Guidance On Harbour Closure Orders

Harbour authorities are responsible for managing safe and efficient harbours. This includes specific responsibilities in relation to the safety of vessels and people within the harbour, efficient navigation and the protection of the port environment.

The Port Marine Safety Code, encourages harbour authorities to keep their powers under review and to take action as necessary to ensure they remain fit for purpose. In some cases this may mean relinquishing powers that are no longer necessary for safe and economic operation of the harbour.

Harbours underpinned by a local legislative framework of powers are Statutory Harbour Authorities (SHAs) in terms of the Harbours Act 1964 and those with statutory pilotage powers in addition, are also Competent Harbour Authorities (CHAs) in terms of the Pilotage Act 1987.

The Marine Navigation Act 2013 created two new processes allowing Scottish Ministers to make an order, under their devolved powers, revoking a harbour authority’s status as either a Statutory Harbour Authority or a Competent Harbour Authority.

This guidance explains the purposes of such orders, the process for making them, and what information is required with an application for an order.

Further specific advice can be obtained from the ports policy branch on 0131 244 7878 or by email to

Published Date 5 Feb 2016 Type Mode of transport