Southampton Harbour Byelaws

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 1. Title and commencement

These byelaws may be cited as the Southampton Harbour Byelaws 2003 and shall come into force on the expiration of 28 days from the date of confirmation thereof by the Secretary of State.

 These Byelaws are divided into parts as follows:-

Byelaw Nos

Part I


1 – 3

Part II

Navigation of Vessels

4 - 16

Part III

Mooring and Management of Vessels

17 -34

Part IV

Goods and Road and Rail Traffic

35 - 45

Part V


46 - 61

Part VI

Penalty for Contravention of Byelaws

62 - 67

 Associated British Ports1 in exercise of the powers conferred by section 83 of the Harbours, Docks & Piers Clauses Act 1847 (incorporated by section 4 of the British Transport Docks Act 1964 and applied by section 51 of that Act), section 53 of the Southampton Harbour Act 18632, sections 52 and 53 of the British Transport Docks Act 1964, section 16 of the British Transport Docks Act 1972 and of all other powers it enabling3, hereby make the following Byelaws.

  1. By the Transport Act 1981 and the Associated British Ports (Appointed Day and Designated of Holding Company) Order 1982 (SI 1982/1887) the British Transport Docks Board which was established by the Transport Act 1962 was reconstituted on 31 December 1982 under the name of Associated British Ports

  2. By virtue of the Southampton Harbour Reorganisation Scheme 1967 the functions of the Southampton Harbour Board were transferred to the British Transport Docks Board.

  3. Section 57 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 increased the maximum fine which can be imposed on summary conviction for an offence under harbour byelaws.


In these byelaws the following words or expressions have the meanings hereby respectively assigned to them:

"ABP" means Associated British Ports;

"authorised Officer" means any officer, employee or agent of ABP acting in the execution of his duty upon or in connection with the port;

"by day" means between the hours of sunrise and sunset;

"by night" means between the hours of sunset and sunrise;

‘’the dock estate’’ means the docks, quays, jetties, stages and all other works, land and buildings within the Port for the time being vested in or occupied or administered by ABP;

"fairway" means a navigable channel which is a regular course or track of shipping including navigable channels marked, dredged or maintained by ABP;

"goods" shall mean cargo of any description whatsoever together with any plant (as defined hereunder), package, case, pallet, container or other thing which conveys, carries, contains, protects or supports cargo or is designed to be made to do so.

"HSC code" means the International code of safety for High Speed Craft adopted by the Maritime Safety Committee of the International Maritime Organisation by resolution MSC36 (63);1

"the harbour master" means the person appointed by ABP and includes his authorised deputies or assistants;

"high speed craft’’ has the same meaning as in the HSC code;

  1. The code was adopted by resolution of the IMO Marine Safety Committee at its sixty-third session (16-25 May 1994) and published by IMO in 1995, ISBN 92-801-1326-7. The address of the IMO is 4 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7SR.

 "hovercraft’’ means a vehicle which is designed to be supported when in motion wholly or partly by air expelled from the vehicle to form a cushion of which the boundaries include the ground, water or other surface beneath the vehicle.

"master" when used in relation to any vessel means any person having the command, charge or management of the vessel for the time being;

"owner" when used in relation to goods includes any consignor, consignee, shipper or agent for the sale, receipt custody, loading or unloading and clearance of those goods and includes any other person in charge of the goods and his agent in relation thereto; and when used in relation to a vessel includes any part owner, broker, charterer, agent or mortgagee in possession of the vessel or other person or persons entitled for the time being to possession of the vessel and when used in relation to a vehicle includes any part owner or agent or person having charge of the vehicle for the time being;

‘’personal watercraft’’ means any watercraft (not being a structure which by reason of its shape provides buoyancy for the carriage of persons or goods) propelled by a jet engine or other mechanical means of propulsion and steered either means of a handlebar operated linkage system (with or without a rudder at the stern); or the person or persons riding the craft using his or their body weight for the purpose; or a combination of the methods referred to respectively in (a) and (b) above;
‘plant’ shall mean any vehicle, trailer (whether or not carrying or incorporating any tank or container) machine or container;

‘’the Port’’ means the Port of Southampton as defined in section 5 of the Southampton Harbour Act 1887 as that section has effect in accordance with section 16 of the British Transport Docks Act 1972, and excluding the navigation as defined in the said section 16;

(NOTE: The limits of the Port are indicated by a red line drawn on the map annexed to these Byelaws);

"quay" means any quay, wharf, jetty, dolphin, landing stage or other structure used for berthing or mooring vessels, and includes any pier, bridge, roadway or footway immediately adjacent and affording access thereto;

"sail boarding" means the navigation or propulsion of a sail board and sail board means a raft with a sail or sails designed to be operated by a person or persons standing upright thereon and includes windsurfing;

"small vessel" means any vessel of less than 20 metres in length or a sailing vessel and for the purposes of this definition "sailing vessel" means a vessel designed to carry sail, whether as the sole or as a primary or supplementary means of propulsion;

"underway" when used in relation to a vessel means when that vessel is not at anchor or moored or made fast to the shore or aground and includes a vessel kedging up or down the harbour with her anchor on the ground;

"vehicle" includes any vehicle propelled on rails, any machinery on wheels or caterpillar tracks, trailers, caravans and mobile homes and includes a hovercraft or any other amphibious vehicle;

"vessel" means a ship, boat, raft or water craft of any description and includes non-displacement craft, seaplanes and any other thing constructed or adapted for floating on or being submersed in water (whether permanently or temporarily) and a hovercraft or any other amphibious vehicle, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water;