Tides and Currents
The tidal rise is between 0.0 m and 4.2 m. During E gales the tide does not
rise as high or fall as low as at other times. It rises highest and falls
lowest during winds from NW and SW.
The tidal streams run off Peterhead as follows:
Distance off breakwaters S-going begins N-going begins
up to 0.7 miles +0515 Aberdeen -0330 Aberdeen
about 2.0 miles -0540 Aberdeen -0100 Aberdeen
about 5.0 miles -0430 Aberdeen +0140 Aberdeen
Wind and Sea
The prevailing wind is from the southwest, but on a few occasions during the year - as with all ports on the east coast
of Scotland - Peterhead is effected by easterly gales. Advance warning of these is provided by the Meteorological Office through weather forecasts received four times daily. An up-to-date local weather forecast can be obtained by calling Peterhead Harbour Radio on VHF ch. 14.
1. Vessels Berthed at Breakwaters
a) During periods of easterly gales seas can break over the exposed part of the North Breakwater and the South Breakwater. After prolonged periods of easterly weather, a swell can develop within the harbour and in past times this has caused the mooring lines of large vessels moored alongside, to part.
b) Vessels which are berthed at the South Breakwater and at the exposed part of the moorings are secured "on the bight" (i.e. end with spliced eye is passed ashore round the bollard and back to the vessel) in order to dispense with the need for personnel to be present on the breakwaters to let go of moorings, should the necessity to shift the vessel arise.
c) From 1 October until 31 March, any vessel loading or discharging a bulk cargo at the breakwaters (e.g. grain, frozen fish, bulk pipes), must be moored with ropes on a bight, irrespective of the weather forecast and such vessels must not berth at the breakwaters unless they can comply with this requirement. Pilots are requested to ensure that these safety requirements are stringently complied with.
d) In the event of any conflict of radio advice to vessels, between the Tower and the berth operator, the advice issued by tower staff will prevail.
e) Tug Attendance
Vessels masters are advised that in adverse weather conditions tugs may be required to assist the vessel to stay alongside or, where this is not practicable, to sail the vessel to sea.
Vessels masters should ensure that effective standby arrangements are made with the tug company, which is based in Aberdeen, when a bad weather forecast is received.
f) Engine Immobilisation
Between 1st October and 31st March, no vessel berthed at the North or South Breakwaters may immobilise the engines. At other times of the year, such immobilisation may only take place with the permission of the Harbour Master and under conditions sanctioned by him.
2. Backwash Effects
During gales from the North-East to South-East quadrant, the sea area to the East of the North and South Breakwaters can become extremely turbulent due to waves being reflected from the solid wall of the breakwaters. Turbulence is greatest at close proximity to the structures.
Small vessels attempting to enter Peterhead Bay Harbour in these conditions should navigate along the leading line marked by the Kirktown Leading Lights from a position 0.5 miles South-East of the breakwater entrance. Similarly, vessels leaving the harbour should keep the leading lights dead astern until they reach this position, before setting course.