Harbour Authority

Exeter City Council has responsibility as the Harbour Authority for the Exe Estuary, as well as managing Exeter’s Waterways including the Canal.

Exeter City Council’s appointed Harbour Master is Grahame Forshaw.

The Harbour Authority are responsible for the following:

Moorings – from Topsham Quay to the sea

  • Use of public quay at Topsham for boating activities
  • Provision of buoyage throughout the estuary
  • Hydrographical surveys of channel and clearance of wrecks
  • Navigation bylaw monitoring with merchant shipping regulations control
  • Provision of pilotage


  • Navigation and Safety of boats and sea going vessels

Buoyage and Hydrographics

  • Surveys of the channel in the vicinity of the Bar are carried out annually and buoyage changes are done as necessary and as approved by Trinity House.


  • The navigation route at the mouth of the Estuary changes in order to compensate for the movement of Pole Sands, a large sandbank at the mouth of the estuary which naturally shifts over time.  A notice to mariners is available on the Exeter City Council website.

Navigation maps are available from local chandlers:

Ash Marine, C13 Dart Business Park, Topsham, Exeter EX3 0QH
Phone: 01392 876654
Email: ashmarine@msn.com
Website: www.ashmarine.co.uk

Retreat Boatyard, Retreat Drive, Topsham, Exeter, Devon EX3 0LS
Phone: 01392 874720
Email: office@retreatboatyard.com
Website: www.retreatboatyard.co.uk

The Foc’sle Chandlery, 32 Fore St, Topsham, Exeter, Devon, EX3 0HD
Phone: 01392 874105

Trouts’ Boatyard, W Trout & Son Ltd. Ferry Road, Topsham, Exeter, Devon EX3 0JJ
Phone: 01392 873044
Website: www.troutsboatyard.co.uk

More details about the role and responsibilities of the Harbour Authority can be found in the Overview of Management Roles for the Exe Estuary .