Hydrographic Services

Hydrography on the Humber

The Hydrographic Section of Associated British Ports' Humber Estuary Services is responsible for the surveying of over 375 square kilometres (145 square miles) of the Humber harbour area. The frequency of such surveying depends upon the rate of change in the river regime and the critical nature of the depths involved. Each year, over 350 individual surveys are undertaken, resulting in the production and distribution, in total, of more than 5,000 copies of the survey charts.

  • Humber Outer Approaches - surveyed every 4 -5 years

(Humber light float to Spurn light float)

Annual survey sections:-

  • Humber Entrance (Spurn light float to Spurn Head )

  • Tetney to Cleethorpes

  • Spurn to Grimsby

  • Grimsby to ImminghamStallingborough to Skitter

  • Thorngumbald to Albert Dock

  • Old Harbour to Barton Haven

  • Hessle to Reads Island

  • Reads Island to Whitton

  • Whitton to Trent Falls (Walker Dykes)

  • Trent Falls to Burton Stather/Blacktoft

  • Burton Stather to Keadby

  • Blacktoft to Saltmarsh

  • Saltmarsh to Skelton Bridge

The above form the basic work that continues as a background to the "navigation-channel only " surveys, some of which are carried out as frequently as fortnightly. Work on these annual survey sections usually commences in March, as weather and available daylight improve, and continues to completion. The annual survey, covering the river almost from bank to bank, forms the basis of the published chart - "Spurn to Barton Haven".

The other main chart that is offered for general sale is the Upper Humber bi-monthly "Barton Haven to Burton Stather", which is also a compilation based on the annual survey background, with fortnightly surveys of the buoyed channel inserted. Large quantities of these charts are sold to both professional mariners and amateur sailors. The other charts normally available are annual surveys of the Rivers Ouse and Trent - "Apex Light to Skelton Bridge" and "Burton Stather to Keadby."

Navigation channel, or area, examination surveys and their frequency:-

  • Burcom Shoal Deposit 3-monthly

  • Hawke Channel monthly

  • Spurn to Grimsby 2-monthly

  • Sunk channel deposit 3-monthly

  • South Shoal (main channel area) 2-3months

  • Sunk dredged Channel fortnightly (can be weekly or even daily during a dredging campaign) 

  • I.O.T. Shoal 6-monthly

  • Foul Holme Channel 6-monthly

  • Halton Middle 3-6months

  • South Channel, Hull up to fortnightly

  • New Holland to Hessle (Hessle Sand) 3-6 months

  • Hessle to Reads Island up to fortnightly

  • Reads Island to Whitton fortnightly

  • Apex to Burton Stather monthly

  • Various sites in the River Trent between Burton Stather and Keadby monthly

The above charts cover areas, which are liable to change within the frequency of annual surveys. If problems arise, any of these areas can require more frequent, possibly daily, surveys.

The information gained from the surveys is promulgated on a same day/next day basis, river broadcasts and Notices to Mariners prepared, also floating mark moves planned for subsequent implementation by the buoy vessel "Humber Sentinel" (mainly in the area above Hull roads). This can lead to as many as 90 seamark movements per year (1995). Regular and "one-off" contract surveys are also undertaken and in addition, a number of dock and dock entrance surveys are undertaken for the internal use of ABP Dockmasters.