DIRECTIONS – Between the Needles and St. Catherine’s point the coast must be approached with caution, particularly during the east-going stream which, in the offing, sets inshore towards the many ledges extending from the coast, of which the most dangerous are those off Brook and Atherfield points. The highest of the chalk cliffs on the eastern side of Freshwater bay in line with Brook point, bearing 315°, leads south-westward of Atherfield ledges and all dangers south-eastward of them. At night, a vessel from the westward should keep in the white sector of the Needles light bearing more than 300°, when rounding St. Catherine’s point (Lat. 50° 34’ N., LONG. 1° 18’ W.) and should take care not to approach within one mile of the land.
TIDAL STREAMS – At a position about 4.6 miles 205° from Needles lighthouse, the stream is nearly rectilinear. The east-going stream begins, in a direction about 040°, +0530 Portsmouth (+0545 Dover), but changes very quickly to about 080°, and attains its greatest rate, 2.1 knots at springs, one knot at neaps, in a direction 085° (directly towards Atherfield ledges), - 0330 Portsmouth (-0315 Dover). The west-going stream, spring rate 2.2 knots, neap rate 1.1 knots, runs in a mean direction 265° and begins -0030 Portsmouth (-0015 Dover). Farther eastward there is no set towards the land. At a position about 6.8 miles 146° from Needles lighthouse, the stream is nearly rectilinear. The east-going stream, spring rate 2.7 knots, neap rate 1.3 knots, mean direction 100°, begins +0500 Portsmouth (+0515 Dover); the west-going stream, spring rate 2.3 knots, neap rate 1.2 knots, mean direction 285°, begins -0120 Portsmouth (-0105 Dover). In Freshwater bay the stream is weak close inshore, but gains strength eastward. In the middle of the bay, at a position about 3 miles 101° from Needles lighthouse, the east-going stream, spring rate one knot, neap rate 0.5 knot, mean direction 110° (directly towards Brook ledges), begins +0445 Portsmouth (+0500 Dover); the west-going stream, spring rate 1.1 knots, neap rate 0.6 knot, mean direction 290° (towards the land eastward of Needles point), begins -0130 Portsmouth (-0115 Dover).
TIDAL STREAMS – The coastal streams are not strong off Brook point, but the east-going stream, which runs across Brook ledges, increases eastward and runs strongly across Atherfield ledges and Chale rock; the west-going stream also runs across the rock and ledges, but less strongly. At a position about one mile south-westward of Atherfield point, the east-going stream, spring rate 1.8 knots, neap rate 0.9 knot, mean direction 125° (towards St. Catherine’s point), begins +0420 Portsmouth (+0435 Dover); the west-going stream, spring rate 2.2 knots, neap rate 1.1 knots, mean direction 300°, begins -0130 Portsmouth (-0115 Dover). The set of the east-going offshore stream towards the south-western coast of the Isle of Wight, and of the east-going inshore stream across the dangers between Brook point and St. Catherine’s point, must not be forgotten. At a position about 1¼ miles 143° from St. Catherine’s Point light-house, the east-going stream, spring rate 3.7 knots, neap rate 1.8 knots, mean direction 075°, begins +0520 Portsmouth (+0535 Dover); the west-going stream, spring rate 3.8 knots, neap rate 1.9 knots, mean direction 257°, begins -0055 Portsmouth (-0040 Dover). A race occurs off St. Catherine’s point, and may be violent when the stream is strong and a strong wind is blowing in the opposite direction; the race is specially violent south-eastward of the point in westerly gales at springs, during the west-going stream. Eddies occur near the land westward of the point during the west-going stream.