Navigating safely

Safe navigation is particularly important in adverse weather and sea conditions.

Read more about keeping a safe navigational watch on merchant ships.

Your ship must comply with the requirements for navigation lights and other equipment in the ‘Merchant Shipping (Distress Signals and Prevention of Collisions) Regulations’.

Restricted visibility

Read information on navigating in restricted visibility.

High-speed craft

Read information on controlling high-speed craft in adverse sea conditions.

The Dover Strait is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. The Dover Strait Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) exists to help ships crossing the Dover Strait to navigate safely and avoid collisions.

Read information about the TSS and guidance for ships in the Dover Strait.

The Dover Strait and Channel Navigation Information Service (CNIS)

The Dover CNIS provides a 24-hour radio and radar service for all shipping in the Dover Strait.

Dover CNIS broadcasts information in the Dover TSS area every 60 minutes (30 minutes if visibility drops below 2 miles). You can find these on VHF radio channel 11.

Dover CNIS broadcasts information on:

  • weather and sea conditions
  • navigational hazards, like hampered vessels
  • misplaced or defective navigational aids
  • deep draught bulk carriers and tankers
  • vessels under tow
  • surveying vessels
  • unorthodox crossings, eg cross-channel swims

Information is also broadcast about any ship that appears to be breaking the International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea to warn other ships of a potential hazard.

Ships using the TSS are automatically tracked by radar. This information can be used in a prosecution if any ship breaks the law.