The Bristol Channel

The shipping traffic of the Bristol Channel is never far from view, whether you are viewing Swansea Bay from an elevated viewpoint such as Kilvey Hill, the Townhill/Northill/Mount Pleasant areas of the city, or Mumbles Hill; or if you are looking out to sea from many beaches or cliffs of South Gower.

Live Marine Traffic Map

Below is a map that provides free real-time information to the public, about ship movements, covering a section of the Bristol Channel close to the Port of Swansea.

Passenger Vessels
Cargo Vessels
High Speed Craft
Tug, Pilot, etc
Yachts & Others
Navigation Aids
Unspecified Ships
Ships Underway

The Bristol Channel has one of the highest tidal ranges in the world (the vertical difference between high and low water).

Tide warning

Spring Tides are those that occur 1½ days after both the New and Full Moon (roughly every fortnight).  Spring Tides give the highest and the lowest waters.

Neap Tides occur halfway between each Spring Tide (a little after the first and last quarters of the Moon).  Neap Tides give relatively low high waters and high low waters.

The shape and contour of the coast will affect the tidal rates, and there is an increase in the rate at such places as Oxwich Point, Port Eynon Point, Mumbles Head, Worm's Head and Burry Holmes.  Remember outgoing tides are the strongest and most dangerous and that the current is strongest approximately 3 - 4 hours after high or low water.

Nearly all of Gower's bays are safe for bathing, with the exception of Three Cliffs Bay and the coast from Burry Holmes to Whiteford - these should be avoided.

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