Page updated 30 January 2013


Irvine Harbour is on the Ayrshire Coast between Ardrossan and Troon. Entry is by the starboard hand beacon at 55°36’.18 N 04°42’W. Admiralty charts 1866, 2220 & 2126. Notice to Mariners number 01/07 IH refers to the extinguished port hand perch.

Harbour Entrance

From a distance, Irvine can be identified by five blocks of multi story flats located near to the town centre, together with numerous chimneys and church spires. Two nautical miles down the coast, the two and a half cable long, light coloured facade of a paper mill is prominent, particularly when approaching from the south. A tall white tide marker station, referred to locally as the pilot house, is just within the harbour entrance. It is usually seen before the six metre high entrance beacon which is surmounted by a circular deck and solar panels. At night the entrance beacon (Fl.G.3s 6m 5M) flashes green lights every three seconds. A pair of leading lights, (F.R.15m5M - F.G.10m5M) red showing above green 051°T, located on towers 100 metres apart on the harbour wharf, initially give the line of the fairway, and can usually be picked out in daylight. The extent of the stone groynes forming the channel from the entrance beacon to the shoreline is indicated by lines of wooden perches to port and starboard. The entrance beacon also marks the approximate position of the sand bar, which has a charted depth of less than a metre at MLWS. There can be breaking seas at the bar in wind over tide conditions, especially after a spell of heavy rain, when the rivers Irvine and Garnock are in spate. The depth on the bar is affected by the wind. Vessels without local knowledge should exercise extreme caution in northerly or southerly winds as there is a set across the entrance. In particular, note that the charted depth over the bar may vary from season to season.

Irvine Harbour Bridge

A retracting pedestrian bridge has been established at: 55°36’.46N 04°41’.44W just up stream from the second leading light. The purpose of this bridge is to provide pedestrian access to the “Big Idea” Innovations Centre. At MHWS, this hazard to navigation has an air draft of 5 metres under the central span. In the open position the channel is through the opening marked by port and starboard lights on the two bridge supports. In the closed position two additional red lights, mounted on the bridge mid channel, are illuminated.


A two level visitors wharf is located approximately 90 yards beyond the bridge on the starboard side. A water point is housed in a metal box at road level. The Harbour Office is directly opposite. Depth alongside the wharf is 2.2 metres at MLWS. The bottom is soft mud. Berthing alongside the visitors wharf is free for the first night then £15.00 per night. Payment should be sent to: NPL Estate, Fyfe Chamber, 105 West George Street, GLASGOW. G2 1PB


On the river there are 3 trots of fore and aft moorings which are available for resident boats only. On the Irvine side there are pontoons with berths available for both residents and visitor boats. These are on the west section of the pontoons, with the east section being reserved for the Maritime Museum exhibits. There is no booking system in place and fees should be paid at the Ship Inn. We hope to expand this opportunity shortly with provision of power and water.



Useful Telephone Numbers

Irvine Harbour Master, Arran Cameron, 0141 242 7900
Duty Harbourmaster, Trevor Fotheringham, 01294 314050 or 07958 500953
Irvine Harbour Office 01294 314050
Irvine Water Sports Club 01294 274981
Magnum Leisure Centre 01294 278381
Scottish Maritime Museum 01294 278283
Harbour Arts Centre 01294 274059
West of Scotland Boat Jumble 07749 3120159
Harbourside Hotel 01294 275515
Irvine and District Tourist Association 01294 275515
Pilot House – Toilet / Showers 01294 277670

Fuel & Bottled Gas

Petrol, diesel and bottled gas are available at garages in town, about one mile away from the harbor.


There are numerous pubs, restaurants and hotels in the harbour area. The Magnum Leisure Centre offers facilities for most indoor sports, including an indoor swimming pool and sauna. The Harbour Arts Centre exhibits the work of local artists and often has live entertainment. Further up the harbour adjacent to the slip, Irvine Water Sports Club offers hospitality to the crews of visiting vessels. Showers are also available. The Scottish Maritime Museum is located at various sites about the harbour area. Exhibits include a Clyde puffer, a Victorian ship workers flat, an historic engine shop which has been transported from a Govan shipyard and re erected in Irvine. The railway station is close by with frequent fast trains to Glasgow and Prestwick Airport. Beyond the railway station is an extensive shopping mall which offers a 24 hour choice of supermarkets and most other shopping requirements. Bogside Flats on the north shore of the harbour is a registered site of special scientific interest, largely mud flats and bird sanctuary. Extra care should be taken not to pollute the Harbour. Toilets and Showers are provided by North Ayrshire Council at their facility adjacent to the Pilot House.

Whilst every care has been taken in compiling these Sailing Directions and they are believed to be correct at the time of printing (January 2013),the author will not be held responsible for any loss, mishap or accident occurring as a result of using the information contained herein.