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.

While the quayside activities are run by Sharpness Dock Limited, we're, in fact, the port authority for the impounded dock. 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).

Leisure craft visiting the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal

Sharpness Port is one of the access points to England’s historic network of inland waterways. If you wish to go on to the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal you'll need:

  • a Canal & River Trust licence includes options for short term and long term licences
  • a Boat Safety Certificate or equivalent (eg. Declaration sheet)
  • insurance

Buy your licence

Please get your licence before your journey, either:

  • online
  • by calling our craft licencing team on 0303 040 4040
  • visiting our Gloucester office, Gloucester Dock, GL1 2EB so you can use our facilities to purchase your licence either online or by phone.

Book your passage 24 hours in advance

You'll need to book at least 24 hours in advance by calling the Sharpness Pier Head on 01453 511968 to make sure the lock is available. (Please leave an answer phone message outside of the published watch-keeping times.)

If you want to pass through the port outside of the published times you will only be allowed at the discretion of the harbour master.

Note: there is a lockage fee (on top of your licence) for passing through the entrance lock and using the port:

  • 12 months Licence – 16 lockages free
  • 6 months Licence – 8 lockages free
  • 3 months Licence – 4 lockages free

If you're buying a short term licence or a 30 day explorer licence, or making trips above the number permitted by your licence, there will be a £25 lockage fee each way.

Group booking discounts as follows:

No' of craft  Cost per boat 
 2 to 5  £25
 6 to 10  £20
 11 to 20  £15
 20 plus  Price on application

The craft in your group will need to pass through Sharpness lock as a single unit both on arrival and departure from Sharpness.

Lock traffic lights

Port entrance signals at the entrance to Sharpness Dock control the safe movement of all craft entering the port from the Severn estuary.

To receive any further instructions, you should also maintain contact with Sharpness Pierhead on VHF channel 13.

On approaching the dock gates, please follow the signal lights as shown below:

Sharpness Docks traffic lights

If you have any queries please contact: Sharpness Port, Navigation House, Sharpness Docks, Berkeley, Gloucestershire GL13 9UD. T:01453 811862 F: 01453 811863

Download our traffic lights / entrance signals information.

Our operating hours

The port is open for leisure traffic between the hours of 9.00am and 9.00pm in line with the high water times set out below.

Watch-keeping duties:
6 hours – 5 hours before high water and 1 hour after high water

Tide-keeping duties:
3 hours – 2.5 hours before high water and 0.5 hour after high water

General duty times:
8.00am to 4.00pm – 8 hours

Note: Restrictions sometimes apply at the port and are published accordingly. Check the latest information on the website, or call the Pier Head on 01453 511968.

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

Last date edited: 6 June 2018