(above) - Yachts on final leg of passage entering the Port of Vathy (Vathi), Ithaca, Ionian Sea (N38º 22.232′  E20º  42.681')

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Passage Planners for Passage Planning

Helping sailors to plan sea voyages


Waterproof & Reusable Passage Planning Forms

 Made in Exeter - Devon - United Kingdom


Many of our Forms are published in English, Français and Deutsche. See our Blog.

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We will be out of the office for sixteen days from Saturday 6th. July until Sunday 21st. July. Please continue to place orders but we regret that we will not be able to dispatch your order until Monday 22nd. July. Please accept our apologies for the delay. We will still acknowledge your order but will not be able to dispatch until our return. Orders received prior to Saturday 6th. July will be fulfilled as normal. Thank you for your understanding.


 An Introduction to Passage Planners and how our forms will help with your sailing and passage planning.


 Welcome to our site! We are a UK website based in the South West of England, dedicated to helping sailors make efficient and professional Passage, Pilotage and Port of Refuge sailing plans by using our Passage Planning forms.  Our professionally printed forms are designed to help and guide on how to prepare a passage plan for marine navigation for use en-route. They can be used in the cockpit of your sailing yacht, motor yacht or any other marine transport including commercial ships and other vessels. Most of our passage, pilotage and port of refuge planning forms are encapsulated in high quality A4 size matt plastic pouches. These provide waterproof surfaces for writing on with B grade black pencil, and can be edited as required during the passage. Our ready to use forms are designed for limited multiple use and can be erased at the voyage completion, for reuse on your next passage. We also publish a series of wire bound lay-flat books containing numerous copies of our planning forms which, although designed for single use, may be erased and used several times over. Aditionally, we publish a Sailing Log Book for sail and power yachts and also Cockpit Cards for Mayday and Pan-pan emergency radio calls, plus other Cockpit Cards for your yacht MMSI and Call Sign details. We also offer tuition and advice on Passage Plan writing.


Why and who should write a Passage Plan? (other than, perhaps, the skipper of this freighter below). The image is of the wreck of the freighter ‘Panagiotis’. Being pursued by the Greek Navy for alleged tobacco smugling, the ship ran aground on Navagio beach on Zakynthos Island in stormy weather in 1980, and was abandoned. Now a forlorn hulk it lies in one of the most beautiful bays in the Ionian Islands of Greece, which can be reached only from seaward.

 Passage Planning, or voyage planning is required to be undertaken by anyone who takes a vessel to sea whether it be a huge super tanker or a small sailing yacht. It is not difficult to undertake and can give great satisfaction when done correctly.

Most sailors learn how to develop a passage plan during their training for their International Certificate of Competence (ICC), RYA  Day Skipper, Coastal Skipper or Yacht Master qualifications. However not every sailor studies for a formal sailing qualification and may rely upon the many excellent publications written

Passage planning is essential to avoid going aground

Navagio Beach, Zakynthos Island. (N37º 51.673′  E20º  37.415')

to teaching such skills. We are presenting our forms to you to help you put your ideas down on paper as a means to assist and speed your planning. We have also produced a tutorial on how to write a passage and pilotage plan and explain how our passage planning forms can assist you to in preparing the plan in our "Passage Planning Examples" and "Have you done your Passage planning" pages (opens in new tab). The following notes are intended to outline the fundamentals of passage and pilotage planning and to to encourage your interest in the passage planning process. Another part of our website offers help and advice in a basic passage plan guide to writing techniques which we hope will be of particular use to existing sailors and those taking RYA sailing and navigation courses.


UK law requires every skipper/navigator to prepare a suitable passage plan prior to putting to sea. From start to completion (dock to dock), the voyage of each vessel must be described. This must include leaving the mooring and harbour area (pilotage), the main part of the journey (passage plan) and the approach and entrance/docking at the destination port (pilotage). In addition, a plan must be made, if possible, to an alternative port(s) en route in the event of emergency (Port of Refuge). We provide forms for all of these activities. These events are required to be documented for all vessels whether a small cruising yacht sailed by a leisure sailor, or a massive commercial freight carrier. SOLAS (International Convention for the safety of life at sea) requires a passage plan to be made even if it is only for a short leisure sail. And it  needs to be written down. Failure to comply can lead to errors and navigational accidents. Even the use of passage planning software requires the plan to be written down prior to the proposed sea passage.


 The passage plan is required to be monitored throughout its execution, and this is the responsibility of the skipper, as is everything else on the voyage. The passage plan needs to adequately describe the voyage with particular regard to navigation, tidal height planning and the effects of tidal streams and currents, hazards en route, sea conditions and the anticipated passage weather and wind anticipated during the passage. Other considerations of note are the safety aspects of the vessel and crew including the capacity and experience of the crew to cope with the voyage, and the stores required on board to feed the crew and non-crew.


 Generally each passage plan will start with the navigator drawing the proposed route on a suitable nautical chart(s) covering the area of the passage in question. The initial track may be redrawn to be efficient, safe and with particular reference to adequate under keel clearances, TSS (Traffic Separation) systems, time/speed restrictions, height clearance, military ranges, tidal gates on passage, hazards en route, contingencies in the event of emergencies and/or bad weather and, indeed, any other laws or regulations applicable to those who go to sea.

Passage and Tidal Stream planning will help with a safe passage near to Start Point

Start Point, Devon, UK - A notorious tidal race may be encountered at this formidable headland. The passage plan must take into account tidal gates such as this for a safe and enjoyable passage to be maintained. (N50º 13.500′  W003º  37.555)

 Pilotage, generally undertaken at the start and end of each voyage, needs every attention as these are the times when mistakes can be made, particularly at the end of a long passage when skipper and crew may be tired. Although used in tandem with the passage plan, the pilotage may be planned separately using the same principles as the passage plan but referring to more detailed and large-scale charts of approaches to harbours and fairways and with due concern to navigational buoys,

lights and marks, navigational hazards, increased local traffic, tidal restraints and currents, speed limits and rules and regulations particular to the destination port and harbour authority. In particular, the use and rerence to a suitable pilot book/almanac (such as Reeds Nautical Almanac) is not only advisable, but essential in such matters of pilotage. There are many other pilot books written by authors with experience to specific areas of the coasts of Britain (e.g 'The Shell Channel Pilot', edited by Tom Cunliffe or 'Ionian' by Rod Heikell, covering Greek waters)  and indeed every coast in the world. Although most local sailors complete voyages during the daylight, this is not always the case and skippers need to be aware that they may neeed to prepare for leaving or arriving at a port in darkness. This puts an even greater pressure on crew and skipper alike, and requires skills not practiced on an everyday basis. In the event of night sailing/arrival in the dark, the passage and pilotage plan is required to take this into account. In the event of a delay during passage, requiring a change or adjustment of the plan and/or pilotage this needs to be written into the documents describing the plan.


 All voyages of any length need, in particular, to take into account both tidal and weather considerations. Although tide times are predictable, the weather is far less so and can change, as can wind conditions en route, from that predicted at the start of the voyage. Thus, conditions can change and the combination of tide, sea condition and wind could mean that the passage plan is not practical or even possible to follow safely. Emergencies can happen which could have the same effect on the plan and it is for the skipper to decide whether to deviate from the passage plan and to head for a "Port of Refuge". Such ports may be in short supply! For instance, a passage from Weymouth on the Dorset coast, to Brixham in Devon is a distance of about 45 to 50 miles depending on whether sailing is possible close to Portland Bill. The most direct route from Portland Bill is straight across Lyme Bay, a distance of approx. 42 miles. The coast to the north of the route (Lyme Regis, Bridport) is some 16 miles away and, in any event neither port could be really considered to be a suitable port of refuge. Thus, the nearest refuge port to Brixham is Dartmouth and unless you were blown well to the south west, it could not be to any advantage, neither could the Exe river to the north east of Brixham.


 However if you were cruising from Brixham to Falmouth, there would be several refuge ports available such as Salcombe, Plymouth, Fowey, even possibly Mevagissey (not a suitable foul weather refuge), should a change in plan be necessary.


 As such, any passage plan is required to take Ports of Refuge into consideration and the pilotage into such chosen ports is a necessary part of passage planning writing. A separate pilotage plan, including berthing planning, should be prepared for such an eventuality, to include the details one would take into account as if it were an anticipated destination port and must be completed to the same detail as your chosen destination.

Pilotage planning makes for a safe navigation into Fowey, Cornwall

Fowey, Cornwall, UK - Easy pilotage into this harbour makes it a good Port of Refuge, if required between, say  Brixham and Falmouth. (N50º 20.239′  W004º  37.832)

 What next?

 Following the completion of the passage plan, most navigator/skippers will put the details of the planned route into an electronic chart plotter situated in the cockpit or above the chart table (or both) of the vessel. Most cruising vessels nowadays are fitted with a chart plotter, either as part of the original equipment or as an navigation extra.

Alternatively a GPS unit or even a iPad may be used to store the details. The inputted details should include both the pilotage and, possible suitable ports of refuge. GPS is great for most of the time. However it’s not a good idea to entirely rely on it. If you have made an error in entering data, like a car sat nav system you don't  end up where you intended. It is the same at sea! The GPS signal and accuracy is not infallible and the signal can be vulnerable to outside influences. Like any other electrical equipment it can just stop working at an inconvenient time. Always have a passage plan written down (and don’t let the wind blow it away! Take a snapshot of it with your mobile phone, just in case).


 Prior to the start of the passage the skipper will discuss the plan with the navigator and other crew members so that all are aware of the route and intentions of the skipper.


 During the ongoing voyage the passage plan should be regarded as 'a living document' to be monitored and, if necessary safely adjusted to suit changes in conditions imposed on the original plan by any special or even unplanned circumstances.


During the voyage the passage plan should at all times be available to the skipper/watch crew and must be monitored throughout with regard to the progress of the vessel. The track of a yacht or motor vessel can be affected during the progress of the passage by, in particular wind and tidal streams, however there are other contributing factors which could affect the course which require to be constantly monitored.  This generally is carried out by traditional means and requires the vessel's position to be determined in relation to the planned course by methods including dead reckoning, position fixing, pilotage and electronic positioning fixing and route monitoring. Such observed details are required to be entered in the boat's log as necessary. By so doing the plan as designed prior to leaving port will be closely monited throughout the passage.


 Having a robust written Passage and Pilotage Plan is essential for a safe and enjoyable voyage. Our forms for planning and making a passage, together with pilotage and port of refuge planning forms, and other helpful tidal stream and fuel planning forms are designed to help you with your navigation planning and are designed to be be easy to use to the extent that details can be revised should you find that there are differences between the circumstances you assumed you may meet when you wrote your initial passage plan, and those you actually encounter on the voyage. Generally, our planning forms are encapsulated, waterproof and, when used as templates for your passage planning, can be reused a limited number of times. The matt finish can be written on using B grade pencil which can be erased later, ready for your next plan. We also publish a range of wire bound lay-flat books containing Passage, Pilotage and Port of Rescue forms.

 Safely Docked

A safe docking at Poros, Cephalonia, Greece, following an enjoyable passage. (N38º 08.821′  E20º  46.760)

A good passage and pilotage plan is needed to reach Poros, Greece
Good pilotage resulting in a safe mooring outside Fiskardo, Greece.




A different method of mooring

Yachts moored outside the port of Fiskardo, Cephalonia, Greece  (N38º 27.368′  E20º  34.781). The method is 'anchor and long line'. The long lines are led from the yacht stern to rocks on the shore and led back to the yacht sterns. Anchors are laid from the bow.



End note - although we recommend the publications mentioned above, we have no affiliation with 'Reeds Almanac', 'The Shell Channel Pilot' or 'Ionian'.