ABP Standard VTS Information

Title of VTS

Southampton VTS

IALA Categorisation Coding



Southampton VTS (VHF CH 12) will offer formally an Information Service (INS) and Traffic Organisation Service (TOS) as defined by the IMO in Marine Guidance Note 238 namely:

'A service to prevent the development of dangerous maritime traffic situations and to provide for the safe and efficient movement of vessel traffic within the VTS Area’. The provision of a Traffic Organisation Service includes a comprehensive and dedicated service, throughout the declared service period, without which the long term planning of traffic movement and developing situation would not be possible. This service is, by its nature, more comprehensive than an Information Service, the capability of which it necessarily includes. A Traffic Organisation Service is concerned with, for example:

(1) Forward planning of vessel movements;
(2) Congestion and dangerous situations;
(3) The movement of special transports;
(4) Traffic clearance systems;
(5) VTS sailing plans;
(6) Routes to be followed;
(7) Adherence to governing rules and regulations.

Instructions given as part of a Traffic Organisation Service shall be result orientated, leaving the details of the execution to the vessel.

The service will apply to any craft of 20m or more in length.

VTS area

Southampton VTS area is defined by the following points:

  • Eastern limit is defined by a 7 miles radius on Nab Tower
  •  Northern limit is the Horse Sand Fort (Lat 50:45.00 N) (Lon 001:04.35 W) and Gilkicker Point (Lat 50:46.43 N)(Lon 001:08.46 W)
  • South Western limit is a line drawn between Egypt Point (Lat 50:46.000 N) (Lon 001:18.70 W) and Stansore Point (Lat 50:47.20 N) (Lon 001:20.50 W)

VTS sectors

The VTS area is not sub-divided into separate operational sectors. However, Portsmouth operates a Port Information service for the vessels within their dock and harbour area.

VTS centre

Southampton VTS 

Ocean Gate

Atlantic Way

Eastern Docks


SO14 3QN

Location: Lat 50:53.690'N, Lon 001:23.9441' W 

Tel: 023 8060 8208

Fax: 02380 232991

Email southamptonvts@abports.co.uk

Website: http://www.southamptonvts.co.uk/


VHF channel 12 English only

Vessels communicating with Southampton VTS, or ports or other vessels within the Southampton VTS area must use Message Markers and Standard Marine Vocabulary phrases.

Vessels within the Southampton VTS area may call another vessel on VHF Channel 12 and, unless passing a short message relating directly to safety of navigation, move to an agreed working channel.

QHM Portsmouth VHF Channel 11
Portsmouth Pilots VHF Channel 14
Cowes Pilots VHF Channel 09

Reporting inward

Upon entry to the VTS area, vessels will provide the following information:-
i) Vessel’s name
ii) Position
iii) Fore and aft drafts
iv) Destination and last port of call
v) Intended route
vi) ETA at the pilot station or next reporting point
vii) Ships security level for the Port of Southampton
viii) Number of persons onboard

Thereafter the vessel's name / position and intentions: -

ix) When departing the VTS Area or transferring to a neighbouring VTS Area.
x) When passing a reporting point.
xi) When anchoring in a designated anchorage.
xii) When underway from an anchorage.
xiii) Any incident that affects the safe navigation of the vessel.
Reporting outward

All vessels must report to Southampton VTS 30 mins before leaving the berth/anchorage, thereafter the vessels name and position.

Reporting points Inwards

Inwards from the East

  1. Initial call 10 miles from Nab Tower

  2. Nab Tower (Lat 50:40’00N) (Lon 000:57.10W)

  3. No Mans Land Fort

  4.  South Ryde Middle

  5. Hook Buoy

 Inwards from the West

  1. Needles Fairway Buoy

  2. Yarmouth Roads

  3. East Lepe Buoy

  4. Hook Buoy

Reporting Points Outward

Outwards to the East

  1. Pier Head buoy

  2. Hythe Pier

  3. Hook buoy

  4. No Mans Land Fort

  5. Nab Tower

 Outwards to the West

  1. Pier Head buoy

  2. Hythe Pier

  3. Hook buoy

  4. Yarmouth Roads

  5. Needles Fairway buoy


Southampton VTS (12)
Southampton Pilots (09)
QHM Portsmouth (11)
Portsmouth International Pilots (14)
Cowes Pilots (09)

Hours of operation

 24 hours service

Radar surveillance

Radars X Band (3cm). Located at Town Quay, Hythe, Calshot, Eastney and Gilkicker (QHM)

Types of Service

Information Service [INS]
Traffic Organization Service [TOS]
Navigational Assistance (upon request) [NAS]
Allied Service [AS]

VTS Procedures

  •  All vessels in excess of 20 metres in length, bound to or from or passing through the Port of Southampton, vessels bound to or from or passing through the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth and vessels bound to or from anchorages or other locations in the Solent are required to communicate by VHF with Southampton VTS.

  • All vessels in excess of 20 metres LOA entering the East Solent are required to report to Southampton VTS on VHF Channel 12 when 10 miles from Nab Tower. When leaving the East Solent vessels are required to report to Southampton VTS Channel 12 when passing latitude 50 degrees 40 minutes North giving their position as a distance East or West of Nab Tower.

  • Vessels proceeding to an anchorage for shelter in the Solent or for subsequent berthing, must report to Southampton VTS when anchored, together with their approximate position. Whilst at anchor vessels must maintain a listening watch on VHF Channel 12.

  • Vessels leaving a sheltered anchorage must also report, at least 30 minutes before getting underway, and must advise Southampton VTS of their intended destination and route.

  • Vessels outbound from the Port of Southampton should establish communications at least 30 minutes prior to leaving berth and obtain permission from Southampton VTS before letting go.

  • Vessels clearing Portsmouth Harbour should establish communications with Southampton VTS when passing Southsea War Memorial.

  • Vessels to / from Portsmouth Harbour are also required to report to QHM.

Traffic and Information Broadcasts

A traffic and navigational broadcast will be given on the hour from 0600 to 2200 Friday to Sunday, Bank holiday

Mondays inclusive, from Easter Good Friday until the last weekend in October.

0600 to 2200 daily from the 1st June to 30th September.

Accident Procedures

Vessels involved in the following specific accidents or emergencies are required to contact Solent Coastguard on VHF Channel 67 and/or Southampton VTS on VHF Channel 12.





Fire on Board

Man Overboard


Major injury


Amplifying Notes

Port Users Information and Navigation Guidelines are guidelines that have been established and agreed between the Harbour Master Southampton, CHA Pilots and members of Southampton Port Users Navigation Group.

The Port of Southampton Byelaws should be used in conjunction with these guidelines.

ABP Southampton Notice to Mariners are published as and when required.

The above information and other port information can be found on www.southamptonvts.co.uk