River Ely

5_notsWhen navigating on the River Ely, you should note that there is a 5 knot speed limit. You should also exercise caution when passing under bridges, and keep a look out for paddle craft and vessels emerging from mooring areas. The next landmark is Pont y Werin Bridge, located about halfway along Cardiff Marina’s moorings. See below for details of the bridge operation.

A road bridge, the Cogan Spur, is a short distance above Pont y Werin. It is possible for small boats to navigate further upstream, but you are advised to be especially aware of your air draught. Cardiff Marine Village lies approximately 1.5 miles upstream of the river entrance, just beyond the Penarth Road Bridge.

Pont Y Werin Bridge

The bridge spans over the River Ely, connecting Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan for pedestrians and cyclists. The centre section lifts for navigation and boat operations. It is managed by Barrage Control, who can be contacted on VHF Channel 18.

Permitted navigation

  1. Vessels may pass under the fully lowered bridge if there is sufficient air draft.
  2. When the three vertical red lights are extinguished either side of the bridge, you may proceed. The decision to proceed always rests with the Master of the vessel. Air draught boards are placed on both the downstream and upstream sides of the bridge to help mariners in their decision to proceed.
  3. Orange lights are illuminated under the lifting span at night to confirm that it is closed.

Restricted navigation

  1. When the bridge is being prepared to open or close, the lights on either side of the channel (both upstream and downstream) will show fixed red – meaning no vessels are to proceed.
  2. Navigation lights will flash red – if emergency action is required (maintain a listening watch on VHF Channel 18).

Requesting bridge operation

A timetabled lift operation is in place to help mariners plan effectively for locking out of Cardiff Bay Barrage.

The timetable, which is on a request basis via VHF 18, is as follows:

Lift at five minutes past the hour
Lift at 25 minutes to the hour

Mariners are advised to give Barrage Control good notice of their intention to navigate underneath the bridge, so that the lift can be planned during busy periods of operation.

Mariners are also requested to keep a listening watch on VHF 18 at all times, in case they need to be notified of any change to the timetable.

In addition, mariners should beware of two-way traffic on the river while passing through the bridge span, and be prepared to receive direction from Barrage Control staff via VHF 18.

Up-to-date information may be obtained from Barrage Control on 029 2070 0234 or on VHF Channel 18.

River Ely

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