Shipping movements along the entire length of the Manchester Ship Canal are managed from the control room at Eastham. Vessel movements are planned and monitored from the control room via VHF radio and AIS transponders. Vessels approaching Brombrough bar, at the entrance to Eastham Channel should report to the control room on VHF channel 7 for an update on shipping movements.
As a general rule, outward vessels have priority before high water and inward vessels have priority after high water. The Eastham lock entrance is manned 4 hours either side of high water.
Pilotage is compulsory on vessels over 50 metres in length and on vessels carrying hazardous materials. When moving in the canal all vessels must use VHF channel 14 for communicating with Eastham Port Control.
There are a further 4 sets of locks above Eastham on the journey to Manchester. Also at these locks are a number of sluices which pass water down the canal. These are also controlled and monitored from the control room. During, and particularly after, periods of heavy rainfall, the rate of water flow down the canal can increase dramatically, causing hazardous conditions for vessels navigating upon the canal.
Pleasure craft are allowed onto the ship canal but only if they have been surveyed by an approved surveyor, have proof of insurance and are experienced owners. Shared ownership and hire boats are prohibited.
Essential notices for the Master of any vessel using the Manchester Ship Canal:
Information about The Port Marine Safety Code:
Notices, application forms and documents for Marine Event Permit with Peel Ports - Mersey:
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