MDL Chatham Maritime Marina Guide & Review

Well located, modern marina with excellent facilities

MDL Chatham Maritime Marina,  Leviathan Way, Chatham ME4 4LP. Tel: 01634 899 200 VHF: 80. Email:

Rating 4/5

Location, pilotage & tips

Located on the River Medway between Gillingham and Rochester, Chatham Maritime Marina is located on the port side of the river shortly after no.32 buoy. Upnor Castle is prominent on the bank opposite the lock, making for a nice photo opportunity before you make your approach. There are mooring buoys on both sides of the river, often occupied by small craft. The local yacht club also regularly hold races in the river, which can sometimes cause congestion and tricky navigation. Beware of the unexpectedly large ships which sometimes navigate this stretch.

The river runs hard across the entrance, so you will need to gauge the tide and make an appropriate approach from a suitable distance. It isn’t uncommon for yachts to be nearly sideways for most of the approach, straightening up as the tide disappears just in front of the gates.

Contact Chatham Maritime Marina in advance to reserve a berth. Note: this is an MDL marina, so if your home marina is MDL you might be able to take advantage of ‘freedom berthing’.


24hrs. 1.5m over the cill at LWS

Radio the lock office (call sign: “Chatham Marina”) on VHF 80 when you are near the entrance/ready to slip when leaving. They will often accommodate you by switching the lock around and giving access. Sometimes though (depending on tide and how busy it is) they may ask you to wait. It is easy enough to hold position in the tide, but should you need it, there is a waiting pontoon downstream or the lock, but beware it can get quite shallow immediately down river of the pontoon. There are traffic lights in place on both sides of the lock, which should be followed. The lock does sometimes run on free-flow at HW.


Pirates Cave is 10 mins in a taxi and is well stocked and friendly. Tel: 01634 295 233

Things to see and do

A 2 minute walk from Chatham Maritime Marina, there’s outlet shops, plenty of welcoming bars and restaurants, and a multi-screen cinema. On the same site, the Historic Chatham Dockyards makes for a great day out, with old naval ships and submarines on display (on which you can go aboard) as well as rope making and several other fascinating museums and things to do. Making this marina a great choice for families, or couples looking for something different.


WC, Showers, Launderette, Wifi


Water and electricity on pontoons. Fuel is available from the fuel pontoon (on your right has you come through the lock). Gas can be bought from the marina office.

My personal view

Chatham Maritime Marina is a very well-located marina. Perfect if you are looking to escape from a bit of a blow, as it’s nearly 10nm up the River Medway, and offers a good level of shelter. The facilities are (as you would expect from MDL) clean, and well maintained. The marina staff are friendly and helpful, and there’s a lot to do in the local area. Well worth a visit for a couple of days before you head back out to sea. Just watch the tide across the entrance, and have a practice run if needed!

Note: the author has no association of affiliation with Chatham Maritime Marina. The detail and opinions expressed on this web page are purely that of the author. You are advised to always read the appropriate chart and almanac for full and up to date information

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