What is a Port of Refuge (or Refuge Port)?


Your passage planning will consist of two main plans, namely Pilotage which is the plan from your departure berth/harbour out to the extents of the harbour. It is also an additional plan into your destination berth/harbour. In between Pilotage(s) is the details of your main Passage Plan.

However, there is an important further third plan to consider which needs to be part of the overall Passage Plan. Suppose during your passage something arises which makes it unsafe, too difficult or indeed impossible to carry on with your planned passage?

This could be poor weather, difficult tidal conditions, engine or rig problems, an emergency on board, a time delay in your passage which could result in you not making your destination in a timely manner e.g unplanned arrival in night time, or a tidal gate problem. There are many such problems which could beset even the most well prepared sailor.

For this reason Colas regulations say that we must always be aware of a suitable Port(s) of Refuge along our proposed route. Consider it as a bolt hole to be used in a possible emergency.


Depending upon your passage planning route you may not consider that there is a suitable Port of Refuge due to the location of relevant harbours and such like along your route. However there is still a need to consider this as part of your plan.


Any such Refuge Ports will need to be dealt with in a similar manner to how you would plan your Pilotage into such a port.

Passage Planners

Enabling sailors to plan voyages


Forms to help you quickly plan your Port of Refuge or  refuge port(s) pilotage.

Port of Refuge Planning Form

Page 1 

This form contains boxes to transfer tidal, passage weather, waypoint name/number, heading, trip mileage, details of possible hazards etc. for each pilotage leg into the Port of Refuge Port. The form also includes for Cill opening/closing times where applicable. Presented with Port of Refuge Planning Form Page 2 on the reverse side, the forms are heat encapsulated within a premium matt plastic A4 size pouch which allows for  details to be written using a B grade pencil. Details may be altered as required by erasing and re-entering. There is plenty of space on each line to allow easy entering of detail.

Available in size A4: Grey or Colour background.

Ref: PR1


 Port of Refuge Planning Form

 Page 2

This is encapsulated on the reverse of Port of Refuge Page 1. It has plenty of room to sketch the main pilotage details for the Port of Refuge.


There is plenty of sketch space on the sheet and details can be altered as required or erased at the end of the voyage to be ready for the next pilotage plan.

Available in size A4: Grey or Colour background.

Ref: PR2




Port of Refuge Continuation sheet

This is a continuation sheet to Page 1 for additional leg details to be inserted on a longer passage. Heat encapsulated as described above, with details both sides of the sheet. Can be erased and reused for the next pilotage plan.

Available in size A4: Grey or Colour background.

Ref: PR3


TIP - We always take a picture of each page of the plan, using a mobile phone, prior to leaving port. This insures against the plan being blown away out of the cockpit part way through the passage (it has happened to us)!! It also keeps a record of the voyage for future use.