We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

Sharpness Port

The dock at Sharpness was opened in 1874 and is one of the most inland ports in Britain, and the eighth largest in the South West. It serves as the gateway from the River Severn to the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal.

The Canal & River Trust is the Port Authority for the impounded dock, while the quayside activities are run by Sharpness Dock Limited.  The Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA) maintains a rescue station in the Port, supporting vessels on the River Severn, which famously has the second largest tidal range in the world.

A fascinating film showing how the port operated in 1978 can be seen on the BBC archive website.

Information for Leisure Traffic visiting the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal

Sharpness Port is one of the access points to England’s historic network of inland waterways.  Visiting vessels entering the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal require:

  • a Canal & River Trust licence (all our licence fees can be found here including options for short term and long term licences); 
  • a Boat Safety Certificate or equivalent (e.g. Declaration sheet);
  • Insurance. 

You need to purchase your licence online in advance of your journey or you can call our craft licencing team on 0303 040 4040 to purchase.  You can also visit us at the Gloucester office GL1 2EB  to use our facilities to purchase your licence either online or by phone.

All leisure craft passage should be booked at least 24 hours in advance to ensure the lock is available. This can be done by ringing the Pier Head (answer phone messages can be left outside of the published watch-keeping times above).

Leisure traffic wishing to pass through the port outside of the published times will only be allowed at the discretion of the harbour master.

Sharpness Pier Head number: 01453 511968

Leisure craft also pay a lockage fee in addition to the licence fee for passing through the entrance lock and using the port – these are set out below:

If you already have a full Canal & River Trust Licence the charges are as follows:

12 months Licence – 16 lockages free

6 months Licence – 8 lockages free

3 months Licence – 4 lockages free

For those purchasing a short term licence or a 30 day explorer licence, and those making trips above the number permitted by their licence, there will be a £25 lockage fee each way

Group booking discounts as follows:

Number of craft

Cost per boat

2 – 5


6 – 10


11 – 20


20 plus

Price on application

Discounts are subject to receipt of a single payment for all craft in the group, and all craft passing through Sharpness lock as a single unit both on arrival and departure from Sharpness

Operating hours for Operational Staff at Sharpness Port

Canal & River Trust staff operate from the port in line with customer demands and commercial shipping movements. The port is open for leisure traffic between the hours of 9am and 9pm in accordance with the high water times set out below.

Watch-keeping duties are:

6 hours – 5 hours before high water and 1 hour after high water

Tide-keeping duties are:

3 hours – 2.5 hours before high water and 0.5 hour after high water

General Duties times:

8am to 4pm – 8 hours

Restrictions sometimes apply at the port and are published accordingly.

Check the latest information on the website, or ring the Pier Head on the number above.

Gloucester Harbour Trustees

Canal & River Trust are the statutory Port Authority for Sharpness Docks only.

The competent Harbour Authority for the River Severn from the Severn Road Bridges up to Gloucester is Gloucester Harbour Trustees and they are responsible for navigation aids in the channel and for the provision of pilots.

Information relating to passage from Gloucester to Bristol using the River Severn can be found on their website, including how to book Pilotage.

Traffic lights

Here you will find the traffic light warning system


Gloucester Office can be contacted on 01452 318008 - 01452 318047 - 01452 318023 or enquiries.southwalessevern@canalrivertrust.org.uk

Last date edited: 11 May 2017