The Cinque Port and Haven of

A Trust Port  Managed  by the Sandwich Port and Haven Commissioners under  ancient Acts of Parliament


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to the website of the Sandwich Port and Haven.

The Sandwich Port and Haven is a Trust Port managed by the Sandwich Port and Haven Commissioners for the safe benefit of all Users / Stakeholders.  Although the Port and Haven in its recognisable form has been around for over 200 years, the activities of the Haven go back as far as Roman times.  Sandwich - the entry port to the British Isles for 1000 years - and Roman Richborough 600 years before that.

- by raid and by trade!

More under the HISTORY tab.


Leisure boating guide



Byelaw 3 Refers



Byelaw 2 refers

Note that there are wide areas of shallow water in Pegwell Bay and in the entrance to the river.  Be careful to avoid grounding,  or hitting the river banks and  causing damage to the sensitive saltings and mudflats.  The Harbourmaster is available to assist with advice.  

Tel:      07463 721714


VHF      marine radio, Channel 08

Please also…

Do respect other water users – keep well clear of other craft.

Observe the Speed Limit of 8 Knots, less if necessary through moorings to avoid disturbance to moored craft.

Swimmers.  Swimming is not encouraged, especially around moored craft where the run of the tide makes swimming extremely dangerous.  If falling in near moored craft, strike out for the centre of the river and land where it is easy to climb out clear of moored craft.  Getting very muddy indeed is considered better than drowning.

Comply with the ‘rules of the road’ – consider taking an RYA approved course.  Sandwich Sailing and Motor Boat Club run courses. Tel: Paul Miller on 07595 839044.


The river and it’s margins are important wildlife habitats of international importance…

Be aware of wildlife and avoid sensitive areas

Do not disturb birds nesting in the salt marshes and scrub. Many species of birds are protected by law.  Also have regard for the seals and pass slowly at a sensible distance.

Watch your wash. Excessive wash causes riverbank erosion and is a nuisance to other boaters. Be aware that larger craft - not necessarily travelling very fast - can send a surge of the river some distance ahead of them, of which they will be completely unaware.  Such surges cause moored craft to snatch at their mooring warps and themselves to surge back and forward.

Check the weather and tides before going afloat

Wear a lifejacket, carry a marine VHF radio.

Personal Rubbish

Dispose of your rubbish safely and sensibly and not

by littering the Haven.  Leave nothing but your wake.

Effluent. Please do not discharge ‘black’ water (effluent) into the waters of The Haven - or higher up the river.



Site update 19th November 2020


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Fairway Buoy moved to new position See Notices to Mariners here

Notices to Mariners

Covid 19 NOTICE

Lockdown number two commenced on 5th November 2020 and will continue until 2nd December.  

Mariners should observe the rules as it affects them, but this does not affect the use of the River Stour - which is outside the scope of the Covid Rules.

Robert Holden

Chairman of Commissioners

Lifting off of the Swing Bridge - to be taken away for overhaul.

A 15 minute shuttle bus replaces the bridge for pedestrians and cyclists, for the duration of it being out of service.  

To be back and working, comfortably in time for Christmas.

Photos by

John Clandillon-Baker

This site is the Intellectual Property of the Sandwich Port and Haven Commissioners

Copyright 2020 ©

Unless otherwise shown all pictures on this website were taken by the Webmaster Robert Holden.  If you have something you would like to contribute relevant to the River Stour we would be pleased to hear from you.       

Contact details on the contacts page via the site navigation buttons above.

Notice to Mariners  (NtM)

Sandwich Fairway Buoy is off station

See Notices to Mariners.  Click Here.

Notices to Mariners

Sandwich Swing Bridge

Becoming evermore temperamental the bridge finally decided, back in the early part of this year, (2020) that it was getting too old for the demands of todays usage and expectations.  So it went on strike and refused to budge - perversely having first been opened to river traffic.  So in that river traffic position it could not be made to return to road traffic use and there it remained for backup traffic to grid lock the town.

Kent County Council - whose bridge it is - eventually got their engineers to breath some life into it but it was clearly a very mechanically unwell bridge.  Recognising this the County Council had the bridge lifted off its mountings and transported away for heavy overhaul generally and particularly the fitting of new machinery to make the bridge swing reliably.  As a consequence of its absence road traffic that would normally use the bridge has these past two or so months had to make use of the Sandwich by-pass road, whilst pedestrians and cyclists have used the provided 15 minute shuttle bus service.

…and  20th November 2020, the bridge is returned and craned into position.
There does still remain about two weeks of on site engineering works and testing and retesting, during which the bridge remains closed to traffic.

20th November 2020

Craning the bridge back into position.

This picture is a screen shot from a video taken by James Blackmore of Highway Marine.

With thanks to James for its use.