Cross Solent Swims


Queen's Harbour Master Portsmouth

LNTM No 11/14

  1. NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN jointly by the Queen's Harbour Master Portsmouth and the Harbour Master ABP Southampton, that swimming across The Solent should not be undertaken without considerable preparation and very careful assessment of the risk. The cross-Solent swimmer has to cross at least one busy shipping lane, taking into account fast moving ferries and hovercraft travelling to and from the Isle of Wight, some of the largest vessels in the world transiting the deep water channel and the many recreational craft that use the area. In addition, tidal streams within The Solent are significant at times and must be carefully factored into any risk assessment.
  2. Before any swim can be undertaken, those authorities responsible for safety on the water and for coordination of the passage of commercial vessels through The Solent need to be informed as early in the planning stage as possible. Principally, these are QHM Portsmouth, who is statutorily responsible for most of the waters of the Eastern Solent, ABP Southampton who operates the Vessel Traffic Management system for the area and Solent Coastguard, which co-ordinates search and rescue resources within the area.
  3. To comply with the Port Marine Safety Code and with the Safety Management Systems of the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth and ABP Southampton, organisers of recreational and charity events planned to take place in The Solent are responsible for the safety of their event and for the detailed planning required to achieve the successful completion of the event.
  4. This responsibility includes the undertaking of a detailed Risk Assessment for the event. Help with this can be found at; “Guidance Notes on Risk Assessments for Events in Harbour Authority Areas” which is available from the Royal Yachting Association ( and at ABP Southampton Notice to Mariners No 15 of 2011 and QHM Portsmouth Local Notice to Mariners 04/14.
  5. To assist with the planning of your event a Code of Conduct & Advice for Cross Solent Swimmers has been prepared and approved by HM Coastguard, Queen’s Harbour Master Portsmouth, Southampton VTS, Solent Sea Rescue Organisation and Ryde Inshore Rescue which can be viewed at
  6. Once completed, a copy of the Event Risk Assessment is to be posted / emailed to the Queen’s Harbour Master, Portsmouth, HM Coastguard, Solent MRCC and ABP Southampton. It is incumbent on the swim organiser to notify, in writing, the above authorities at least 14 days ahead of the event, that a swim is planned. With less than 14 days notice, the publication of required Local Notices to Mariners etc may not be achievable and this could therefore result in the harbour authorities recommending that the event does not take place.
  7. It is the policy of the Queen’s Harbour Master’s Department to charge £150 plus VAT for the release of Local Notice to Mariners (LNTM 03/14 refers). This may be waived under certain circumstances by the Naval Base Commander.
  8. LNTM 13 / 13 is hereby superseded.

S O Hopper
Queen's Harbour Master