Solent Shipping

The Solent is very busy with a wide range of shipping. There are two separate organisations with responsibility for all shipping and boating activity in The Solent. The Queen’s Harbour Master (QHM) controls Portsmouth Harbour and the Eastern Solent, all of that in front of Stokes Bay. Associated British Ports (ABP) controls the approaches to Southampton Water from a line joining Cowes to Hill Head. Regular shipping passing the bay is diverse: cruise liners, roll-on/roll-off car carriers, bulk cargo and container ships heading for Southampton mix with oil tankers heading to Fawley Poil Refinery.

Cruise Liners
Commercial Shipping and Ferries

Immediately opposite is the Wightlink Fishbourne car ferry terminal with regular ferries to and from the Isle of Wight. Fast Cat and hovercraft ferries also traverse the Solent to Ryde.


Stokes Bay is also home for the “Charlie Anchorage” where ships visiting Portsmouth anchor usually because they are too large for Portsmouth Harbour. And frequently tall ships and other craft anchor in the bay.

Arrivals and departures over a 24-hour perios can be seen at:

Planned shipping in and out of Southampton can be seen at: