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Free Flow at Chichester Marina – The Practicalities


Below we detail some of the reasons for marina freeflow, and why there may be a delay on the gates.  

While we are operating freeflow we are often waiting for boats who have requested a lock in or out to make their way to the lock. If we delay them once we have confirmed they are free to slip and proceed, not only can this cause delay and upset for the customer it can also have the potential to be dangerous. While we are operating freeflow we try to close the gates on average every 20 minutes, if it is safe to do so, to allow pedestrians to cross.

Closing the gates for a prolonged period of time will create a head of water (i.e. a difference in the height of the water between the harbour and the marina basin). If we try to resume freeflow when there is a head of water, it results in a very strong flow of water which can cause damage to the boats and pontoons in the marina and it can be very dangerous for craft manoeuvring in the marina. To prevent this from happening we would need to stop freeflow. This is not only very inconvenient for our customers but it may result in us not being able to attain a sufficient level of water in the marina basin to be able to operate the lock.

Essentially this would result in the closure of the marina until the next tide with sufficient height – this could be 12 hours at best but potentially 5 days, in the worst case scenario, if we are on neap tides.

Another reason for freeflow is to exchange the water in the marina basin so that we don’t run the risk of the marina becoming stagnant, it maintains the salinity of the water and helps to reduce coral worm.

If you would like more information on navigating the lock, please click here. 

Or click here if you would like to find out more about Chichester Marina.