Harbour Tide Float

Maryport Harbour To Town South Pier Lighthouse And Tide Float
Maryport south pier, looking towards the lighthouse, was built in 1846 and shows the red tide float. This was raised and lowered depending on the tide, to let shipping know when the water was deep enough to enter the harbour. Before the float a flag was used as a signal. BC.
Maryport Harbour entrance two Funnel steamer enters
Maryport harbour two funnel steamer enters beshide the candlestick lighthouse . The tall mast and ball in the distance is an indication of tide before reliable radio communication. Photo is from a glass slide likely pre 1900s?
Maryport Harbour Sailing Ship Four Masts Entering Port, Under Tow
Maryport Harbour Sailing Ship Four Masts Entering Port, Under Tow. Note the tide ball behind the lighthouse is as high as the tide depth in the harbour.
Maryport Harbour Boys In Rowing Boat With Sails In Distance To
Maryport Harbour Boys In Rowing Boat note the tide ball on the mast beyond the lighthouse.

Tide Ball – Tidal Signal – Maryport

Before radios and reliable tide tables, and when the depth of silt in the harbour may vary – all those factors made entering a harbour a risk.  Thus an indication of the state of the tide and the depth of water in the harbour was indicated by a ball raised or lowered on a mast.  Workington harbour had a similar arrangement.

Tidal Signal – Workington

A red ball by day or a red light by night shown from the Watch Tower at Lonsdale Dock denotes a depth in the harbour of 8 feet or more.  Two red balls or two red lights denotes that navigation is impeded.  From 8 feet flood to 8 feet ebb a red light is shown from the wood pier and a green light from North jetty. The channel to Workington is marked by white and green lights.  Two red leading lights show deepest water in entrance.


Changes in the depths in the inner waters of the Firth of Solway are very rapid, and the chart should be used with caution.