Crossing Breydon Water

Breydon Water is the estuary where the rivers Bure, Are and Waveney flow out to the sea through the port of Great Yarmouth. It is a large expanse of tidal water and the currents here can be very strong. At low tide the large mud flats and saltings are revealed, these are very popular with wading birds such as wigeons and lapwings.  Safe passage for boats its shown with red and green markers it is important to stay between these markers to avoid running aground.


Plan your journey

It is important to think ahead and plan your journey across Breydon Water in advance, don’t just set out after breakfast. Download and read the Broads Authority Guidance for Crossing Breydon Water this can also be found at the back of your Skipper Manual.

Bear in mind the weather conditions and visibility and do not set out if there is poor visibility or strong winds. Tidal flow around Great Yarmouth can be very strong and there are three bridges to negotiate, at average high water the clearance under two of these bridges is only 7ft, so always plan to depart or arrive at Great Yarmouth bridges at slack water (one hour after low water at Great Yarmouth Yacht Station). Tide will be less of a hazard and you will have maximum clearance under the bridges. You can check the tide tables in your Skippers Manual or the Broadcaster visitor magazine (available from reception) for tidal information. If in doubt, call Great Yarmouth Yacht Station on 01493 842794 or Broads Radio Control on 01603 756056.

If your boat has a raised external steering position you need to be particularly aware of rapidly rising tide which may prevent you navigating under the bridges. With other types of cruiser it is quite safe to pass through 2 or 3 hours after and 1 hour before low water.



If travelling across Breydon Water from the Northern Broads via the River Bure you will need to pass through three bridges before reaching Breydon Water.  Do not risk going through bridges unless you have sufficient clearance, always check the gauge at the side of the bridge and remember that windscreens and canopies must be lowered in advance of these bridges.

Acle Road Bridge & Vauxhall Bridge – pay attention to the lights on the bridge stop if three vertical red lights are lit on the bridge.

Breydon Bridge – go through the right hand side span and navigate between the two arrows on the bridge.

Do not approach or pass under Haven Bridge as the currents here are extremely strong and could drag you out to sea.

Keep about 100 yards distance from any boat going in the same direction to give yourself room to manoeuvre. Yacht skippers have difficulties in manoeuvring their yachts with their masts down and it is impossible for them to reverse, so motor cruisers should always give way to yachts.


Crossing Breydon Water

Marker posts show the navigable channel across Breydon Water. It is essential that you steer between the lines of these marker posts to avoid difficulties. Do not attempt shortcuts across Breydon Water, if you go outside of the marker posts you will almost certainly run aground and have to remain there until the tide rises.

If crossing Breydon Water going south, after leaving Great Yarmouth, keep the green marker posts to your right and the red marker posts to your left. If heading north towards Great Yarmouth, keep the green marker posts to your left and the red marker posts to your right. Remember Up, Red, Right.

Be considerate, and reduce your speed and wash when overtaking other boats and be sure to keep clear of large commercial vessels whilst on Breydon Water and at the mouth of the River Bure, these vessels are restricted by the depth of water so may not be able to manoeuver around you.

Remember there are strict speed limits when you enter the Rivers Bure, Waveney and Yare.



Going south down the River Bure from Acle, the Stracey Arms Wind Pump, 7.5 miles from Great Yarmouth is the last safe mooring place before reaching the Port of Great Yarmouth Marina and Great Yarmouth Yacht Station.

Going north towards Great Yarmouth, the last safe moorings are at Berney Arms on the River Yare and Burgh Castle on the River Waveney. Both of these moorings are approximately 4 miles from Great Yarmouth.


Breakdown or Emergency

Should you suffer a mechanical breakdown, drop the mud weight and pay of as much rope as you can. This will help prevent you from drifting. Try to establish where the mechanical failure is and if you cannot rectify it yourself contact us immediately. If you have no means of contact hail a passing boat and ask them to contact the boatyard for you. Do not moor to a channel marker unless there is an emergency or a mechanical breakdown and your boat does not have a mud weight. If you are asked to help anyone in trouble, use the numbers below and ask for expert help, don’t try to assist yourself.

Useful numbers

Emergencies – Coast Guard, Police, Ambulance    999

Problems/advice – Broads Radio Control     01603 756 056

Non emergency – Police     0845 456 4567

If you have to telephone in an emergency be as specific as possible about your location. Give:

  • the name of your boat
  • the number of people on board
  • your location eg. the name of the river, nearest village, moorings, landmarks or post number

Are you looking for a Norfolk Broads boating holiday? If so, have a look at our entire fleet of hire cruisers.