Lerwick Port Authority

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Port Information

Lerwick is a well-established town that owes its success to the shelter provided by the island of Bressay, which creates the natural harbour.

The port is home to many commercial vessels such as the fishing fleet and ferries, is a port of call for cruise ships and also provides support for offshore oil and gas. Comprehensive, modern facilities serve a wide range of port users at Lerwick Harbour.

AIS Data

View AIS data on the Marine Traffic website - www.marinetraffic.com/ais/


Tidal effects are minimal.

Ample anchorages in sheltered water for any size of vessel in North and South Harbour areas, subject to prior consultation with the Port Authority. Inner South Harbour anchorage depth minimum 10m within a radius of 300m. Brei Wick anchorage depth 15m – 25m. Anchorage in North and South outer Harbour areas in depths up to 50m.


  Min Depth (Metres) Berth Length (Metres)
Albert Wharf (North) 3.7 57
Albert Wharf (South) 2.5 - 3.7 126
Alexandra Wharf (North) 4.4 - 5.5 63
Alexandra Wharf (South) 5.5-4.2 75
Breakwater 5.3 38
Dales Voe 12.5-9.5 127
Fishmarket Quay 6.2 189
Freefield East (Hay & Co Buildbase) 0.5 - 5.3 66
Freefield North (Hay & Co Buildbase) 5.3-2.8 52
Greenhead Base 1-2  6.0 215
Greenhead Base 3 8.0 120
Greenhead Base 4-6 9.0 348
Greenhead Base 7 9.0 102
Gremista (East) 8.5-6.5 70
Gremista (East Inner - Landing Berth) 9.0 35
Gremista (North) 5.2 60
Gremista (South) 7.2 - 8.5  80
Gremista (West) 6.6 - 7.0 57
Heogan Middle - Fish Landing 8.0 30
Heogan South 5.0 30
Holmsgarth No. 1 5.2 170
Holmsgarth No. 2 (Ro Ro) 11.7 - 8.0 150
Holmsgarth No. 3 (Ro Ro) 7.7 - 12.5 155
Holmsgarth No. 4  7.2 124
Holmsgarth No. 5 9.2 163
Holmsgarth No. 5 (End) 8.7 21
Laurenson Quay 4.6 87
Mair's Pier (East) 9.0 - 7.1 275
Mair's Pier (End) 6.8 30
Mair's Pier (North) 8.6 - 6.2 133
Mair's Pier (South) 5.2 - 9.0 146
Mair's Pier (West) 6.3 - 8.6 222
Malakoff Pier 3.5 12
Morrison Dock (East) 5.0 - 8.0 131
Morrison Dock (North) x-berth  3.2 - 5.0 46
Morrison Dock (West) 4.0 - 3.2 147
North Ness Jetty 4.1 21
Shearers (North) 5.7 70
Shearers West (Ice Berth) 6.7 - 3.0 52
Spur Jetty North 4.2 - 7.0 38
Spur Jetty South (Bressay Ferry) 3.7 27
Victoria Pier (East) 7.8 - 10.7 91
Victoria Pier (North) 7.6 - 2.5 122
Victoria Pier (South) 1.5 - 7.8 140
Victoria Pier (West) 9.0 -7.6 61


Car Park


Victoria Pier Car Park is a pay-and-display car park generally open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday – Saturday.

However, the Car Park is closed on occasions when the Pier is required for port operational purposes.  For example the Car Park is closed when large numbers of cruise passengers are passing through the area and occasionally for maritime events.

The tariff is displayed at the car park next to the pay-and-display ticket machines.

The charges are authorised under statute of Lerwick Harbour Order Confirmation Act 1987.

History of Victoria Pier

Victoria Pier at Lerwick is referred to as “the pier” – and with good reason as it is the original major pier in the town centre, dating from 1886.

“The pier” was the first achievement of Lerwick Harbour Trust (the former name of Lerwick Port Authority) after the Trust was formed in 1877.  Prior to this, the shoreline at Lerwick comprised of a large number of private piers, none of which could accommodate the small steamer that plied between Lerwick and the South.  The steamer had to anchor in the harbour and goods, passengers and livestock were unloaded by flitboat.

Lerwick Harbour Trust was formed as “a body of Harbour Trustees for the management, maintenance and regulation of the Port and Harbour of Lerwick”.  With this came the empowerment to charge for use of the port.  In 1877 the Trust was also authorised to construct Victoria Pier and to borrow money to do so.     

For five years nothing happened as the Trust was unable to convince the banks of the viability of their scheme to pay back a loan.  However, with a keen tender price from a contractor, and loan guarantees from several merchants, the funding was secured.  Then, as now, a trust port operates as a self-financing business with commercial borrowings and is not publicly funded. 

Work started in 1883 and the solid structure of Victoria Pier built out from the Esplanade was completed in June 1886. 

Post-war reconstruction

The drawbacks of Lerwick’s harbour front, with an Esplanade built in the days of horse-drawn vehicles, needed to be addressed.   In 1952 a new Lerwick Harbour Act captured a scheme to extend Victoria Pier by widening it to the north and building an arm.   The scheme also included Albert Dock and was completed in 1958 with a royal opening by Queen Elizabeth in 1960.  The cost of £285,000 was met by a commercial loan topped up with a grant that was available.

A “steamers store” was built on Victoria Pier for the goods arriving with the twice-weekly steamer service from the mainland.

Car Park

After the advent of ro-ro ferries replacing the steamer in the town centre, the steamers store was demolished and the remaining flat space became popular for car parking.  In order to regulate the indiscriminate parking that occurred, often with cars blocking safe access to and from vessels, it was necessary to employ car park attendants and charge for use of the car park.  Victoria Pier Car Park opened in 1987. 

Although regularly operated as a car park open to the public, Victoria Pier remains primarily a part of the Port Authority’s quayside estate and is subject to the controls necessary to support shipping using the harbour.

Foremost is the safety of crew and passengers from ships and also the Security regulations relevant to operating an international port.   For this reason, all or part of Victoria Pier can be cordoned off from public access on occasions.

Drone Flying

The operation of drones at the Port of Lerwick should only be done in compliance with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) requirements.

The CAA website gives full details and anyone wishing to fly a drone at the port should contact Lerwick Port Authority in advance.

A drone flown on a commercial basis such as conducting aerial work or to take photographs for sale requires the operator to be licensed by the CAA and Lerwick Port Authority will require confirmation that a licence is held.

All drone flying must comply with the Dronecode which sets out the regulations in brief, including that drones with cameras must not be flown within a specified distance of people, vessels or structures and cannot be flown over congested areas.

Read more on Drone Safety in Shetland


International Ship and Port Facility Security Code  

Lerwick Harbour operates an approved Port Facility Security Plan (PFSP) under the ISPS Code.   

Under SOLAS, Chapter XI-2, Regulation 9, ships are required to issue information prior to arrival at port.  Please download the following ISPS Pre Arrival form [PDF Document:115kb] and return the form a minimum of 24 hours prior to arrival at Port Control and the PFSO.  Contact details given below. 

Vessels requiring to complete a pre-arrival form without prejudice are:

  • Passenger ships, including high speed craft;

  • Cargo ships, including high speed craft, of 500 gross tonnage and upwards;

  • Mobile offshore drilling units;

Declaration of Security (DoS)

Lerwick Port Authority requires a Declaration of Security from all vessels prior to arrival from non SOLAS (International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974) countries.   

If a DoS is required to be completed, please download the form below and return to the Port Facility Security Officer (PSFO). 

Please refer to 'Pre-Arrival' listing under Port Information

Contact details:-

Port Control 
Tel: +44 (0) 1595 692 991
Fax: +44 (0) 1595 695 911
Email:  ptcontrol@lerwick-harbour.co.uk   
VHF: ch. 12 & 16

Port Facility Security Officer (PFSO) - Stuart Wadley 
Tel: +44 (0) 1595 692 991
Fax: +44 (0) 1595 695 911
Mobile: +44 (0) 7826 916 906
Email:  stuart@lerwick-harbour.co.uk


Personal Water Craft

A Personal Water Craft is any vessel referred to as a jet ski, wet bike, water scooter, fun craft or other similar description which is designed to carry a person or persons standing, kneeling, sitting or prone upon the vessel which is propelled by a jet engine or other means of propulsion. Any person operating a Personal Water Craft within Lerwick Harbour comes under the oversight of the Port Authority and must abide its requirements. The following Policy document describes established good practice to ensure that you do not endanger yourself or others, or cause harm to the environment and wildlife.  

Download:  Lerwick Port Authority Personal Water Craft Policy [PDF 325KB] 

Download: Lerwick Port Authority Personal Water Craft Leaflet [PDF 81KB]


Pilotage is compulsory for vessels navigating within the Pilotage limits of Lerwick Harbour, which fall within the following categories, namely:-

(a) every ship carrying passenger(s) and having a registered length of not less than 30 metres.
(b) every oil tanker having a gross tonnage of not less than 1600 intending to berth, anchor, shift within, or transit through the area of the Inner Harbour.
(c) every ship having onboard any explosive article or an explosive substance exceeding ten kilograms in weight and to which Article 3 of The Dangerous Substances in Harbour Areas Regulations 1987 (S.I. No. 37) apply and which have the characteristic properties and are classified as Class 1, Divisions 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and 1.5 by Schedule of said Regulations.
(d) i) other than a fishing vessel, every vessel exceeding 25 metres in length towing or under tow.
  ii) every fishing vessel of which the registered length exceeds 47.5 metres towing or under tow.
(e) every vessel able only to manoeuvre with difficulty.
(f)   every vessel having a gross tonnage of not less than 3000 intending to berth, anchor, shift within, or transit through the area of the Inner Harbour.

Pilot Boarding: Vessels entering by the south entrance will be boarded west of Kirkabister Lighthouse or near Knab Point if weather conditions are unsuitable. Vessels entering by the north entrance will be boarded abeam of the Green Holm and 0.5 miles NE of Beosetter Holm. If boarding conditions in this area are unsuitable, the south entrance must be used.

Pilot Stations:

South 60º 07’.2N 001º 08’.28W
North 60º 11’.78N   001º 06’.7W

Lerwick Harbour

Lerwick Harbour is particularly defined in the Lerwick Harbour Acts 1877 to 2015 which are summarised as follows:

That area of sea bounded generally on the North by a line due east from Hawks Ness to meet a line due north from Outer Score and bounded on the South by a line from The Skeo on the Mainland to Bard Head on Bressay.

Pilotage Limits

That area of sea bounded generally on the North by a line drawn from Hawks Ness to Green Holm to the island of Outer Score and bounded on the South by a line drawn from Trebister Ness to Kirkabister Ness.

Inner Harbour

Inner Harbour is defined as that part of the sea of Lerwick Harbour Area bounded on the North by a line drawn from Rova Head to Ness of Beosetter and on the South by a line drawn from Knab to Point of Ham.

Port Control/VHF

Extensive radar coverage of the harbour area maintaining a continuous watch throughout 24 hours. In case of emergency, Port Control Office is manned 24 hours daily. VHF Channel 12 & 16.



Under the Merchant Shipping (Vessel Traffic Monitoring and Reporting Requirements) vessels are required to provide notification to their intended port of call at least 24 hours in advance.

The requirement applies to:-

  • all ships of 300 Gross Tonnage and greater;
  • fishing vessels, traditional ships and recreational craft, where the length of the vessel is 45 metres and greater.
  • all vessels irrespective of size, which are carrying dangerous or polluting goods.

Masters and agents are advised that failure to provide notification at the appropriate time may result in the ship being delayed or denied access to the harbour authority areas and ports.

Ship visit documentation requirements

The Consolidated European Reporting System (CERS) has been developed as a central point where UK Ports send vessel traffic information, onward to SafeSeaNet (SSN), the central European data system run by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).

Vessel, Master, or Agent Send the port information which is uploaded into CERS, this information will be either to directly input it into CERS, or by submission of the CERS Workbook.

[Download] The CERS Workbook

The CERS Workbook has been designed in the form of an Excel Spreadsheet. This workbook contains tabs for input of all the necessary information to go into CERS and will replace all the existing forms used for inputting this information.

The benefits of this are:

  • A single XL spreadsheet with tabs for each reporting element means that all voyage information is contained in the same place
  • Completion of vessel and voyage information copies across to other tabs, to avoid double inputting of the basic information
  • Security, Waste, and DPG information, can be submitted via e-mail to PFSOs, Terminal Managers, and Port Authorities all in one e-mail transaction
  • The Workbook can be retained and amended for submission to next port of call, avoiding the production of an entirely new document
  • It will be the same process for each port in UK instead of lots of different ways of reporting
  • CERS can extract the data from the Workbook in a simple upload process, so whoever compiles the data in the first instance, whether Agents or Vessel, can enter it into the Workbook once, and no further data entry is required along the reporting chain.

Masters or agents of exempt vessels should forward evidence of their ship’s status to the harbour authority operations room at least 24 hours prior to arrival.


Public Notices

May 2020


December 2019

Put security at the top of you festive list’

October 2019

World Mental Health Day

The Authority recognises the importance of mental health. Throughout October we are supporting the "Ask Twice" campaign which encourages everyone to find out how their friends, family and colleagues are really feeling by asking "how are you?" - twice. 

August 2019

Staying safe abroad 

Going on a family holiday this summer? Although attacks are rare, terrorism is still a real threat. Keep your family safe.

  • Check FCO Foreign Travel Advice

  • Sort your travel insurance

  • Watch the video below from @TerrorismPolice

July 2019

Don't mix alcohol and boating 

During the UK's Maritime Safety Week, the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) are warning about the risks of drinking afloat

January 2019

Communities defeat terrorism

Unfortunately, life has no rewind button. Seen something suspicious? Look again. 

Reporting it won’t ruin lives, but it might save them. If it doesn’t feel right, ACT.


Tidal Statistics

The mean tidal range is 0.8 metres neaps and 1.6 metres at Spring tides. The extreme range is only 2.4 metres.

Tide Tables

Tide Information for Monday 30th November 2020

HIGH TIDES10:46 GMT (2.20m)23:01 GMT (2.10m)
LOW TIDES04:26 GMT (0.70m)16:47 GMT (0.70m)

View all tide information for

© Crown Copyright and/or database rights. 

Reproduced by permission of the Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office and the UK Hydrographic Office (www.ukho.gov.uk)

Printable Format: 2020 Lerwick Harbour Tide Tables.


Covered rubbish skips and litter bins provided at all berths for ship’s domestic waste are strategically placed to cater for each dock/pier. Recycling facilities for glass bottles and aluminium drink cans are located on Victoria Pier. Hazardous/Special waste facilities are available through Shipping Agents. Private contractors are also available: 










Tulloch developments ltd



Lerwick Port Authority (LPA) operates a Port Waste Management Plan [PDF, 1MB] fully approved by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).  This ensures that all ship generated waste and cargo residue is controlled at all piers and quays.  The waste management plan details the location of all waste reception facilities at the Authority’s piers and harbours.  It also contains a list of the contractors used for waste disposal.

The plan ensures that LPA complies with the Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Port Waste Reception Facilities) Regulations 2003 and other relevant legislation and guidelines, including, Marine Guidance Note (MGN) 253 and A Guide to Good Practice – Port Waste Management Planning, issued by the MCA.  It is intended for use by all vessels, which use those berths operated by the Authority, Shipping Agents and relevant businesses that use the facilities of the port.  The overall aim of the Plan is to assist in the reduction of the quantity of all types of wastes entering the sea.

All vessels landing waste at Lerwick Harbour (other than those with approved exemptions from the MCA) must give prior notification. Please refer to 'Pre-Arrival' listing under Port Information

  • where Lerwick is known to be the next port of call at 24 hours before arrival; or
  • as soon as possible after the Port of Lerwick as a destination is known;
  • where the duration of the voyage is less than 24 hours, at latest on departure from the previous port.

The ship may use their own notification form providing the information on that form meets the statutory requirements and submit it by fax or email.  A copy of the notice referred to shall be retained on board the ship until at least the next port of call in accordance with the MCA guidance in Marine Guidance Note MGN 253 (M + F).


International catering waste is subject to strict controls on how it should be handled and disposed of.

Disposal of International Catering Waste (ICW) by visiting yachts - Yacht Crews arriving from countries outside the *European Union are requested to contact Port Control to arrange appropriate disposal of food waste and its packaging. ICW must not be placed in the green domestic skips provided.  *The following countries, in addition to EU countries do not produce ICW - Iceland, Andorra, Norway, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, and Gibraltar.

Disposal of International Catering Waste (ICW) by all other visiting Vessels - Where vessels land ICW, it should be clearly marked with the vessel’s name/ICW. Lerwick Port Authority and/or Ships Agent should be advised that such waste has been landed by best means available i.e. Channel 12 VHF to Port Control or through Agents communications.  Ships Agents shall supply Lerwick Port Authority with relevant data on ICW landed at Lerwick Harbour. 


Vessels can apply from exemptions from some of the requirements of the Port Waste Management Reception Regulations.  Ships so entitled should apply to the Maritime Coastguard Agency in accordance with MCA Guidance Note MGN 259 (M+F), who shall then advise the Lerwick Port Authority if a vessel operating in their jurisdiction has received such exemption.


Available at most berths by 2.5 in. diameter water hose connections, 40-50 t.p.h.


Weather information is available on the Lerwick Harbour Today page.

Here are some useful links to other weather sites:  

Met Office (Lerwick 5-day forecast) 

Magic Seaweed  (for UK & Ireland - Swell | PeriodWind | Pressure | Sea Temp | Surf | Jetstream

Windguru  (for Lerwick forecast - week at a glance)   

YR.no  (Norwegian Weather Forecast) 

BBC  (for UK weather information) 

Workplace Transport Policy

Vehicles at work are a major cause of fatal and major injuries. All employers have a duty to manage the risks posed by workplace transport, to employees and others. As part of the Authority’s duties we have, in discussion with the Health and Safety Executive, produced a Workplace Transport Policy. Whilst it is the responsibility of individual companies to meet their legal duties in relation to workplace transport, it is hoped that the policy shall help to ensure that all port users work together to maintain safety standards.

Download:  Lerwick Port Authority Workplace Transport Policy [PDF 144KB]