Bristol VTS & Navigation

Bristol Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) provides harbour users with comprehensive information concerning vessel movements, height of tide and weather conditions.The Bristol VTS area covers much of the upper Bristol Channel from the Holm Islands to the Lower Shoots including the River Avon. Pilot orders and lock times are allocated by Bristol VTS to ensure the safety and efficiency of navigation in the estuary

Bristol VTS
The Bristol Pilot Boat 'Bristol Interceptor'

The Bristol VTS Centre is located on the South Pier at Avonmouth overlooking King Road, but will be moved to the North Pier at Royal Portbury in 2023. Bristol operates a 24-hour Vessel Traffic Service as defined by the IMO and in accordance with Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) requirements. Participation with Bristol VTS is mandatory for vessels greater than 50 GT. The Bristol VTS Area can be seen here.

The Bristol Port Company is a Competent Harbour Authority and authorises pilots for ships arriving at Avonmouth and Portbury Docks. Bookings are made via Bristol VTS and the Pilot Boarding Area is located in vicinity of the Breaksea Buoy, to the West of the Holm Islands.

VTS Communication

Bristol VTS can be contacted in a number of ways. VHF monitoring takes place on the below channels and all participating vessels (over 50GT) must monitor the following VHF Channels. Vessels below this size are requested to maintain a continuous watch on VHF channel 12. 

Ch 12 call sign ‘Bristol VTS’ (entire VTS Area)

Ch 14 call sign ‘Avonmouth or Portbury Dock' (Lock and Dock movements)

Telephone: +44 (0) 1179 802638

E-mail: [email protected]

Related links