174’N, 006° 17.963’W

A noteworthy extension to the north of the Long Bank, and the North Long buoy are Barham Shoals, with 8.2 metres of cover.

The southernmost sand bank that encloses Rosslare Bay’s eastern side is Holdens Bed. It is approximately ¾ of a mile long, north to south, and a ¼ of a mile wide. Located immediately to the south-west of the Long Bank it may be considered a detached portion of this larger bank. The Holdens Bed has 5.8 metres of water at its shallowest point and its western edge is steep-to.

Outside the Long Bank, five miles east by south-east from Rosslare Point, resides Lucifer Bank. It is about 1.5 miles in length, lying in a north-northeast and south-southwest direction, and nearly ⅔ of a mile wide, with 3.5 to 6.5 metres over it.

Less than two miles to the east of the Long Bank, and merging into the southern end of Lucifer Bank, New Grounds is a narrow bank of sand 1.75 miles long, with 3.5 metres of water, and 10 to 23 metres close-to on either side. Both New Ground and Lucifer are marked by an East Cardinal, positioned well east and south of these banks, on the seaward side.

Lucifer - East Cardinal VQ (3) 5s position: 52° 17.035’N, 006° 12.671’W

Rosslare Europort situated on the south shore of Rosslare Bay
Image: Michael Harpur

Rosslare Harbour and Bay are entered and exited to the south via the South Shear Channel. The South Shear Channel passes south of the Holden’s Bed and Long Bank. The North Shear Channel passes north and west of it.

Rosslare Europort as seen from the South Sheer Channel
Image: Michael Harpur

The South Shear is immediately south of Holdens Bed bank and the southern end of the Long Bank. It is ½ a mile wide with a controlled depth of 6.7 metres at the entrance decreasing to 3.9 to 4.5 metres off the head of the harbour breakwater. The key northern markers for the South Shear are starboard markers off the Holdens Bank plus a south cardinal off the southern end of the Long Bank. All of the following markers should be passed to starboard on entry.

West Holdens – Starboard Buoy Fl (3) G 10s position: 52° 15.763'N, 006° 18.747'W

South Holdens – Starboard Buoy Fl (2) G 6s position: 52° 15.146'N, 006° 17.249'W

South Long - South Cardinal VQ (6) + LFl 10s position: 52° 14.835’N, 006° 15.647’W

Carrick Rock beacon as seen over the channel's Calmines buoy
Image: Michael Harpur

The South Shear’s southern dangers, on the opposite or south side of the channel, are the shoals and reefs surrounding the mainland’s Greenore Point plus the Splaugh Rock. These are marked by the following markers that should be passed to port on entry.

Splaugh - Red Can Buoy Fl R 6s position: 52° 14.432’N, 006° 16.774’W

Calmines - Red Can Buoy Fl R 2s position: 52° 14.997’N, 006° 17.781’w

The channel, along with the North Sheer, is supported at night by a white sector light from red metal tower set on Rosslare Harbour pierhead.

Pierhead Light – Red Tower Oc.W.R.G. 5s 15m 13-10M position: 52° 15.430’N, 006° 20.320’W

The light sectors are as follows; Green 098°-188°, White-208°, Red -246°, Green-283°, White-286°, Red-320°.

Rosslare Europort's pierhead light and water tower make for prominent marks
Image: Michael Harpur

Vessels continuing south and west may avail of the 'Westbound; Rosslare to Cork Harbour' and Irish coastal description Route location in ‘Routes’.
What is the best sailing time?
May to September is the traditional Irish Sailing season with June July offering the best weather. June and July’s statistical incidence of strong winds are however two days of winds up to force seven. As such, depending on personal sailing preferences, a vessel may expect to be held-up or enjoy robust sailing conditions. Ireland is not subject to persistent fog. Statistically complete days of persistent fog occur less than once in a decade.

Are there any security concerns?
Never been a security issue known to have occurred sailing off the Irish coast.

With thanks to:
inyourfootsteps.com research

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