English Harbour is the home of Nelson’s Dockyard and also the Port of Entry for Falmouth Harbour. The Customs and Immigration offices for both English and Falmouth Harbours are located in Nelson’s Dockyard although plans are being considered to make Falmouth Harbour a Port of Entry in its own right.

Entering English Harbour during daylight is straightforward. The only danger is off Charlotte Point on the south side of the entrance. (See map in the Anchorages Section of this Guide – not for navigational purposes). On your approach favour the Berkeley Point side of the channel (referred to on some charts as Barclay Point). The water remains deep quite close to Berkeley Point whereas on the Fort Charlotte side there is a reef, often just below the surface. A good landmark is the stone hotel high on the hill behind Freeman’s Point. Line it up with 25° true. This will lead you past all the dangers.

• Leading Light: 025° TRUE
• Front Light: Quick Flashing Red
• Rear Light: ISO Phase Red 2 Secs
• Immigration & Customs are available in Nelson’s Dockyard
  0800hrs to 1600hrs every day of the year
Ports of Entry

A clear navigation channel must be maintained in English Harbour from Fort Berkeley to the inner harbour. Yachtsmen are requested not to obstruct the free passage of vessels to and from the inner harbour. The channel is now marked with red and green buoys.  All yachts at anchor in English Harbour must pay local harbour fees. Rates available from the Paymaster’s Office. Stern-to the quay there is 14 feet of water from the Paymaster’s Office to the Galley Bar. Be certain to drop anchor almost to Antigua Slipway or the mangroves. Where possible, all yachts should use the mooring buoys for additional security when going stern-to but not rely upon them solely and should not be used without an anchor.


There is a trough in English Harbour and holding can be poor, especially in bad weather. Depth from the Galley Bar to the west end of the quay is 14 feet shoaling to 8 feet. Vessels, especially large power craft, are requested not to use their engines in the vicinity of the quay as the wash from propellers could damage the recently restored historic wall. Please use anchors to pull the vessel well away from the quayside.

Four hurricane chains lie across English Harbour laid by the British navy during the development of the Dockyard in the 18th Century. Their purpose was to give incoming vessels somewhere to catch the anchor and stop the boat. Entering English Harbour the first is in Freeman’s Bay, running from the large anchor on Galleon Beach to Fort Berkeley.

A further chain runs from the Slipway west for approximately 160 yards to an anchor on the beach. The other goes from the Slipway mangroves north for 80 yards to a small clearing in the mangroves. A third, in Tank Bay, runs from the Clarence House jetty, which now houses the new Coast Guard station, to the Powder Magazine’s dock. It also has large boat mooring identifying its location.

Feel free to address any queries you may have regarding the chains or any other matter of concern to the Harbour Master in the Dockyard. He will be pleased to assist you with any problems or difficulties you may have.


The approach to Antigua Yacht Club Marina, Catamaran Marina and Falmouth Harbour Marina are marked by red and green channel buoys. It needs to be remembered that Antigua uses the American system of buoyage colouring which means the red buoys are to starboard on entry and the green ones to port. The opposite way around to the U.K., Europe and most of the rest of the world.

Entering Falmouth Harbour is easier than it may appear from the charts however, be wary of Bishop Shoal which lies to the east of the entrance and is marked by a large, red buoy. Leave the buoy to starboard. The shoal is easily spotted, except in the calmest waters, as waves break over it.

To enter Antigua Yacht Club Marina or Falmouth Harbour Marina, after Bishop Shoal buoy, leave the next red buoy to port and follow the buoyed channel which leads to both marinas. To enter the Catamaran Marina leave the red buoy after the Bishop Shoal buoy to starboard and line up the two orange triangles on the hillside above the Catamaran Marina. These will lead you to the dock. There are leading lights to the Catamaran marina for night entry.

Ports of Entry


•Leading Light: 029° TRUE
•Front Light: Quick flashing green
•Rear Light: ISO Phase green 2 secs
•Day Marks: Orange triangles  

There is good anchoring in Falmouth Harbour however, please do not anchor in the channels or the exclusion zone in front of Antigua Yacht Club Marina and Falmouth Harbour Marina. All yachts at anchor in Falmouth Harbour must pay local harbour fees all yachts visiting marinas within the National Park area must pay harbour fees in addition to marina berthing fees.

Falmouth Harbour is home to Antigua Yacht Club and visiting yachtsmen are welcome at the club. Any yachts entering Antigua through Falmouth Harbour must clear through Customs and Immigration at Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour.


Jolly Harbour Marina is Antigua’s newest marine facility and contains all the services required by a yachtsman. Located on the west side of Antigua, Jolly Harbour is a recent marina, housing and shopping development of a natural basin which is also surrounded by resort hotels and a golf course.

On entering Jolly Harbour call the Port Authority on CH 16 before proceeding to Customs and Immigration which is located to the south of the Super Yacht Terminal. After clearing Customs and Immigration call the marina’s Dock Master on CH 68 prior to arrival at the berths in order that assistance can be given with mooring. Marina operating hours are 0800 to 1700 except public holidays when the hours are 0800 to 1400.  

Ports of Entry

The latest charts show Jolly Harbour clearly but, for those with earlier charts, the entrance is just to the north of Reed’s Point which is at the end of Morris Bay. The entrance to the channel is marked by a pole topped with a triangle. This is on the south side of the channel as you approach it. The channel is 140 feet (45 metres) and is dredged to 12 feet (4 metres). It turns 45° to starboard after about 1,500 yards. The turning point is indicated by port and starboard lights (red to starboard on entry). The marina has over 100 berths each varying from 20 to 60 feet in length. Although there is no anchoring but mooring buoys are available. Duty free fuel is also available from the fuel dock.

Other marine facilities include a boat yard with a 70 ton travel lift together with many other services including marine engineering workshops, chandlery, showers, laundry, ice, a shopping centre and supermarket, liquor store and restaurants all alongside the waterfront. Within the complex is a modern sports facility with swimming pool, squash and tennis courts which are a available to visiting yachtsmen at an additional charge. An 18 hole, par 71 golf course is located to the north of the boatyard and a helipad with helicopter services is also sited in the marina. Villas are available to rent and for sale from real estate agents within the shopping centre.


St. John’s is the capital of Antigua. The Port Authority is located at the outer end of a peninsula on the north side of the harbour. The dock is usually occupied by commercial vessels but, if space is available, you may stop there briefly to clear-in otherwise anchor off Heritage Quay and use the Customs & Immigration post located nearby. This is not always manned so it may be necessary to walk to the main office on the north side of the harbour about fifteen minutes from Heritage Quay.

The inner harbour (south east side), between the deep water port and St. John’s waterfront, is used by small local craft. The area provides an excellent anchorage for yachts drawing 9 feet or less with a very good holding ground of mud. Anchor in 12 feet or less as your draft permits. Make sure you are on the 12 foot shelf as a turning basin has been dredged for cruise ships. If you are in 17 feet of water or more you are in the turning area.

Ports of Entry


No fees are charged for use of the inner harbour. Limited dockage space and facilities are at the marina located off Redcliffe Quay. Dinghies can also be left at Treasury Pier. Fuel and fresh water can be obtained from Keeling Point. Groceries and provisions are readily available and often cheaper than from other parts of the island.

Just to the north of St. John's are Epicurean and First Choice supermarkets, a short taxi or ‘bus ride out of town. The map Shop on St. Mary’s Street sell all the latest cruising guides and charts. Besides the obvious advantage of being able to anchor within a cable of the commercial and business centre of the island, St. John’s Harbour offers the opportunity to sample a large variety of restaurants and bars plus mix with the local community

Ports of Entry


Antigua's sister island, Barbuda, better known since being devastated in 2018 by Hurricane Irma when much of the infrastructure was destroyed and the lagoon was breached, previously only accessed by a shallow, narrow channel or by dragging a RIB across the beach.

In addition to the new hazards created by Hurricane Irma, the island has almost 200 wrecks around the coast, which are enough to put off casual yachting people and is so flat that it is very difficult to see until you are dangerously close to the reefs.

There is still little in the way of supplies and restaurants in Barbuda and if an extended stay is being considered, sufficient provisions should be acquired before your trip.

The classic 'desert island' pink beaches have survived albeit some of them reshaped and it is easy to find a quiet, uninterrupted spot almost anywhere for those who want to get away from it all.

The famous frigate bird sanctuary has survived and the birds with their unusual red breasts can still be found nesting on the island and soaring above.

Barbuda is listed on the Antigua & Barbuda Government website as a Port of Entry but if Barbuda is to be your first post of call in the country it is worth checking with Customs and Immigration in Barbuda before arriving. They can be contacted on +1268 460 0085 and +1268 460 0354. For more information on Barbuda see our section on Barbuda Anchorages on this website.

Ports of Entry

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