Navigation on the Lower Yare is relatively trouble-free with good depths overall.
However, users must ensure they stay within the marked channel - there is shallow water and other hazards outside the channel marker posts.
There is a bridge at Reedham - it is a swing bridge and carries the railway from Norwich through to Lowestoft.
This section of the River Yare is subject to relatively strong tidal flow and care in navigation is more important in this area. Please see Tide Tables.
Over recent years commercial traffic in this area has been rare - if you do encounter larger commercial vessels please take instructions from escort vessels and local Broads rangers' launches which accompany their movements.
Berney Arms Reach - This reach has deep water but can suffer from strong tidal flow at certain states of the tide, it is important to stay within the marked channel.
Seven Mile Reach - This reach has deep water but can suffer from strong tidal flow. It is important to stay within the marked channel.
Haddiscoe New Cut - There are navigation markers through Haddiscoe New Cut. Stay inside the channel as there are hazards and shallow water behind the markers. Haddiscoe fly-over bridge has a clearance of 24ft at high water. Caution should be exercised joining main rivers when leaving the cut.
Reedham Street - In this reach you encounter Reedham Swing Bridge, deep water channels but no channel markings.
Reedham bridge swings on demand when there is one red flag flying from the control box. If two red flags are flying the bridge is inoperable. The bridge may not be able to open if a train is imminent.
If the bridge cannot swing it is important vessels do not get too close to the bridge to make their turning manoeuvres as there are strong tidal currents around the bridge and bridge approach. If in doubt, stay away until the bridge has swung open and passage is clear.
Certain vessels may pass under the bridge without it swinging open. For bridge clearances see bridge heights.
Reedham Ferry - Good water depths in the main channel but no channel markers exist in this reach and users are reminded that water depths may vary when approaching river banks.
A chain ferry operates upstream of the pub and users are reminded to ensure that the ferry has docked at the river bank and allow for the chains to lower behind the ferry before passing.
Limpenhoe - Good water depths in the main channel. No channel markers exist in this reach and depths may vary near river banks. Entrance to Hardley Dyke is in this reach. The dyke is narrow and it may be difficult for both medium and larger craft to turn.
Cantley - Good water depths in the main channel. No channel markers exist in this reach and users are reminded water depths may vary when approaching river banks.
Entrance to Langley Dyke is in this reach. The dyke has a turning area but is unsuitable for large vessels.
Langley - Langley Dyke on the south side of the river is a pleasant rest stop. Care must be taken as the dyke is narrow but a turning area opens out and is easy to negotiate.
Beauchamp Arms - Continuing upstream in a 5 mph speed area leaving Langley Dyke to your left, there are no major features to observe but it is the second of five water ski-zones on the Yare. Zones are active for limited periods - details are on signage prominently displayed on banks. As you approach the pub there is Buckenham Sailing Club. Racing events occur but these are well marked when races are on.
Strumpshaw - A few hundred metres past the pub is the second water-ski zone. Rockland St Mary is the next feature, accessed through 2 dykes. The first is Short Dyke (3 mph) - mooring is available toward Rockland Broad. Access through the Broad is well marked with buoys. Access to Rockland itself is not so easy as the dyke (3 mph) is narrow. Turning at the Rockland end is easy and a good sized mooring basin can be found. Exit from Rockland is via Boat Dyke onto Rockland Broad. To continue upstream of the Yare, take the Fleet Dyke exit. The water-ski zone remains in force coming out onto the main river and a 6 mph speed limit applies for normal navigation.
Brundall - Brundall is the next village and the water-ski zone ends just before at Strumpshaw. Afterwards the speed limit changes to 5 mph. It is recommended to stay within this limit as the area is well used, being the main mooring and marina area on the upper River. Brundall has a yacht club that races frequently. The river is wide here but care is needed as racing sometimes coincides with boats exiting from Hobro's Dyke and Brundall Marina both of which are on the opposite side of the river.
Surlingham - Just past the sailing club is an entrance to Surlingham Broad (3mph) which is narrow but navigable by reasonable sized craft. A second entrance/exit to the Broad is half a mile around the long sweeping bend that runs past holiday chalets and boat yards. Care must be taken as there are often boats turning to berth and/or refuel.
Bramerton - After leaving Surlingham, the river continues past Brundall Gardens marina then through countryside, with speeds of 5 /6 mph. No major hazards to negotiate but beware shallow water on the banks, and mooring points on both sides. The final water-ski zone start will be found after the Bramerton area. The zone ends just before the Postwick viaduct.
Postwick - The viaduct at Postwick poses little hazard but is limited to craft with less than a 10.67m (35 ft) air draft depending on the state of the tide.
Thorpe - The route on toward Norwich takes you past another well-used sailing club and on toward Whitlingham Country Park and Thorpe. There are two channels through Thorpe. The New Cut is the primary channel with few hazards but the old river can only be accessed by low air draft boats (1.83 m/6 ft). The old river is shallow, especially at low tide. Upstream of Thorpe is the start of Norwich proper. Take note of bridges in the area. The river here is the River Wensum.
Trowse Eye - Approaching Norwich past Whitlingham Country Park is the confluence of the rivers Yare and Wensum at Trowse Eye. The River Yare navigation branches south at Trowse Eye and continues up to Trowse Mill, the head of navigation. The river channel to the mill is narrow and shallow, making it unsuitable for cabin cruisers or other larger vessels due to water depth and limited turning space.
Please note that through Trowse Eye there is a natural sand and gravel river bed which at some states of the tide is shallower than the stated 1.5 m Waterways Specification navigable depth for this reach. As this feature is part of the natural river form and contains multiple underlying utility services, mechanical dredging to remove the feature is not part of the current dredging Management Strategy. Please see the detailed map showing the location of these shallow spots as you pass through the Shoals.
Following the Wensum upstream from Trowse Eye leads into Norwich proper. There are a number of lifting or swing bridges. Prior planning is required before navigating if bridge lifts are required.
Norwich - Several bridges are located in the Norwich reach - please check heights before navigating. Prior planning is required before navigating if bridge lifts are required. The Wensum is navigable to New Mills Yard but Foundry Bridge has very limited air draft. Bishop Bridge just past the Norwich Yacht Station is the limit of navigation for hire craft.