In an Emergency

In an Emergency Dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard or use VHF Channel 16.

VHF Channel 14


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Cruise Ship alongside a Small Sight Seeing Boat

Navigational Safety

Tor Bay waters can be busy at times, especially if you visit either one of the harbours. It’s important to know the ‘Rules of the Road’.
All Vessels give way to:
Vessels under power give way to:
Sound Signals
Collision regulations
A solid understanding of the collision regulations will give confidence on the water. Never assume that other mariners are as equally well informed in navigating safely.
On entering harbour
On entering Paignton harbour
Paignton is the only harbour in the South West featuring  a non standard approach, with entry made on the port side. This unusual feature is marked by a ‘N’ or negative seasonal buoy.
Speed limits
Safety for all harbour users is paramount, especially when in confined areas or in close proximity to other vessels. Please take care when navigating in an enclosed harbour and remember the 5 knot speed limit. Be aware of the wash your vessel is creating and be prepared to reduce your speed accordingly. Excessive movement of boats alongside pontoons from wash can create havoc in seconds.  The more open waters of Tor Bay can get extremely busy during the summer season. Your navigation and speed should take into account the prevailing weather conditions and the proximity of other harbour users.
5 Knot Buoys
Between the months of May and September the Harbour Authority places a string of distinctive yellow ‘5 knot’ buoys around the coastal perimeter of Tor Bay to mark the speed limit zone to the beaches. This is enforced by the harbour Patrol Rib ‘Oscar 4’ and is an important safety feature to protect the area frequented by beach users, swimmers, inflatable’s and kayaks.
Ski lanes
There are two dedicated ski lanes within Tor Bay, located at Elberry Cove and Livermead Sands. These provide a channel through the 5 knot marks to the beach, marked with small yellow conical buoys, enabling the access  for the skier from the shore. Stay clear of these areas if not actively engaged in waterskiing. Please be aware that any form of skiing requires the towing craft to have an additional spotter.
Divers Down – ‘A’ flag
Mariners should be able to recognise and understand the significance of the ‘A’Flag. Vessels displaying the ‘A’ Flag have divers in the water. You may also observe additional ‘SMB’s’ (Surface Marker Buoys) which mark individual divers.  You should avoid any such vessel or SMB and give them as wider berth as possible. Reduce your speed and keep a vigilant lookout for underwater objects. Failure to do this could put lives at risk.


Cardinal marks
An East Cardinal mark warns mariners of danger whilst navigating to and from Paignton Harbour. Cardinal marks are positioned on the side of the danger that they are named for, so this east cardinal is east of the danger…in this case, rocks.
Cardinal marks are all yellow and black. An identifying feature is that the points point towards the black part of the buoy, hence the black/yellow/black tower with top and bottom facing points above.
During nighttime this is identified with 3 quick white flashes every 10 seconds (Q(3)10s)
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