Carron grangemouth map

Pilotage Notes

  • Passage from the River Carron entrance to the Forth & Clyde Canal Sea Lock is restricted by depth and overhead obstruction. Consult the Tides and Currents Information below, as well as the Tidal Predictions for Carron Sea Lock. 
  • You must book passage in advance. Call the Scottish Canals Sealock Keeper on 07810 794468.
  • Sea Lock – 4hrs before to 2h30 after HW, 0800-2000 and daylight hours.
  • Once you’ve established the Carron access time window, allow enough time for passage to the river mouth (10 miles from Forth Road Bridge/Port Edgar), and then to the Sea Lock (a further 2.5 miles).
  • Passage from Port Edgar/Forth Bridges to the Torry Beacon may be made on either the north or south side of the main shipping channel. 
  • West of the Hen & Chickens, the north side must be used. 
  • Vessels should monitor Grangemouth Docks on VHF Ch 14 but don’t need to report, except in case of emergency or difficulty. 
  • Ships may cross the mouth of the River Carron on their approach to the Western Jetty.
  • If tugs are waiting in the fairway, a large vessel may be due. Keep well clear and beware of wash. 
  • Small craft may anchor in the positions shown, or in the mouth of the River Carron as depth permits, to await the tide.
  • Charts: Admiralty Chart 737 and/or Imray Chart C27. Pilot: Forth Yacht Clubs’ Association Pilot Handbook.
  • Craft on passage can call the Sea Lock on VHF Ch 74, call sign “Carron Sea Lock”. (Forth Ports traffic Ch 71)
  • Consult the Carron Tidal Information below before planning your passage up or downstream.
  • A Scottish Canals-operated mast crane (500 kgs) is available at Sealock No 1. Boat crew must carry out all mast work.
  • The Carron dries at LW. The bed is flat gravel, the banks are steep, soft mud.
  • Temporary berthing at Grangemouth YC (only by arrangement) or at the refuge posts nearby.
  • Scottish Canals staff will be available to help and direct craft on passage.
  • Boat Safety Checks will be carried out at the Sea Lock pontoon prior to entry.
  • Canal Licences can be purchased at the Sea Lock.
  • Canal dimensions for Helix canal extension: 1.8m (deep); 5.0m (wide); 3.0m (air draught). Carron Sealock 2 (upstream) is available for boats up to 6.0m wide.
  • For further details, see General Information section.

Adiitional pilotage notes for Sea lock 2

You must book passage in advance. Call the Scottish Canals Sealock Keeper on 07810 794468, specifically requesting access to Lock 2.

  • Sea Lock – 4 hrs before to 1h30 after HW, 0800-2000 and daylight hours.
  • Navigation is restricted both by headroom under the 4 fixed bridges over the River Carron and by depth at shallow points between the sea and the sea lock.
  • Masts must be unstepped before navigating upstream of Sealock 1.
  • The Kerse Road Bridge has approx 5.0m (16.5ft) from river bed to bridge underside, with the highest point of the river bed at +2.3CD. This is the critical point in the navigation.
  • Tide and headroom gauges in the River Carron refer to the Kerse Road Bridge. Their tops are level with the underside of the bridge.

River Carron tides

  • At spring tides, the mid-tide level rises at around 1.6m per hour and on the ebb will fall at up to 2.0m per hour. The combination of rapidly changing levels and strong currents makes accurate timing of your passage, especially during spring tides, important. 
  • At neap tides, the pattern is similar but the range is less. Because you’ll be navigating near High Water (HW) rather than at half tide, the problem is much less acute. Generally speaking, this is the easiest and safest time to make the passage. 
  • The current in the river may be up to 4 knots on a spring flood and more, depending on river conditions, on the ebb.

Going upstream

  • Neap tides (less than 5.0m, HW around 0900/2100 UT).
  • Optimum tide level typically occurs between 1.5 and 2.5 hours before HW, and again approx 1.0 hour after HW. Tidal current will be slight. As a general rule, skippers should begin the up river passage on a flood tide, as soon as they consider there’s enough depth. 
  • Spring tides (more than 5.0m, HW occurring around 0300/1500 UT).
  • Optimum tide level typically occurs between 3.0 and 3.5 hours before HW, and again approx 2.0 hours after HW. Tidal current will be strong. 
  • For more information, consult the LOWLAND CANALS TIDE TABLES (£1), available from Lowland Canals office and sea locks.


  • The entrance to the Carron Estuary channel lies at 56°02.3N 03°41.3W between the port-hand red Carron Approach buoy Fl(4)R 12sec and the original large starboard-hand white-painted stone-built Beacon Fl G 5sec. 
  • The new Eastern sealock (Sealock 1) to the Forth & Clyde Canal lies in the south bank of the tidal River Carron estuary 2 miles upstream from the above entrance from the Forth, to seaward of all restrictive overhead bridges. Yachts may enter the canal, fully rigged with mast stepped, provided the tide has risen enough to allow under-keel clearance.
Map of the river Carron