Pilotage is compulsory for all vessels greater than 50m in length. Pilotage is available to smaller vessels (and to Caledonian Canal sealock) – request services from Harbour Office.

Pilot normally boards in the vicinity of the Meikle Mee buoy (57 ̊30.3'N 004 ̊ 11.8'W).

Distance from pilot station to Port 1.5 miles. Call “Inverness Pilots” on VHF Channel 12.

Arrival notification

Approaching vessels should pass their Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) a minimum of 24 hours in advance, preferably through their agent, or directly to the Harbour Office.


Commercial vessels for the Port normally anchor 2.5 cables ENE of the Munlochy Buoy (57 ̊33.0'N 004 ̊07.5'W) to await sufficient water to cross Middle Bank, in depths between 9m and 18.3m. Area is good holding ground, comprising of sand/mud. Small vessels wishing to transit the Caledonian Canal may anchor, in good holding ground, two cables NNW of canal sealock entrance in 8m of water.


Commercial shipping to/from the port is normally carried out from two hours prior to High Water up to High Water. Vessels arriving prior to this will anchor and await the tide. Shallow draught vessels may be worked at Low Tide.

1. Fuel Oil Tankers (Upper Harbour);

Maximum fuel vessel dimensions guaranteed for any High Water tide throughout the year are:

Length - 93m (Fuel Oil Vessels greater than 93m cannot be accepted.)
Beam - 17.2m
Draught - 5.3m (Up to 6.0m may be possible, dependent on tide on the arrival day, - contact Harbour Office prior to loading fuel cargo.)

2. Dry Bulk Cargo Vessels (Lower Harbour.)

Maximum dry cargo vessel dimensions guaranteed for any High Water tide throughout the year are:

Length - 100m (Up to 125m may be possible.)
Beam - 17.2m
Draught - 5.3m (Up to 6.0m may be possible, dependent on tide on the arrival day, - contact Harbour Office prior to loading dry cargo.)

Restrictions on approach

(i) Minimum depth over Middle Bank, on a line between Munlochy Buoy and pilot station at Meikle Mee Buoy, is 2.1m below chart datum.

(ii) Minimum depth over Middle Bank, by dogleg course passing half a cable north of Petty Bank Buoy (57 ̊31.65'N 004 ̊08.9'W), is 2.4m below chart datum.

(iii) Kessock Bridge (one mile westwards of pilot boarding station), clearance beneath bridge is 29.0m at Mean High Water Springs. (MHWS is a 4.8m tidal height.)

Vessels must confirm air draft is less than 29.0m, inclusive of any radio aerials, prior to Pilot boarding.


The river-bed consists of soft mud and gravel, and there is no record of any vessel sustaining damage through taking the bottom. Vessels normally berth port side to, and swing round on departure.

Citadel Quay South (tanker berth) – length 145m, depth alongside 5.4m below chart datum

Citadel Quay North – length 100m, depth alongside 3.0m below chart datum

Longman Quay – length 340m, depth alongside 5.5m below chart datum.

North Longman Quay - length 150m, depth alongside 5.0m below chart datum. All berths have horizontal and half height vertical timber fendering on quay faces.

Fresh water is available on all berths. Vessels requiring fresh water must make their request prior to, or on arrival. Rate 15 tonnes/hour maximum.

Information for Masters

Inverness Harbour Radio - Channels 12 and 16 VHF.

Telephone contact numbers in case of Emergency whilst berthed at Inverness Harbour:

  During day After hours
Inverness Harbour Office 01463 715715 Same
Police 01463 715555 or 999 Same
Fire Brigade 01463 222722 or 999 Same
Ambulance 01463 225200 or 999 Same
Coastguard 01463 220577 or 999 01224 592334 or 999

Ships Agents

OBC 01224 213312 07799 710606
Certas Energy Ltd 01463 220055 / 236950 07825 996375
Scotline 01463 230802 / 223821 01463 223821
Highland Stevedoring Ltd 01349 856777 07909 914167
Cory Brothers 01324 473382 Same
GP Shipping 01349 854260 Same
ALS (Abnormal Load Services) 01224 937211 07540 994900


Whilst berthed in the Port of Inverness, Masters must ensure that adequate moorings are used. Hydro-electric sluices could be opened without prior warning, so an efficient watch must be kept on moorings at all times.

Garbage/Waste Disposal

  • General non-segregated garbage must only be placed in the large green, enclosed skips which are located as per the Port layout graphic. Under no circumstances can general garbage be placed in any type of open skip, in use around the Port. Please ensure that the crew is aware of this.
  • Segregated waste for recycling – There are 2 “wheelie bins” in use. The larger one is for mixed paper/magazines/tin cans & plastic bottles only with the smaller one for bottles only.
  • Oily/Rags & Filters - There is no facility. Arrange disposal through the Ship's Agent.
  • White goods - There is no facility. Arrange disposal through the Ship's Agent.
  • Regarding the use of road tankers for disposal of bulk oily residues, sludge or chemical mixtures, the Harbour Office must be informed of intention to transfer, prior to any transfer taking place.

Fresh Water

Available on all quays. Request must be made on arrival.


The Master is responsible for this operation, and must ensure that operational checklists, on both the part of the vessel, and the road tanker operative, have been fully completed and agreed, prior to any transfer commencing. The Harbour Office must be informed of intention to bunker, prior to transfer, and will give authorisation for the operation to proceed. Bunkering permitted during daylight hours only.


A proper gangway or accommodation ladder to be rigged as per the Statutory Requirements at all times. An effective safety net to be rigged below the access. A lifebuoy with lifeline to be available in the vicinity of the gangway or other means of access. During the hours of darkness, the means of access to be adequately illuminated. There are no dedicated walkways within the Port. Masters should instruct crew members going ashore to be aware that forklift trucks and road haulage vehicles are operating twenty-four hours a day. Crew members are prohibited from walking within areas of stowed cargo.


Only essential vehicles (chandlers/stores & repair technicians) permitted within the Port area, car parking available in outside car park adjacent to Harbour Office. Permission and directions for essential vehicles and pedestrians to be granted by Harbour Office. Portable barriers, coned working areas and safe routes to be observed.

Gangway/Deck Watchmen

Ships' personnel provide own watchmen.


A number of companies operate at the Port and should be arranged as required through own agent.


Mobile cranes up to a maximum tonnage of 70 tonnes available locally, arranged as required through own agent. Larger cranes of up to 1,000 tonnes can be easily arranged with prior notice.


Masters should be aware that during the Autumn, large amounts of leaves can be carried down by the river. These can build up between the hull and the quay. Ballasting times may therefore be extended. Masters should also ensure that cooling water intakes to main engines, and auxiliary equipment, are checked clear, prior to departure.

Diving Operations

No diving operations are permitted within the Port without the prior authorisation of the Harbour Master. A Dive Permit from the Port will have to be completed by the contractor, prior to authorisation being given.


Is not permitted within Port Areas.


Cargo hatches must be closed on entering and departing Port.

Damaged Vessels Entering Port

Any vessel in a damaged or unseaworthy condition is prohibited from entering Port Limits without the prior consent of the Harbour Master.

Immobilisation Of Engines

No vessel at anchor or alongside is permitted to immobilise engines without first having obtained the permission of the Harbour Master.

Manning Requirement

A sufficient number of personnel to deal with an emergency must be present on board at all times during the vessel's stay.

Burning / Welding

No burning or welding is permitted on any berth without having first obtained the permission of the Harbour Master. A Hot Work Permit will require to be issued from the Harbour Master, prior to any work commencing.

Tank Washing

Is not permitted aboard any vessel whilst alongside within the Port.

Safety Notices

Masters shall cause notices to be displayed where they can clearly be seen by persons on board, or about to board the vessel.