Venetian Lagoon

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WorldMediterraneanItalyVenice to TriesteVeniceVenetian Lagoon
Venetian Lagoon
45°21.464'N, 012°21.119'E Chart icon.png
lat=45.35773 | lon=12.35199 | zoom=9 | y


The lagoon of Venice covers an area of over 200 square miles and consists largely of tidal mud flats criss-crossed by dredged channels leading to the main harbours and basins. Most of the channels are clearly marked by posts. Tidal currents through the three entrances to the lagoon can be strong and, since the lagoon is largely enclosed, tidal ranges can be high by Mediterranean standards. This is especially true of the equinoctial tides, during which the centre of Venice often famously floods. The lagoon contains over 30 inhabited islands, many of them reclaimed from the seas by drainage projects during the 15th and 16th centuries. Together, the harbours and islands represent one of the most interesting and historic cruising grounds in the Western Mediterranean.
Aerial view of the Venice lagoon

Charts

British Admiralty
1483
1449
1442
1473
Italian
924
38
221
222
226

Weather

During the summer months the prevailing winds in the Adriatic are light to moderate coastal seabreezes. In spring and autumn, northerly winds are more frequent and can quickly rise to near gale force, especially in the northern Adriatic, where the much-feared “bora” is caused by high pressure over the mountains to the NE coupled with low pressure over southern Italy. Fortunately, the fiercest “bora” is normally to be expected in the winter months. Thunderstorms are occasionally experienced in spring and especially autumn and can be accompanied by violent winds of gale force and above. Luckily they are rarely long-lasting. Fog is a further hazard often encountered in the lagoon of Venice, especially in the early and late season.

Sources for weather information:

  • There is a continuous (computerised voice) weather forecast on VHF 68 - first in Italian and then followed with an English translation
  • The same forecast is given in Italian and English on VHF coastal stations following a notification on channel 16
  • Navtex weather forecasts covering the Adriatic are broadcast from stations at Roma, Trieste, Kerkyra (Greece) and Split (Croatia)

Passages

List popular passages/routes, timing, etc.

Islands

There are a total of 117 small islands in the lagoon, some inhabited but many of them little more than extensive mudbanks. The principal inhabited islands are as follows:

Communication

Also see World Cruiser's Nets.

Navigation

There are three entrances to the lagoon of Venice (from S to N):

Porto di Chioggia World icon.png 45°13.95′N, 12°19.3′E The entrance of Porto di Chioggia is between two long breakwaters extending E from the long, low spit of land that protects the lagoon from seaward. A detached, arc-shaped breakwater protects the entrance from SE and a yacht can pass either side to enter the channel. However, note that the deeper water is towards the northern breakwater. Depths in the main channel are 6.5 - 8.0 metres but only 4.0 - 5.0 towards the sides. Be sure to give the ends of the breakwaters a clearance of at least 200 metres as there is dangerous rock ballasting. Follow the channel marked with buoys and wooden posts, which turns S after a mile to enter the port of Chioggia. The channel is dredged to 6.5 metres, but there are several shallower patches of around 4.0 metres. Entry is best around slack water, since the tides can reach 4.0 knots at springs. Entry is potentially dangerous with strong onshore winds.

Porto di Malamocco World icon.png 45°19.9′N, 12°20.5′E The entrance of Porto di Malamocco lies half way along the long sandy spit that protects the lagoon of Venice from Chioggia as far north as the main island of Venice itself. The entrance is protected by two long breakwaters and a detached, arc-shaped breakwater immediately S of the southern breakwater. The ends of the N and S breakwaters are identifiable by conspicuous black and white and red and white painted structures. A fairway beacon is situated 2.0 miles ESE of the entrance, from where a course of 287 degrees brings you safely through the entrance. A conspicuous light beacon in the entrance, the Roccheta Tower, in line with a tower beyond, the Torre Spignon, gives you a course of 287. The safe channel is also indicated by port and starboard markers. The channel is dredged to 14.0 metres. Entry is best around slack water, since the tides can reach 4.0 knots at springs.

Porto di Lido World icon.png 45°25.18′N, 12°26′E The Porto di Lido is the principal (and busiest) entrance to the lagoon, giving the most direct access to the island of Venice. As the deepest channel with depths of over 10 metres, it is also the one used by ferries and large commercial vessels. The ends of the N and S breakwaters are identifiable by conspicuous black and white and red and white painted structures. A fairway beacon is situated around 2.5 miles SE of the entrance, from where a course of 300 degrees brings you safely through the entrance. The safe channel is also indicated by port and starboard markers. . The channel is dredged to over 10.0 metres. Entry is best around slack water, since the tides can reach 4.0 knots at springs.

Note: port regulations require that all yachts use their engines when entering or leaving the lagoon and manoeuvering in the channels.

Ports, Anchorages, and Islands

Outside the centre, (click on this link: Venice for details of Venice Central), a yacht has the choice of berthing in Chioggia at the southern end of the lagoon; on the mainland of Mestre, convenient for the airport; in the Cavallino-Treporti area on the eastern shore of the lagoon; at the inland river marina of Portegrandi at the NW end of the lagoon or at one of the marinas at Piave Vecchia in the river Sile on the Adriatic coast. Although not actually in the lagoon, the Piave Vecchia marinas are included since their good transport links to the centre make them a convenient option when visiting Venice. For full details of the marinas and basins, click on the relevant section in the table below or on the individual marina entries.

 
No. of berths
 
Max. length (metres)
Max. depth (metres)
 
 
 
Porto Interno
c. 15
16
3.5
450
35
7.0
500
30
3.5
220
16
4.0
 
 
 
150
14
2.5
70
20
4.0
200
18
2.6
 
 
 
200
40
5.0
130
60
6.0
 
 
 
300
20
3.4
 
 
 
110
16
5.0
300
30
6.0
450
16
2.5
488
30
4.5
 

References & Publications

See Italy.

Friends

Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.

Forums

List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements).

Links

Links to relevant websites.

Comments

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SailorSmiley.gifContributors to this page

Names: Haiqu, Athene of Lymington


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