West Coast Pilot 1870

Excerpts from this Pilot. Fractions have been changed to decimals. Bearings are Magnetic for 1869 with variation 22° 28'. Placename spellings and compass bearings have been retained.

Lighthouses and Lightships, Sand Banks, Sailing Directions, Upper Mersey, Tides, Liverpool

RIVER MERSEY


The Mersey, forming a natural boundary between the shires of Lancaster and Chester, has its commencement 7 miles east of Stockport, where it is constituted by the junction of the rivers Etherow and Goyt, and at Stockport by the Tame from the north-east; the valley of the Mersey is here crossed by a fine railway viaduct. Flowing onward with numerous bends through a level country, the Mersey divides Cheadle from Didsbury, and passing Stretford, Ashton, and Flixton is joined in the vicinity of Carrington 29 miles east of Warrington, by the Irwell from Manchester, and from thence, aided by weirs and locks, becomes a navigable river. Augmented by the Bollen from the south, and other smaller streams, the river winds on to Warrington, which is 56 miles from its commencement beyond Stockport; the banks widen out considerably towards Runcorn but at the Gap, 10 miles below Warrington, the breadth is contracted to a quarter of a mile. Here the Mersey is crossed by a railway viaduct of stone; it consists of three navigable arches of 305 feet each, having a height of 75 feet between the level of high water and the girders above; these arches are connected to the Lancashire shore by six others of 60 feet span. The total length of the viaduct from shore to shore is 1,404 feet; this imposing structure, part of the scheme of the London and Northwestern Railway Company, was opened in the spring of 1869. Two miles below Runcorn the river is joined by the Weaver from the south-east and expands into a wide estuary, the greatest breadth of which is 3 miles across near Ellesmere port. From thence it gradually contracts, and from the Dingle point to the Rock lighthouse, the last five miles of its course, the river is from one mile to half a mile at the narrowest part across, between the walls of Princes basin and Seacombe on the Cheshire side. The length of the estuary from Runcorn Gap to the Rock lighthouse is 15 miles, and the total length of the Mersey from its source or junction of the before mentioned streams is 81 miles.

Coast.-South side of Entrance.-From Helbre point to Formby point is N.E. 11 miles, within which line as a base, the entrance of the Mersey forms a triangle, the bounding shores approaching nearly to a right angle.

Helbre point or the Red stones and the coast eastward of it, being composed of low sand hills, is but indistinctly seen from the sea, but the beacon on Grange hill,* 1.5 mile S.S.E. from the point, and the higher land of Irby hill within, are well marked objects. Upon the eastern part of the same range will be observed the square tower of Wood church, and to the north-east of it Bidston hill, with a lighthouse 68 feet high, and a mill. The towers of the old and new churches of Wallasey are about 1.5 miles N.E. from the lighthouse, and with a mill stand upon the west fall of the eastern rising ground, which is separated from that of Bidston by the low land bordering Wallasey pool and the Birket stream; upon the same rise is also a lofty square waterworks tower.

The chief objects upon the lower foreground are, Hoylake hotel, a large building one-third of a mile from Helbre point, the two Hoylake lighthouses, 64 and 42 feet high, and Hoylake church, the latter a mile east of the point. A little within the coast line, and a mile to the eastward of the lower lighthouse, are the two diamond-headed Dove beacons, 200 yards apart, and bearing when in line north and south. At 1.25 miles beyond, the tall tower of Leasowe lighthouse, 110 feet high, appears a little within the sea embankment, and three-quarters of a mile farther Leasowe castle. The Rock lighthouse and adjacent fort, nearly 3 miles to the eastward of Leasowe castle, are both insulated at high water, and they, together with a range of low red and yellow sandstone cliffs, and the houses and terrace, and conspicuous church spire of New Brighton, terminate the intervening 6.75 miles of coast between the estuaries of the Dee and Mersey.

A sandy beach skirts the whole of it, and between Hoylake lighthouses and Leasowe castle is a bed of peat and mud, which is well calculated for beaching on without injury to any vessel that may be compelled by stress of weather to go ashore.

* Views of the principal shore and floating objects used for the navigation for the entrance of the Mersey are given on Sheet 1951.

East side of Entrance.-Formby point and the coast for 5 miles south of it, is composed of a margin of low sand-hills, over which towards high water, may sometimes be seen the fans of the higher of two windmills and the belfry of Formby church, about 2 miles inland of the point. This boundary of the entrance of the Mersey is distinguished on its north part by a lofty framework beacon, named Formby North-West mark, and on the sand in front of it is another mark, named Mad-wharf beacon. Upon the south part of the point, S. by E. 2 miles from the North-West mark, is the well-known Formby tower; it is of brick, upwards of 100 feet high, and was formerly a lighthouse. Half a mile W. 1/2 N. from the tower is the Victoria beach mark; and on the point between it and the North-West mark, there is a life-boat house and flag-staff.

Crosby lighthouse, a wooden structure 74 feet high, is S. by W. 1/4 W. one mile from Formby tower, and W. by N. 3/4 N., nearly three-quarters of a mile from it, is Crosby beacon, a triangular framework of wood surmounted by a ball. At 2 miles to the S.S.E. of the lighthouse is Crosby point, projecting little from the shore on either side, but having several prominent objects about it, namely, the old and new churches of Crosby, a Roman Catholic chapel, and a windmill. In front of the point upon the sands are the two north and two south marks of the measured mile for testing the speed of steamers.

Waterloo terrace is close to the high-water margin, 1.5 mile from Crosby point; then succeeds the yellow tower of Seaforth church, and afterwards groups of houses are* continued for some distance, and at last become merged in the town of Liverpool.

Above Seaforth church, at the distance of a mile, and nearly opposite the Rock lighthouse, is Bootle church and the tall chimney of the waterworks, the latter a useful mark for the navigation; and on the brow of Walton hill, a mile inland, stands a lozenge-shaped beacon named Walton or Bootle inner mark. On this elevation are also Walton church and several windmills.

There are many prominent objects in Liverpool, but they are of only limited use in the approach, and are always obscured by smoke in easterly and south-westerly winds.

The bounding shores of the entrance of the Mersey and the general appearance of the principal objects having been described, the various lighthouses and light-vessels, &c. will now be noticed in detail, and in the same order as observed with the coast.

LIGHTHOUSES.-Hoylake lighthouses are both white buildings standing N.E. by N. and S.W. by S. 400 yards from each other; the lights are white and fixed, are respectively 55 and 31 feet above high water, and are visible at the distances of 13 and 11 miles in clear weather. The upper light opens when approaching the port from the westward when bearing S. by E. 1/2 E.; the lower or eastern light on a bearing of S. 1/4 E., the first indicating the spit of the north-west point of the East Hoyle bank when making for the Horse channel, the second when in the fairway between the East Hoyle and the Flats.

Leasowe light tower is white; the light of the natural colour and fixed, is 94 feet above high water, and visible at a distance of 15 miles in clear weather. It is shaded when proceeding eastward of a S.W. 3/4 S. bearing.

Bidston lighthouse is of dark coloured stone; the light of the natural colour and fixed, elevated 244 feet above high water, and may be seen at a distance of 23 miles; when brought a little eastward and afterwards westward of Leasowe it leads up the Horse channel. This light is masked like the foregoing light when bearing S. by W. 1/2 W.

Rock lighthouse is a stone tower 91 feet high; the light, 61 feet above high water, is revolving red and white, a red flash alternating after every second appearance of the white one. It is visible 14 miles in clear weather. A fixed ordinary light shows down the Rock channel, and also towards a south-east bearing from a lower elevation, while there is a depth of 11 feet in the gut or channel abreast. A black ball hoisted by the side of the lantern denotes the same depth by day. A bell is tolled during fog.

Crosby lighthouse, on the eastern or Lancashire side, is built of wood and painted white; the light, white and fixed, is 95 feet above high water, and maybe seen 12 miles in clear weather; it is visible only between the bearings S.S.E. 1/4 E. and East; the first, warning of the approach to the Mad wharf, the latter of the turning point in the channel south of the Crosby light-vessel.

Light Vessels in the entrance of the Mersey are three in number, viz., the N.W., the Formby, and the Crosby.

North-west Light-vessel lies in 8 fathoms in the fairway of the several channels. This vessel has two masts; her hull is painted black with a broad white streak, with "Liverpool N.W. Light-ship" in large letters her sides, and she carries a black ball at the foremast head. She exhibits one revolving light, with an interval of a minute between each flash, from an elevation of 38 feet, and can be seen 11 miles in clear weather. A gong and bell are sounded alternately during fogs.

At the N.W. light-ship, Helbre beach mark and the Eye beacon appear in line S. 3/4 E. nearly, and the Queen's channel bell beacon, distant 3.5 miles, on with Formby north-west beach mark E. 1/4 N.

The N.W. light-vessel received her name from lying to the northwest of the Rock channel, which was formerly the most frequented of the passages into the Mersey, and as she is still the outermost beacon and serves as a point of departure for the several channels towards Liverpool, some of the principal bearings and distances from her are given.
Air point lighthouse S by W 3/4 W 8.75m
Ormes head lighthouse W 21 m
Lynus lighthouse W by N 1/4 N 34.5m
Calf of Man lighthouse NW 3/4 W 62m
Morecambe bay light-vessel N 3/4 E 25m
Formby north-west black buoy E by N 3/4 N 6.33m
Fairway buoy (Victoria channel) E by S 3.5m
Black perch buoy, Horse channel,H.1 SSE 1/2 E 6.5m
Fairway bell beacon, Horse channel S by E 3.1m

This light-ship is on the line on which Ormes head light changes from white from the north, to red.

Formby light-vessel is moored in 40 feet at the elbow of the Queen Victoria and Crosby channels, with Crosby lighthouse open to the northward of Crosby beacon S.E. by E. 3/4 E. She is painted red, has two masts with a red ball at the foremast head, and exhibits a fixed red light at an elevation of 30 feet, visible at the distance of 8 miles in clear weather. Formby light vessel is S.E. by E. 3/4 E. 2 miles from the bell beacon, and from her, Crosby light-vessel bears S.E. 1/3 E., 2.5 miles nearly.

Crosby light-vessel, moored off the elbow of Great Burbo bank and the turn of Crosby channel in 7 fathoms, constitutes the fairway beacon to and from the Mersey through the Crosby channel. This vessel is also painted red, and has two masts with a red ball at the foremast head; she carries one fixed white light 29 feet above the water, which is visible 8 miles in clear weather; also for the purpose of inward bound vessels distinguishing her from the Crosby lighthouse, she carries two subsidiary lights of the natural colour, one forward and the other aft, so that when broadside on her lights will appear in the form of a triangle, the smaller one being at each end of the base; when seen end-on two lights only will appear, the main light over that on the bow or stern according to the tide. From this light-vessel the channel course up to abreast of the Rock lighthouse is S.byE. 3/4 E., 4.75 miles.

Sands And Buoyage,-The general rule adopted in buoying the several channels is such that, coming upon a buoy in the dark, you may detect by its shape on which side of the channel it is situated. An uniform system with respect to colour is likewise sustained as far as circumstances will allow. Thus, when inward bound, can buoys are to be left on the starboard hand, and nun, or conical buoys, on the port; the can buoys are painted red, and nun buoys black; buoys situated upon a projecting elbow of a bank, or at a turning point in the channel, are distinguished by a perch. and ball. On the buoys of every channel are painted the initial letter of the channel, with a number, the numerals being arranged in consecutive order, reckoning from seaward; thus, a can buoy, marked Q. 1, or a nun buoy Q. 1, denote respectively the outer buoys on either side of the Queen Channel, the next buoys inward being marked Q. 2, and so on for other channels. Fairway buoys bear the initial letter of their channel, and "Fy.," and have distinct characteristics of form and colour.

The numerous sands which encumber the entrance of the Mersey will be better understood by a reference to the chart than by reading the most elaborate description, in fact any attempt to convey by words correct ideas of the extent and form of these banks and the intricate channels between them would be useless; it must therefore suffice to mention them in general terms.

East Boyle bank.-West Hoyle bank, forming the west side of Helbre swatch, has been described on page 118. The east side of the swatch is formed by the East Hoyle bank, which is of a triangular form, extending 4 miles from the shore in a north-west direction, and 3 miles wide at the base, the latter lying parallel to and nearly connecting with the main shore from Helbre islands to abreast Dove beacons, forming one side of the narrow and shallow creek named Hoylake. The whole of the bank is dry at low water, and rises with some degree of regularity from all sides towards the summit, which is 24 feet above low-water springs.

Off the north-west end of the East Hoyle, a Fairway bell beacon is moored in about 7 fathoms upon the following bearings :-Crosby lighthouse, E. 1/4 N. nearly, which is also the southern limit of the light; Bidstone lighthouse a sail's breadth open east of Leasowe, S.E. southerly; H. 1 buoy, S.E. 1/2 S. 1.5 miles; Queen's channel bell beacon a little west of the Victoria Fairway buoy, N.E. 1/4 N. 4.75 miles; and Newcome black buoy, East 2 miles. The east side of the bank is marked at its outer end and along its east side by red can buoys, bearing the letter H. and numbered from 1 to 4, and along its west side by four black nun buoys HE. 1 to HE. 4 already described. The inner Hoylake side of the sand is marked by two red buoys, L. 1 and L. 2.

Mockbeggar wharf is a shelf or flat of sand fronting the shore from Dove beacons to Rock lighthouse, and having a nearly uniform breadth of about three-quarters of a mile. It is marked by six red buoys, R. 1 to R. 6; the first is placed off the Dove spit on the line of the Dove beacons; the last upon the turning point up the river, upon the east side of the Rock lighthouse.

Newcombe knoll is a detached bank, with 18 feet upon it at low water,, midway between the N.W. light-ship and the North spit of the Rock channel; a black nun buoy at its outer end, lettered K., is S.E. 1/2 S. 4 miles from the N.W. light-ship, and S.W. by S. 3/4 S. 3.5 miles from the Queen's channel bell beacon. A depth of four fathoms will be found at three-quarters of a mile outside the buoy.

Six and four feet flat, extending north-westerly from the North spit, bounds the Horse channel to the eastward; a black nun buoy with perch lettered H. 1 lies at their outer elbow.

North spit, North bank, and Brazil bank, all in connexion with the Great Burbo bank, form together the north side of Rock channel, and extend in a direction conforming somewhat to Mockbeggar wharf, on the opposite side of the channel. The North spit dries 4 feet, the North bank 15 feet, and Brazil bank 10 feet above low-water springs. They are marked by seven black buoys, R. 1 to R. 7; No. 1 buoy, lying at the west extremity of the North or Spencer's spit at the junction of Horse and Rock channels, is a bell beacon, and No. 7, at the south-east extremity of Brazil bank, where the Rock channel unites with the main stream of the Mersey, is distinguished by a perch.

Great Burbo bank, the largest of all the sands at the entrance of the Mersey, forms the south and south-west sides of Victoria and Crosby channels. Beginning as a spit of 10 feet E. by S. 1/4 S. 4.5 miles from the N.W. light-ship, it thence extends E. 1/2 S. 1.75 miles towards the Crosby channel, then S.E. for 2 miles, and afterwards S. by E. 1/2 E. for 4.5 miles, when it becomes connected with the three sands last named. A great portion of the bank has a breadth of 2.5 miles, but its edges are very irregular, from the whole bank being broken up into many distinct parts by swatchways, which are subject to changes, and are therefore unused. A mile within the outer extremity several patches dry to a height of 3 feet, and over the main body of the bank, which is generally high, are patches drying from 15 to 22 feet above low-water springs.

The north end of the Great Burbo, of which the West Middle shoal is a detached portion, and which forms the south side of Victoria channel, is marked by three red buoys V. 1 to V. 3, and the north-east and east sides of the bank bounding Crosby channel have seven red can buoys, C. 1 to C. 7; C. 3 lying at the east elbow of the bank, and near Crosby lightvessel, is distinguished by a perch.

The Great Burbo shelves out very shallow to the westward, and is there called the North Burbo flats, and an extensive spit, named Four and Three fathoms tongue, projecting for upwards of 4 miles in a westerly direction, is also connected with it.

Little Burbo bank, triangular in form, with three-quarter mile sides, and with a part of it dry at low water, is near the north-west end of the Great Burbo. Its south side, forming the north boundary of {Victoria channel, is marked by three black buoy, V. 1 to V. 3, and its north and east side, forming the south boundary of the Queen's channel, is marked by three red buoys, Q. 1 to Q. 3, the latter lying south-east of V. 3 black, and surmounted with a perch. There is also a fairway buoy leading to the Victoria channel, a black nun with a perch; it lies in about 4 fathoms E. by S. 3.5 miles from the N.W. light-ship; S. by W. 1/4 W. one mile from the Queen's Fairway bell beacon, and E. by S. 1/2 S. 1.25 miles from V. 1 black buoy.

Zebra flats, Jordan flats, and Taylor's bank, extending from abreast the Little Burbo to abreast Crosby light-vessel off the elbow of the Great Burbo, form together the north-east boundary of Queen's channel, and also of a portion of Crosby channel. Zebra flats have a general depth of 5 to 6 feet over them; Jordan flats dry from 2 to 6 feet, and Taylor's bank dries to a height of 12 feet above low-water springs. Three black buoys, Q. 1 to Q. 3, mark the south-west side of Zebra flats, and off the north side, in about 4 fathoms, is a black and white striped nun buoy with a cheese shaped top, marked Z. Fy.; it bears E. by N. 1/4 N. 4 miles nearly from the light-ship; N.E. 1/2 E. 1.25 miles from Formby N.W. buoy, and S.W. 3/4 W. 1.4 miles from the Queen's bell beacon. Along the south side of Jordan flats and Taylor's bank are three black buoys, C. 1 to C. 3, as forming the north-western bend of the Crosby channel.

Jordan Bank.-A swatchway separates the two last-named sands from Jordan bank, which is close to the eastward of Jordan flats and Taylor's bank, and dries from 2 to 10 feet. The east side, forming the west boundary of Formby channel, is marked by three red buoys, F. 1 to F. 3, the last having a perch, and lying N. by E. 1/2 E. half a mile from Crosby light vessel.

Formby spit, Mad-wharf, and Formby bank are portions of an extensive sandy flat, which projects from Formby point to abreast Crosby point, from whence it continues as abroad and regular shelf up to Liverpool docks. Formby spit extends 2.27 miles N.W. 3/4 W. from Formby N.W. mark, and bounds the north-east side of the Formby channel, in which are two buoys; a black buoy, F. 1, also lies on the south-west side of Formby spit, and another, F. 2, lies at the northern extremity of Formby bank, and serves, with the red buoy F. 3 at the south end of Jordan bank, to mark the narrow and irregular swatchway which connects Formby pool with Crosby channel. South of this swatchway the flat shore, forming the east side of Crosby channel, is marked by five black buoys, C. 4 to C. 8. The Formby channel buoys above mentioned are, the Formby N.W. Fairway, a black nun E. by N. 3/4 N. 6.75 miles from the N.W. light-ship, and the Formby sea marks in a line S.E. by E. 1/2 E.; the second or inner buoy, called the Fairway, lies 1.25 miles upon the same line of marks; it is a chequered black and white buoy, and from it F. 1 red bears south-east nearly three-quarters of a mile.

The foregoing are the principal sands encumbering the entrance to the Mersey, and having passed the Rock lighthouse, the channel up is free of shoals to the anchorage off Liverpool, its eastern boundary being the walls of the various docks, and the western boundary the flat foreshore, and the Birkenhead docks. The low-water breadth of the river decreases gradually from seven-tenths of a mile abreast New Brighton to four-fifths at Seacombe ferry.

Tides.-It is high water by the Admiralty tide tables at Formby point, at 10h. 35m. mean time at place, or 10h. 47m. Greenwich time; springs rise 24 feet, neaps 19 feet. Liverpool, 11h. 23m. mean time at place, or 11h. 35m. Greenwich; springs rise 26 feet, neaps 20.25 feet. The datum is 8 feet below the Old dock sill.

By local tide tables and charts of Liverpool, equinoctial springs are given at 33 feet, ordinary 30 feet, and neaps 23 feet. At Helbre, equinoctial springs 32 feet, ordinary 29 feet, neaps 22 feet. And on the charts published both by the Admiralty and Mersey Docks Board, the soundings are reduced to a low-water datum, 10 feet below the old docks sill.

At neap tides the time of high water in the river and bay is nearly simultaneous; at any intermediate period, the precession of tide in the bay is proportioned to the number of days before or after spring tides. During spring tides the ingoing stream in the river continues for half an hour after the tide has ceased to rise, and the outgoing for the same period after it has ceased to fall; but this interval becomes gradually less toward neap tides, when the turn of the stream and rise and fall of the tide nearly coincide. This prolonged effect of the stream can be usefully depended upon only in the river, or in the deep channels immediately connected therewith, as in the bay the conclusion of each tide is marked by various deflections of stream, to which neither the term ingoing or outgoing strictly apply. Speaking in general terms, the stream in the bay may be described as setting toward the Mersey with the flood, and from it with the ebb, noticing that at the earlier part of the flood and latter part of ebb it sets to and from the several channels through the banks; but when the banks are covered, it sets over them from all parts of the bay in lines of direction converging toward the river entrance at the Rock lighthouse.

The direction of the set of tide to and from the N.W. light-ship is, with the flood, towards the Rock lighthouse, and, with the ebb, in the opposite direction throughout each tide.

Both streams turn when the tide ceases to rise or fall, which occurs three-quarters of an hour earlier than at the Old dock at Liverpool. There being no difference in the velocity of flood and ebb, the following table will show the usual rate of the stream in springs and neaps:-
Time Rate of Springs Rate of Neaps
Hour   knots   knots
1st0.750.25
2nd1.51.0
3rd2.751.5
4th2.01.0
5th1.00.5
6th0.80.25

Hence it appears that the whole amount of the spring-tide drift in the vicinity of the light-ship does not exceed 8.5 miles, and that of the neap drift 4.5 miles. Therefore if a vessel be becalmed near the light-ship about low water, and the nearest shoal in the tide's course being the Six feet flats at the back of the Burbo, which are 6 miles distant, it will be 4 hours flood, and there will be 24 feet rise of tide before she reaches the bank; but as by high water she will have drifted on to the Burbo bank, which dries up from 10 to 15 feet along her course, she will not have more than from 15 to 20 feet of water under her, and might be placed in a position of some hazard; but during neaps, by high water a vessel would only have been drifted between the Newcome and the flats into 7 or 8 fathoms.*

* These observations were originally made with reference to a former position of the light-ship near the present Horse channel Fairway buoy, they are now made applicable, and inserted in order to illustrate the effect of a tidal drift

Near Newcombe knoll, the flood stream sets south-east for the last 4 hours, and the ebb north-west for the first four hours, the rate not exceeding 2.75 knots on springs, and 1.5 knots on neaps.

About 2 miles north of the Chester flats and the West Hoyle spit, the set of the flood stream towards the bay is 20 minutes earlier than when nearer the shore; and the ebb 30 minutes later; the velocity at springs is 3.5 knots, and at neaps 1.5.

One mile north of the Formby N.W. buoy, the direction of the stream is towards and from the Ribble and not the Mersey; a vessel should therefore guard against this influence if bound for Liverpool, as with a westerly wind she. would be hardly able to gain the entrance of the Queen's channel, and might have to anchor under unfavourable circumstances if drifting in a calm, or with a strong breeze, and heavy sea upon a lee shore.

It may be well to notice that, when navigating in the vicinity of the light-ships, in order to avoid collision, at all times it is necessary to be guarded against the effect of the current when setting toward them. From the sea channels, up to the river entrance, the rate of the current gradually increases from 2 and 3 knots an hour in the former, to 4 or 5 in the latter, and even attains, at equinoctial tides, a rate of 7 knots in the narrowest part of the river channel which is abreast the north end of Prince's dock.

In the Appendix will be found a tide table for Liverpool bay, adapted to show the height of water above low water level at any required period, and hence when the several channels may be entered, or the banks crossed.

Pilots.-The Liverpool pilots, 12 in number, cruise in vessels, sloop and schooner rigged, each vessel having the number on the mainsail.

It is compulsory upon all ships entering Liverpool to take a pilot, as in the event of refusing one when offered, pilotage rate are nevertheless levied, and in cases where a ship cannot be boarded, a pilot boat leading in is reckoned as pilot service. Off Point Lynas is the westernmost station appointed for the cruising of the Liverpool pilot boats; occasionally when driven by stress of weather they may be met with farther to the westward, and in strong easterly winds board their pilots in the shelter of Church bay to the southward of Carmel head. Two are usually on the westernmost station. They are easily distinguished from other vessels, their sides being painted from the gunwale down with a yellow, green, and yellow streak, black bends, and white to the water-line, and by their rig, either sloop or fore and aft schooner; so long as any pilots remain unboarded, they carry a large flag at the main-topmast head, the upper half white and lower red, and at night are recognized by a single bright masthead light, with an occasional flash torch. Between this and Liverpool bay four other boats are stationed, so that should this station be passed without receiving a pilot, a course may be shaped for the N.W. light-ship, constituting the fairway guide to the channels through the extensive shoals of Liverpool bay, and if the signal for a pilot be kept flying, it can rarely happen that the N.W. light-ship will be reached without being boarded.

A pilot boat is always in attendance seaward of the entrance of the various channels for the purpose of receiving pilots from outward-bound ships, and her attention should be attracted, if necessary, by showing the usual pilot signal.

In case of a ship having a pilot on board and perceiving that she is chased by a pilot boat, the fact that she has been boarded should be signified by the following signals, viz., by day, the national ensign to be hoisted for five minutes, then dipped and rehoisted every five minutes until answered by the pilot boat. By night a light to be hoisted and lowered in the same manner.

Pilots in charge of ships are responsible that they carry by night the proper regulated lights, as well for ships under weigh as for ships at anchor.

Pilots are instructed to cause the ensigns of all ships to be hoisted on entering the port. Masters of British ships are responsible for having proper ensigns, except under the special authority of the Admiralty. The only proper ensign is the red ensign with the union jack in the upper canton. Any departure from this renders the master liable, on the prosecution of the informant, to a penalty not exceeding 500 pounds. It is sometimes erroneously supposed that by adding a border to other ensigns, and thus varying them from those used by Her Majesty's ships, the penalty is evaded, but such is not the case, as the wording of the law is precise that none other than red ensigns shall be worn, and that the use of any ensign or pendant resembling or appearing to resemble those appropriated to Her Majesty's ships shall render the master and owner liable to prosecution.

Pilots in charge of ships outward bound are required to conduct them, according to the channel they take, either to the N.W. buoy of the Horse channel, the Queen or Victoria channel fairway buoys, or the Formby N.W. buoy, and in case of a pilot quitting the ship against the master's consent, and without fulfilling this obligation, all pilotage money which otherwise would have been due becomes forfeited.

The pilot service of the port of Liverpool is under the control of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board.

Complaints and reports of alleged misconduct on the part of the pilots must be made in writing, signed by the complaining party, and sent to the superintendent of pilotage, or left at the office, south side of Princes dock.

There is a large fleet of steam tugs, about 100 in number, to be distinguished only by being paddle wheel, and an uniform rig of one mast.

Life-boats are maintained at various parts of the coast bounding the entrance of the Mersey; namely, at the Point of Air, two; at Helbre island, one; at Hoylake, one; at Formby point, one; and at the Princes stage, Liverpool, two. Besides which, the National Institution have a station with two boats at New Brighton, one of which is tubular; there are also belts and lines at Hoylake and Waterloo. The boats have all been placed since 1840, and are manned by picked fishermen residing near the several stations. All masters and others in charge of vessels entering or quitting the port of Liverpool, requiring the assistance of life-boats belonging to the Dock trustees, either for the preservation of life or other purposes, are requested to hoist the distress signal, in order that the boats may be dispatched as soon as possible.

From the foregoing description it will be understood that the lights, buoys, and beacons for the navigation of the Mersey are so complete that any intelligent seaman if overtaken by a gale, and unable to procure a pilot, may ran for whichever channel appears most eligible, provided the marks can be discerned, but thick weather is very prevalent in Liverpool bay, specially during westerly winds, and the smoke of the town effectually obscures objects with off-shore winds. The caution, therefore, naturally presents itself that the port should never be attempted without a pilot, except in cases of emergency, when vigilance and a careful attention to the following directions would be absolutely necessary.

Horse And Rock Channels conduct by one long bending reach into the Mersey, which channel, passing between East Hoyle bank and Mockbeggar wharf on one side, and the Six-and-Four-feet flats, North spit and North and Brazil banks on the other side, leads from the Fairway Bell buoy to Rock lighthouse. The Horse channel begins about 3 miles from the light-ship, and extends to the North spit, or to the line of the Hoylake lighthouses in one; its whole length being from the Fairway buoy 4.75 miles. Advancing inwards from the Fairway to between the East Hoyle bank and the Eastern flats, the soundings are from 7 to 5 and 6 fathoms at the narrowest part of the channel, which is abreast the black perch buoy, which marks the elbow of the Six-and-Four feet flats, where it is a quarter of a mile wide; it afterwards maintains an average breadth between the 9 feet lines of about 3 cables up to the Spencer buoy, but the depths are only from 3.5 to 4 fathoms in the centre. The steep edge of the East Hoyle is marked by four red buoys, the outer one, or No. 1, carrying a perch.

The Rock channel, as the inner reach is called, is bounded by the flat from the main on the south side, which dries out three-quarters of a mile at the Dove spit at the east entrance to Hoylake; abreast Leasowe castle and Wallasey Sand-hills, the breadth is half a mile. Six red can buoys mark the southern side of the channel, and one Bell beacon and six black nun buoys mark its northern side. The general direction of the channel is about E. 1/4 N.; it is rather more than a quarter of a mile wide at Dove spit, and continues with nearly the same width to the black buoy R. 4, with a central depth of from 4 to 1.75 fathoms. It then becomes rapidly contracted, and for a mile to the westward of Rock lighthouse the passage is very narrow and tortuous, and the bank approaches to within half a cable's length of the flat from the main; for the distance of half a mile it may be considered a bar, through which at low-water springs is a narrow channel, named Rock gut, which has in some parts not more than half a foot water.

Tides.-In the Horse and Rock channels the first half of the flood and last half of the ebb sot fairly in and out, but after half flood, when the banks become covered, and before half ebb as they become uncovered, the tides set obliquely across the North spit, in a direction to and for the Rock lighthouse.

Directions, by Day: Being near the N. W. light-ship, and having the land objects distinct, run in for the Fairway bell beacon, and onward from thence with Bidston lighthouse open it apparent breadth to the eastward of Leasowe lighthouse, S.E.; passing near a cable's length to the eastward of the three red buoys H. 1 (with a perch), H. 2, and H. 3. When Hoylake high lighthouse has been brought to bear South, or when the vessel is about midway between buoy H. 3 and the perch buoy of the flats, haul promptly to the southward and make a South course until Bidston lighthouse appears twice its breadth open to the southward of Leasowe lighthouse, S.E. 1/4 E.; then steer on a direct line for Bidston lighthouse until the Hoylake lighthouse are in line, which will lead to a position l.5 cables to the south-west of Spencers buoy.

It is to be regretted that the Horse channel has become tortuous from the continued increase of the elbow of the East Hoyle to the eastward, and of the Six-and-Four feet flats to the westward, so that the lights which were placed to lead in a direct course through, will no longer answer that purpose.

To vessels working in, the Newcombe knoll is in the approach to Horse channel; those of moderate draft may pass close to the westward of the buoy, but the lead would not give sufficient warning on its north side to heavy vessels. Kirby church, a quarter point open to the westward of Hoylake hotel bearing South, leads only a quarter mile to the westward of the buoy in 3.5 fathoms at low water, and Bidston lighthouse in line with Leasowe castle. S.S.E. 1/4 E., leads midway between the knoll and Burbo flats in 4 fathoms, and outside the general tread of the flats.

Entering Rock channel, and being a cable's length to the southward of Spencers buoy, steer E. by S. 1/2 S. for three-quarters of a mile, or to abreast of R. 2 red, when Bidston lighthouse will again be open its own breadth to the eastward of Leasowe lighthouse, S.E. 1/4 S., and the chimney of Bootle waterworks (which is generally smoking) will be in line with the south side of Rock fort, E. 3/4 S. From this position steer E. 1/4 N. for upwards of 3 miles to the Rock gut, commencing from a little east of R. 5 red buoy, having passed Nos. 3 and 4 about half a cable on the north side.

In scant winds, and with the weather too hazy to admit of the marks being distinctly seen, the lead will give due warning when standing towards the Six-and-Four feet flats, but it must not be trusted on the other side when approaching the steep edge of East Hoyle bank. In the Rock channel also the way may be safely felt by the lead along the southern flat, but it is of little avail when standing towards the abrupt edge of the northern banks.

A vessel having arrived above Leasowe light, and the tide not having flowed enough to allow of her passing through Rock gut into the Mersey, may anchor in Leasowe hole just to the south-west of black buoy R. 3, where there is 13 feet at low water, or she may go farther in to Wallasey hole, which is between the black buoys R. 4 and R. 5, where the depth is from 24 to 1S feet at low water, but the available width is little more than a cable's length. Not many years ago the largest ships belonging to Liverpool could proceed to sea from these roadsteads at low water, but now vessels.ls drawing 18 feet cannot proceed outwards from them before first quarter flood.

Rock Gut is, as before observed, narrow, and great caution is necessary in using it, lest in avoiding the steep edge of Brazil bank, the vessel approach the southern flat too closely, and trail upon the ridge of shingle which stretches from the Rock lighthouse parallel to the shore for fully a mile to the westward. It is also necessary in rounding Rock lighthouse to beware of the rocky ledge which projects from it for a cable's length to the north-eastward, and also of the steep sandy elbow within it, named the Ripraps, which is marked by red buoy R. 6.

It has been mentioned in the description of Rock lighthouse that a black ball hoisted by the side of the lantern denotes a depth of 11 feet through the Rock gut, and that the same depth at night is indicated by a light from the lower chamber of the lighthouse. At half-tide, a depth of 15 feet will generally be found in the passage.

Being in a position in Wallasey hole, about midway between the black and red buoys, R. 6, continue the course E. 1/4 N. as before for a quarter of a mile, when steer for Bootle chimney, E. by S. 1/2 S., which will then be a little south of the black perch buoy, R. 7 and R. 6; keep on this line until near R. 6, and then steering S.E., pass the Rock lighthouse about half a cable off and out round R. 6 red buoy; abreast of which the water quickly deepens to 6 and 7 fathoms in the main channel of the Mersey.

Anchorages,- The anchorage to be taken up must depend on the vessel's destination. If bound to the docks, she should anchor as soon as possible after the Ripraps, or R. 6 buoy, has been rounded, between Egremont and New Brighton in about mid-channel off a sandy shelf, which is much resorted to as an anchorage and beaching ground for small crafts; but if intending to proceed to Sloyne road,* on the Quarantine ground, the chart will be the best guide. It must, however, always be borne in mind in reference to anchorage, that abreast Rock lighthouse, the stream at springs runs at the rate of 4 knots, and in Sloyne road rather more than 5 knots, per hour. A good scope of cable should be given, and a second anchor ready for letting go, care being taken to sheer clear of the anchor when swinging; and at night to exhibit the proper anchorage lights.

* The question has been discussed as to the necessity of guarding against accident to the numerous lives that cross to and fro between Liverpool and Birkenhead in the ferry steamers by interdicting anchorage in this part of the river which includes the track of the Woodside boats; and the pilots are under instructions to refrain from the choice of that anchorage, whenever the prudent management of the ship will permit.

By Night.-It would be the height of rashness in a stranger to attempt the Horse and Rock channels by night without a pilot, unless under circumstances that would admit of no alternative; in which case, the following directions will avail the intelligent seaman, provided he can depend on the steerage of his vessel.

The first step to be taken will be to endeavour to identify with certainty the various beacon lights; for there are many other lights in and about Liverpool, as well as from the smelting furnaces about the Dee, which tend to perplex the seamen. This point having been established, and the position of his vessel determined, he should then inform himself as to the actual state of the tide and depth in the channels by a reference to the table in the Appendix, so that he may be able to verify his position at each cast of the lead.

Proceeding thus cautiously, close the N.W. light-ship, and steer from her for the Fairway bell beacon, S. by E., allowing for tidal set, until Bidston light is about one degree to the left or eastward of Leasowe light, S.E., in order to clear the elbow of the East Hoyle. The position of the Fairway bell beacon will be more readily identified by remembering that it is on the southern limit of the visibility of the Crosby light; also that it is within that of the red cut of the light of the Great Ormes head. Hoylake upper light will first appear on a S. by E. 1/2 E. bearing, when the vessel has arrived between H. 1 and 2 buoys marking East Hoyle, but the S.E. course must be continued until Hoylake lower light appears bearing South, when the vessel's head must immediately be turned towards that light, so as to avoid the Six-feet flats. Bidston light will speedily close with and cross that of Leasowe, and must be opened a degree and a half to the southward of it in order to give a sufficient berth to the buoy of the flats. Now steer towards Bidston and Leasowe lights, keeping them in the same relative positions until Hoylake lights have been brought in line S.W. by S. 1/4 S., when, if before half-flood, the vessel may safely anchor till a pilot be obtained; but if at a later period of the tide, she may proceed into the Rock channel, and take up a berth more protected from the swell.

If desirous of proceeding on instead of taking up an anchorage when Hoylake lights appear in line, then alter course to E. by S. 1/2 S. for three-quarters of a mile, then E. 1/4 N., until Leasowe light disappears suddenly on a S.W. 3/4 S. bearing. The vessel will then be a little past the West Wharf red buoy R. 3, and if dependance can be placed on her answering her helm quickly, the surrounding objects be tolerably distinct, and the master has sufficient confidence in himself, he most continue on the some course of E. 1/4 N. until Bidston light in like manner disappears, bearing S. by W. 1/2 W. He will then be abreast East Wharf, and approaching the red buoy R. 5; from whence the vessel must be rounded to an E. by S. 1/2 S. course for the black buoy R. 6, and from thence pass out 1.5 cables to the northward of Rock light. Shoot well into the stream of the Mersey till Rock light bears W. by S., when, heading South for a convenient berth, anchor with Rock light about N.N.W. in 10 fathoms. It must, however, be remembered, that the holding-ground is treacherous, and that there is a weighty and rapid tide towards and during springs.

Should it blow so hard from the northward in the morning as to render the berth unsafe, and to prevent a pilot getting on board, it will be prudent to slip, that is, if it be not practicable to wait for low water to weigh, and run up to the sheltered anchorage and excellent holding-ground of Sloyne road, one-third of a mile S. 1/2 E. from Birkenhead ferry.

Hoylake or Hoylelake, once a roadstead of great resort, and where William III. landed in 1690, and latterly the resort of pilot boats and small coasters, is now only available at high water as an anchorage for a few fishing craft, or as a good refuge for vessels having parted their anchors; it is but a narrow gut, and only now affords a low-water depth of from 7 feet a little west of L. 1 buoy, to 3 off the church, and the former entrance from the westward is entirely closed up.

At the eastern end of the lake, on the south-eastern elbow of the East Hoyle, nearly on a line of the Dove beacons, is Jacksons buoy, a red nun, and marked L. 1, and another red buoy, L. 2, is on the southern edge of East Hoyle bank, half a mile from buoy L. 1.

Directions.-The eastern entrance to Hoylake has a depth of 7 feet at two hours' flood. To enter it from the Horse or Rock channel great care is necessary to guard against running on the high part of the Dove spit, which is very dangerous; leave R. 1 red can buoy on the port-hand, and keeping the northern of the Dove marks just open to the eastward of tho southern one, steer for the easternmost of the Hoylake buoys L. 1, leave it close upon the starboard hand, and if intending to beach steer along shore for three-quarters of a mile to the next red buoy, L. 2, and the farther you can reach towards the Hoylake lower light the smoother will be the water.

Queens and Crosby Channels. Up to a very recent period, Victoria channel, was a principal passage into the Mersey both by day and night, but it has for some time been undergoing changes, and as it became more indirect and tortuous the Queens channel improved in proportion; consequently, Formby light-vessel has been shifted from her old position in the line of Victoria channel, and established as a night mark for leading through Queens channel, thus rendering the latter the only safe night channel, whilst it is at the same time the best day passage under most conditions of wind and weather (see note below).

As, with Crosby channel, the Queens is now the principal passage into the Mersey; it will be first described, although it is somewhat out of the order of progressive description.

In the fairway of Queens channel, and more than half a mile Outside the bar, is a large black bell beacon buoy marked Q. Fy., and of a rather peculiar form, consisting of a circular platform or base, supporting a pillar 20 feet above the level of low water. On the summit of the pillar is a framework, in which is suspended a bell and clappers, the latter kept in action by the rocking motion of the buoy, the whole surmounted by a ball, the total height being 30 feet; the beacon can be seen in clear weather from 7 to 8 miles off, and the bell heard, when the wind is moderate, at a distance of half a mile. It lies E. 1/4 N., 3.5 miles from the N.W. light-ship, one mile north-west of the Queens channel bar, with Formby light-vessel in line with Crosby shore light, S.E. by E. 1/2 E., and is moored in 6.5 fathoms at low water.

Queen channel is between Little Burbo bank to the south-westward and Zebra and Jordan' flats to the north-eastward; and at its entrance, the bar connecting the outer portions of these dangers, has an average depth of 11 feet over it at low water. This bar is about one-fifth of a mile wide, and the passage over and within it up to Formby light-vessel is marked by three red can buoys upon the south-western side, and by three black nun buoys on the northern side, as already described. The two outer buoys, which are two-thirds of a mile apart, and mark the width of the passage over the bar, bear respectively S.E., six-tenths of a mile, and N.E. by E. 3/4 E., two thirds of a mile from the Queens fairway beacon; while Formby lightvessel is rather more than one and a half miles from the latter of the two.*

Note. - It should be carefully noticed that the line of lights instead of leading midchannel, as formerly, now forms the clearing mark for the north side of the Little Burbo bank.

* By a recent examination of this channel (July 1869) the Little Burbo is extending slightly to the northward, and the buoys Q 1 and 2 will be shifted nearer towards the leading mark. Also the buoys C 2 and 3 in the Crosby channel will be moved a little towards the north-east as the patches are spreading towards the channel in that direction. junction of Victoria and Queens channels, South four cables. Within the light-vessel, the lower reach of Crosby channel is marked by the three red can buoys (No. 3 with a.perch) on the south-wast side, and by four black nun buoys on the north-east side. This portion of the channel is direct, and has an average depth of 5 to 7 fathoms in it at low water, while in no part of it is the width less than half a mile.

Queens channel ends, and the lower reach of Crosby channel begins, at Formby light-vessel, which is moored in 40 feet at low water; from her Crosby lighthouse is open to the northward of Crosby beacon, S.E. by E. 3/4 E.; Crosby light-vessel is S.E. 1/2 E., nearly 2.5 miles; the black buoy C. 1 at the north-west spit of Taylors bank, E. by S., half a mile; the red buoy C. 1 eastward of the West Middle shoal (a projection from Great Burbo bank), S.E. by S. 1/4 S., above a mile; and the red perch buoy V. 3 upon the north-east spit of the West Middle shoal, and at the junction of the Victoria and Queens Channels, South four cables. Within the light-vessel, the lower reach of Crosby Channel is marked by three red can buoys (No. 3 with a perch) on the south-west side, and by four black nun buoys on the north-east side. This portion of the channel is direct and has an average depth of 5 to 7 fathoms in it at low water, while in no part of it is the width less than half a mile.

Crosby light-vessel, moored at the north-east bend of Crosby channel, opposite the north-eastern elbow of Great Burbo bank, is in 7 fathoms at low water, and lies with Rock lighthouse bearing, S. by E., 4.75 miles; Crosby lighthouse,E 1/2 S., 2.1 miles; also the black nun buoy C. 5 at the south end of Formby bank, S.E. by S., 1.25 miles; the red can buoy C. 4 on the edge of Great Burbo bank, S. 1/4 W., 1.25 miles; and the red can buoy C. 3 with a perch, S.W. 1/4 S., half a mile. Within the light-vessel, Crosby channel which is direct to abreast Rock lighthouse, is marked on the western side by the red can buoys C. 4 to C. 7, and also by the black nun with a perch, R. 7, at the outlet of Rock gut; and on the eastern side by the three black nun buoys C. 5 to C. 8. The least water in the sailing reach through it is 25 feet at low-water springs, but the average depths are 5 to 7 fathoms, while it possesses a width of fully three-quarters of a mile in every part.

From the foregoing description it will be understood that in Queens and Crosby channels collectively there are only three courses, namely, from the Queens fairway buoy to Formby light-vessel, S.E. by E. 3/4 E.; from thence to Crosby light-vessel, S.E. 1/4 E,; and, lastly, from Crosby lightvessel to abreast Rock lighthouse, S. by E. 1/2 E.

Directions.-By Day.-It was remarked in the description of Great Burbo bank that an extensive tongue projected from it to the north-westward. Six fathoms upon the outer end of this tongue is 4 miles to the westward of the Bell beacon, and within half a mile south of the N.W. light-ship. The general low-water depth of this spit is 3.5 and 4.5 fathoms, with a small patch of 3 fathoms over it, causing, in strong westerly winds, during the ebb tide a short cross sea, which small vessels will do well to avoid. For this purpose, while approaching Queen channel, do not open Crosby lighthouse to the southward of Formby light-vessel, or bring either of these objects to the eastward of S.E. by E. 3/4 E. while the vessel is approaching them. Should the weather be too hazy to admit of objects being discerned, then the soundings will prove an useful guide, for in the fairway the depths decrease. from 8 to 6 fathoms, and the bottom is mud, whereas the tongue is of sand, with less depths over it.

Having arrived near the Queens fairway beacon, pass it on the starboard hand, and proceed towards the bar with Crosby shore lighthouse open a little to the northward of Formby, light-vessel; at a distance of half a mile the ship will be between the two bar buoys, Q. 1, black and red, and over the steep edge of the 11-feet bar; in another quarter mile the water will have deepened 3 feet, and when advanced to between the buoys Q 2 it will have deepened 7 feet. At Formby light-vessel the depth will be 40 feet. She may be passed on either side, but the track to the southward will be generally the best, as it is more direct, and has greater width. From the necessity of mooring Formby light-vessel with a long scope of chain, she makes a circuit of about 30 fathoms across in swinging, and though this fact is not of present importance, on account of the ample breadth of Queens channel at the bar, it should be kept in remembrance, in case of any future tendency towards a decrease of width.

The Zebra flats, forming the north-eastern boundary of the bar, being very low, a vessel in scant easterly winds, without a pilot or steam tug, may make free with it, instead of confining herself to short boards within the limits of Queens channel, that is, if the tide be near half flood or has flowed sufficiently for the required draught.

Bidston lighthouse, in line with Formby light-vessel, S. 1/2 E., clears Jordan flats in 5 feet at low water, and marks the limit to which a vessel may stand in crossing the flat into Queens channel, and toward Formby light-vessel. It must, however, be remembered that 5 feet less depth will be found in this track than in that over the bar of Queens channel.

From Formby light-vessel make good a S.E. 1/4 E. course for 2.5 miles to Crosby light-vessel, passing her on either hide, as most convenient, and then a S. by E. 1/2 E. course for 5 miles will lead to abreast Rock lighthouse and into the Mersey. Burbo bank, which dries from 17 to 22 feet above low-water springs, generally shows itself, but in the event of its being covered, and the buoys not watching, an excellent leading mark for clearing the Burbo bank will be the gothic tower of St. Nicholas church (near Liverpool docks) in line with Bock light-house, bearing S. by E. 1/3 E. Vessels working in with the flood should also keep to the eastward of this line. It is, however, too close a mark for vessels proceeding out with light winds during the ebb, as the stream sets strongly through the swatchways of Great Burbo bank for some time after high water, and the same oblique set is felt in a degree during the whole of the ebb near the edge of the sand, especially opposite the openings abreast the red buoys C. 6, C. 5, and C. 4.

When the Rock lighthouse has been passed the instructions for anchoring given on page 148 must be followed.

If a crippled ship should have entered Crosby channel it may be useful to know that she may beach in comparative safety on tolerably soft ground off the south end of Waterloo terrace, where she will probably beat up close to high-water mark, and be partially protected by a ridge, the surface of which is above high water of neap tides, whereas on the shore to the northward she would be exposed to a heavy and destructive surf.

By night, in a Gale.-Should a stranger be compelled to find his way through Queen and Crosby channels at night during a north-west gale, he will have to depend altogether upon the relative positions of the lights, for he cannot expect to see either beacons or buoys. In such a case he should use every exertion to hang off until such time as he is satisfied, after reference to the Tide Table in the Appendix, that there is sufficient depth over the bar for the draught of his vessel, allowing five or six feet for the send of the sea. If it be practicable, he should endeavour to keep the offing till two-thirds flood, for with the great rise of tide in Liverpool bay be may at that time sail over many of the sands, especially those bounding the bar, which are low, having 5 to 6 feet over them at low water. The lights used for the bar must also be clearly distinguished, Formby floating light red, and Crosby shore light, which is white and fixed,. and will appear more elevated than the former. When these lights have been recognized, open the Crosby and to the north of Formby light, and steer in as before. The safely of the vessel will now principally depend on the self-possession of the commander, the vessel being under well trimmed and manageable storm canvas, and in the hands of an experienced and vigilant helmsman. Probably not a single cast of the lead could be made sure of, flying, as the vessel would be, on a succession of crested seas; nevertheless, the lead should be kept constantly going. Avoid striking the large and massive fairway beacon buoy, which lies in the track; remembering, however, that under the circumstances of darkness, storm, and, perhaps difficult steerage, great caution will be necessary, so as not to open the lights too much in your endeavour to clear it. The sea running in a more regular trough will be the first indication of the vessel being within the bar, and as the distance from thence to Formby light-vessel is little over a mile, it will be necessary to be prompt with the port helm, so as to pass to the southward of her, and then to alter course quickly to S.E. 1/2 E. for Crosby floating fixed lights. Steer as nearly as practicable in the line between the two light-vessels, for though the channel is one-third mile wide, it admits of but little licence in yawing. Pass Crosby light-vessel on either side, and then alter course to about S. by E. 1/2 E., or S. by E. 1/4 E. This latter course, which will bring the revolving red and white light at the Rock over the starboard cat-head, will have to be continued for 5 miles nearly, when the Rock light will be on the starboard beam, and less than half a mile distant; then haul towards the western shore, take the canvas in, and anchor as far to windward as the draught of the vessel, taken in connexion with the rise and fall of the tide, will allow of. Give plenty of cable, and if necessary let go another anchor; for the ground is loose, the bank is steep, and the tide streams are rapid.

Tides-From Formby light-vessel the flood stream sets about S.S.E., except during the first quarter, when it runs about S.E. The ebb sets N. by W. 1/4 W. towards Formby light-vessel.

General remarks.-It has been observed that there are only two lighted passages into the Mersey for night navigation, namely, by the Horse and Rock channels, and by Queens and Crosby channels, and the directions which have been given are, it is to be hoped, so plain that they would effectually aid a stranger unable to procure a pilot in finding refuge through either passage if circumstances should render his keeping at sea impossible. But in this perilous situation, aggravated perhaps by darkness, squalls, and driving showers of sleet or snow, the seaman may have but little time to make his choice, and a few remarks will, therefore, now be offered as to the principal advantages and risks of both passages, it being of course assumed that he will be thoroughly aware as to how far he can depend upon his vessel, whether she be one likely to broach-to with a heavy quarterly sea, or whether he can safely rely on her promptly answering the helm.

Queens channel is obviously the most eligible in moderate and clear weather, when all the lights can be seen at night, and the buoys by day; but, on the other hand, in strong westerly gales, the whole force of the swell rushing into its entrance produces a tremendous breaking sea, attended by a treacherous undertow, which recoils from the steep face of the bar. In such circumstances, the best handled vessel might broach to, or a passing shower might conceal one of the leading lights for a few minutes, and that in a channel too narrow to admit of much deviation from a direct course. In either case the risk would be imminent of being swept upon one of the banks, which are between 4 and 5 miles from the nearest land, and where, should the vessel hold together until daylight, and her situation be observed, she would be directly to windward of the life-boats, and precluded from receiving any assistance. The N.W. light-ship on the contrary, is equally close and in the fairway of the Horse and Rock channels; the depth of water is at the least 9 feet more, and where, as the sea is not so turbulent, there is less risk of broaching to. The channel is narrow, yet the weight of the sea will have somewhat diminished before the vessel enters it, and when abreast the Spencers buoy, even if the Rock light should be obscured by a sudden shower, and that the vessel should be stranded as a consequence, she will be within less than a mile of a shore where a look-out is always kept up from the lighthouses, and where, at both ends of the channel, life-boats are always held in readiness for launching.

In the bight of the Hoyle between H. 4 red, and Spencers bell beacon, there is good anchorage over a bottom of mud and sand, and tolerably smooth water until the banks are covered, when a heavy sea will roll in, and if the vessel will not fetch through the rock channel every precaution will be required to ride it out, and should beaching be the alternative, the farther to windward of the Hoylake entrance a berth has been taken up the better.

It was mentioned on p. 147 that the Horse and Rock channels are undergoing change, and should they eventually become more shallow and intricate than they are at present, the preference here given to them will no longer hold good.

Victoria channel is only to be used as a day passage. It is formed between Little Burbo bank, and the north-west extremity of Great Burbo; the flat connecting the outer part of these sands and stretching across the entrance of the Victoria channel has 17 feet over it at low-water springs, but only from 10 to 12 feet at the inner end or bar, between buoys V. 3 and Q. 3, and 18 feet at the first quarter of flood.

The Fairway buoy, V. Fy., moored in 22 feet rather more than half a mile outside Victoria bar, is a large black nun with perch. From it the N.W. light-ship bears W. by N. nearly, 3.5 miles; Queens Fairway bell beacon N. by E. 1/4 E., nearly a mile; Crosby lighthouse appears just open to the southward of Crosby beacon, E. by S. .1/2 S.; and the Horse channel Fairway bell beacon nearly S.W. 1/2 W. 3.75 miles.

Victoria channel, which extends with a curved form in a general E.S.E. direction, is marked on the south-west, or Great Burbo side, by four red can buoys, V. 1 to V. 3 and Q. 3 with perch, and on the north-east by three black nun buoys, V. 1 to V. 3. The width of the channel at the entrance is a quarter of a mile, but over the bar within, at its junction with the Crosby channel it diminishes to two cables.

Directions.-From the south side of the Fairway buoy proceed in on an E. by S. 3/4 S. bearing for 1.5 miles, or until between buoys V. 1 and "V. 2, black and red, then alter course to East little northerly for three quarters of a mile, then N.E. by E. 1/2 E. for the Crosby channel, over the bar between the buoy V. 3 black, and Q. 3 red, with a perch. Having entered the lower reach of Crosby channel by either of these passages, then proceed as directed on page 153.

Formby Channel-Formby old channel was formerly used as the general northern approach to the Mersey, but it is now seldom entered except by coasters. It is a narrow passage or gut bounded on the eastern side by the great sandy spit or flat off Formby point called Mad wharf, which dries out more than a mile from the sand-hills, and then under the name of Formby spit continue as a shallow bank for 2.5 miles farther to the north-westward. From this spit the shoal water boundary trends easterly towards the mouth of the Ribble, and south-westerly towards the Bell beacon. The channel is contained between Jordan bank and the shallow water from it to the south-westward, and Formby spit and the Mad wharf to the north-eastward. The inner portion of the channel, between the high part of the banks, and named Formby pool, ends abreast of the life-boat house and flag-staff in a line; but a narrow swatchway between the latter sand and Jordan bank, named Formby deep, connects the pool with Crosby channel.

On the outer edge of the flat and in the seaward approach to Formby channel, lies a large black nun buoy lettered F. N.W., and known as the North-west buoy, in 28 feet at low water, N.E. 3/4 E., nearly 3 miles from the Queens bell beacon, in a line with the Zebra buoy, and with Formby N.W. marks in line, S.E. by E. 1/2 E. One mile farther in on the same line is the Fairway buoy, a chequered black and white nun marked F.Fy., lying upon the flat in 16 feet at low water, and exactly in the middle of the entrance of the channel. The south-western side of the channel, formed by the steep edge of Jordan and Taylors bank, is marked by three red can buoys, F. 1 to F. 3, the latter with a perch, lying south of the bar of 4 and 6 feet, between Fromby deep and Crosby channel. On the eastern side of the channel, half a mile within the red buoy F. 1, is a black nun buoy F. 1, called Formby point buoy; it marks the steep edge of the Mad wharf. The channel here is about 1.5 cables wide, increasing to 2 cables into the pool. The north-east entrance of Formby deep is marked by the black nun buoy F. 2 at the edge of Formby bank beyond the pool.

Directions.-In running in from the N.W. buoy, with Formby north-west marks in line, S.E. by E. 1/2 E. the water will gradually shoal from 4 to 3 fathoms, and then to 16 feet at the Fairway buoy, which, having been passed, the depths will again increase to 3 and 4 fathoms over a muddy bottom. Sail with the marks in line for four-tenths of a mile within the Fairway buoy, and then S.E. by S. 1/4 S. between the black and the red buoys marking the channel, and from the Point buoy S. by E. 1/2 E. into the pool. The water here is generally smooth when the tide is out, and anchorage may be taken up a little to the eastward of the red can buoy F. 2, in 5 fathoms at low water. After half flood a vessel may proceed from the pool into Crosby channel through the deep (which is, however, narrow, crooked, and shallow) by passing close to the westward of the black nun buoy F. 2, and to the eastward of the red can buoy with a perch F. 3 for Crosby light-vessel.

Should the buoys at the entrance of and in Formby old channel be adrift, or obscured by breakers, keep Formby North-west marks in line S.E. by E. 1/2 E. as before, and run in until Everton church appears only a little open of Crosby point, S. by E. 1/2 E.; the latter mark will then lead through the channel, and to an anchorage near the red can buoy F. 2 as before.

A vessel having been drifted so far to leeward by westerly gales as to be unable to weather the flats or fetch into any of the other channels, may, by attention to the above marks, avoid the danger of the Ribble banks, and obtain the shelter of Formby pool, where the anchorage is good, but rather rough towards high water when the banks to the westward are covered. Vessels also in the last stage of distress running into this passage will be within reach of the life-boat stationed at Formby point, where, as well as at Crosby lighthouse, a good-look out is kept, and a blue flag hoisted immediately a vessel is perceived to be in distress. At night Crosby light is so marked as not to show when to the north-eastward of the bearing S.E. by S. 3/4 S.; whenever, therefore, the light is seen by a vessel outside Formby spit she must be to the westward of the line of Mad wharf sands, and if she approach the light, keeping it in view on that bearing, she will pass over Formby spit where it has a low water depth of 12 feet, and into Formby channel close to the westward of the black nun buoy F. 1. When within this buoy a more southerly course must be kept towards the pool so as to avoid the flat.

Caution.-If loosing sight of Crosby light on a clear night by a vessel 5 or 6 miles to the northward it should admonish her that she is too far to the eastward, and exposed to the dangerous indraught of the estuary of the Ribble.

Liverpool-This parliamentary borough and seaport is situated on the east side of the estuary of the Mersey, and is distant by railway from Birmingham, 134 miles; Bristol, 188; Edinburgh, 197.5; Glasgow, 201; Hull, 130; Lancaster, 49: Leeds, 75; London, 201; Manchester, 31.5; and York, 104. Also by sea, 156 miles from Belfast; 300 from Cork; 138 from Dublin; 3,048 miles from New York, and from Quebec, 2,634 miles.

The town occupies the slope of a moderately rising ground from about 2 miles within the river, the principal elevation being Everton hill at the north, 230 feet, and Edgehill upon the south, 210 feet above high water. From the latter three tunnels are cut through the red sandstone communicating from the Edgehill station with the central terminus of the railway at Lime Street, and with the docks at Wapping, and northward, to the Waterloo road and docks. Liverpool has many handsome public buildings, such as the custom house, town hall, railway station, markets, and several churches, but the largest and most imposing erection is St. George's hall, in which, besides the necessary courts for the assizes, are large halls for festivals and other public meetings.

The docks are, however, the most magnificent structures in a commercial port, and at this date occupy above 4 miles along the river surface, with an extension of the wall for a mile farther north reserved for like purposes. The first dock was opened in 1720, and comprised an area of 3 acres 1,890 yards, with a quay space of 557 lineal yards; the Salthouse and St. George's succeeded in 1753 and 1771; since which date the importance of the port has made such rapid progress as from time to time necessitated the construction of enlarged shipping accommodation, which has resulted in their present magnitude. The first, or Old dock, was filled up in 1831; and they now number 30 principal ones entered by gates, besides open basins, the whole comprising a water area of 254 acres 3,633 yards, and a linear quay space of 18 miles 394 yards; there are also 18 graving docks and two gridirons for the repair of shipping.* Two batteries command the entrance of the river, one at the west point near the Rock lighthouse, the other near the Canada dock upon the north-east shore.

* For the detailed list of names and dimensions see Appendix, p. 265.

Landing stages: Off the Princes and Georges piers are two floating. landing stages, 1,002 and 505 feet long; there is also a smaller one at the south end of the town near Harrington docks; they are connected with the dock walls by seven bridges, and the two first have at all times deep water alongside.

Dock Arrangements for trade, and Signals.-It may be of service to vessels entering the Mersey, and in reference to the anchorage the master may take up, to be informed that for the convenience of traffic special facilities are afforded for certain trades in particular docks. Thus, quays in the Brunswick, Huskisson, and Canada docks are especially adapted to the landing of timber, and according to general practice these docks may be said to comprise the timber trade. Warehouses, under the management of the Dock Board, are attached to the Wapping, Albert, and Stanley docks; these, therefore, afford peculiar facilities for imports requiring immediate warehouse protection. Corn warehouses are established at the Waterloo dock, Liverpool, and in the Birkenhead East Float. The Clarence half-tide, Clarence, Trafalgar, and Collingwood docks are devoted to steamers in the coasting trade, and the Huskisson, Nelson, and Wellington to foreign-going steamers. These appropriations are subject to the discretion of the Board, and to such arrangements as may from time to time be deemed requisite for the general convenience of trade.

A flag, blue and red, is kept flying on the pierhead at the entrance of each dock, to signify that vessels may not enter; the lowering of the flag implies permission to enter, and while down the dock is open to all comers. The dock gates open at about two hours before high water, and close at the turn of tide; if the flag is kept flying when the gates are observed to be open, it implies that the dock is full.

Correcting Compasses, time Gun.-In the Mersey two special conveniences are provided for the practical purposes of navigation - 1st, the Liverpool dock walls are marked with figures denoting the number of degrees from the magnetic north of the bearing of the Vauxhall iron works chimney, the highest chimney in Liverpool. These marks are visible from all parts of the anchorage, except in the extreme north or south, and whichever one happens to be intersected by the line of bearing of the chimney, signifies to the observer the angle from the magnetic north of the line of bearing; this compared with the compass bearing at once indicates the error of the compass, and by watching the bearing with the swinging of the ship, a table of deviation from every point of the compass through which the ship's head passes may be readily framed.
Secondly. On the pier of the Morpeth dock at Birkenhead, a little north of Woodside landing stage, a gun is stationed, which is fired every day at 1 o'clock p.m. by electricity, the time being regulated from the observatory, from true Greenwich time; and this is accomplished with such accuracy that the variation is never more than three or four tenths of a second from the true Greenwich time. Therefore the flash of the gun may be reckoned upon as a thoroughly reliable means of testing the rates of chronometers, if a ship happens to be detained for a few days in the river.

Railway and steam communications.-The railways in immediate connexion with the town of Liverpool are the Liverpool and Manchester, the first constructed and opened June 14, 1833; a branch from the Edge Hill station runs below the east fall of the hill to Bootle, with a tunnel from near Walton to the west end of the docks. Secondly, the Liverpool and Warrington line from the same station; third, the Lancaster and Yorkshire, from near the exchange; fourth, Liverpool and Southport, passing Seaforth and the watering places along the north shore; and, fifth, the line which runs between the docks and the town, and on to Garston, where it joins by a branch, the railway to Warrington. The Leeds and Liverpool canal has its terminus within the Princes dock, and is connected with the Stanley dock. It would be unnecessary to enumerate the several communications by water, as both the passenger and goods traffic is with nearly every home, colonial, and foreign port of note in the world. Liverpool is the port of exchange between the surrounding manufacturing districts and the produce of other nations, that of the raw material, cotton especially being the largest imported article.

The first steamer was started in Liverpool in 1815; they now sail direct to London and the chief ports on the way; between the Clyde and the Bristol channel, between Dublin in nine hours, and most of the ports round Ireland. To Western Europe, from Drontheim to Gibraltar and up the Mediterranean; the west coast of Africa, round the Cape to Natal; the West Indies, and North and South America, and from the St. Lawrence to Monte Video; the average passage to New York being 12 days, and the communication three times a week.

Floating and other Nautical Institutions. - Near the custom-house is a large Seamen's Home, established upon the most improved arrangements. There is a Marine Society for granting to a limited extent annuities to merchant captains, their widows and orphans, and a Seamen's Orphan Institution on an extensive scale was opened in 1868. In the George's dock is the Tees church ship, and moored in the Sloyne are the following ships, which, including the above, are lent by the Government for the under-mentioned purposes :-

Akbar, third, and Clarence, second rate.-Reformatory, off New Ferry. Conway, fourth rate.-School, off Rock Ferry. Indefatigable, fourth rate.-School for destitute boys, New Ferry.

Limits of the Port.-The limits of the port commence at the Red stones in Hoylake, where that of Chester terminates, and continues up the River Mersey to Ince ferry, thence crossing the river to Dungeon point, and along the Lancashire coast to a stream of water commonly called the Hundred end, on the south side of the River Ribble, extending seaward to the distance of 3 miles from the low-water mark.

Manufactures and commerce. - The manufactures of Liverpool are chiefly connected with ships, their stores and machinery; for which there are several building and repairing establishments, foundries, roperies, factories for chain cables, anchors, and steam engines. There are also potteries, sugar refineries, and soap works.

The imports comprise the products of the East and West Indies, raw cotton, timber, flour, and grain from America; hemp, tar, tallow, &c. from the Baltic; and an immense amount of live stock and provisions from Ireland. The chief exports are cotton goods and woollens, manufactured articles of every description, salt in large quantities from the neighbouring mines, and coal.

The custom-house returns for 1868 are as follows:-

The number of vessels belonging to the port, which under this head include the creek of Garston, are:-
Sailing vessels, 2,473=1,294,828 tons.
Steamers, 411=210,067 tons.
Coasters.-Inwards, 6,840=1,502,370 tons; outwards, 7,077 = 1,315,056 tons.
Foreign. - Inwards, with cargo, 4,828 = 3,168,990 tons; outwards, 4,613 = 3,159,950 tons.
Foreign, in ballast, 840= 33,099 tons; outwards, in ballast, 144=77,955.
Including with the above vessels those which did not require clearances, there were in 1868, 20,218 vessels of 5,497,924 tons which entered the port.

The population of Liverpool in 1861 was 443,938. In 1831 it was 205,964.

Birkenhead.-This populous and rapidly increasing town is situated upon the Cheshire shore directly opposite to Liverpool. The shallow pool of Wallasey which formerly bounded it upon the north has been converted into extensive docks, called the East and West Floats, inclosing an area of 112 acres; there are also three graving docks and two gridirons. Shipbuilding in wood and iron for every class of vessel is carried on, on a large scale, and there are also several manufactories. On either side of Birkenhead along the shore are populous towns and parishes, including New Brighton, farthest north, with a population in 1861 of 2,404; Liscard, including Egremont, 5,625; and Seacombe, upon the north side of the docks, of 3,683 inhabitants. South of Birkenhead is Tranmere, with a population of 9,918; Bromborough and Eastham, of 1,094 and 522 respectively. There is direct railway communication with Chester 15 miles, and with a branch line turning off from a distance of 7 miles at Hooton, to Neston and Parkgate on the shore of the Dee. There is also a short detached line leading from the north end of the docks to Hoylake. Birkenhead is within the port of Liverpool, and the town is governed by joint commissioners; indeed the whole district named may be considered a prosperous and healthy suburb of their important commercial neighbour.

Ferries and distinguishing lights.-Several ferries connect the two shores, running between the landing stages near Georges dock and the following piers, all except that of Egremont, extending to the low-water mark. New Brighton, Egremont, Seacombe, Woodside landing stage, Monks; and South Birkenhead; Tranmere and Rock abreast the Sloyne and Quarantine ground; New Ferry and Eastham or Carlett, the latter distant from the landing stage at Liverpool nearly 5 miles. At the several piers or landing stages lights are exhibited, their colour and arrangement is under no general control; some are merely ordinary lamps, others are refracted, such as at Woodside, New Ferry, New Brighton, &c. The following are the distinguishing lights at the principal landing stages and ferries to and from the railway terminus at Birkenhead:-

Princes landing stage, on which life-boats are stationed, and a ball hoisted when the crews are required to assemble, is distinguished by a green lamp over the centre of each of the four bridges.

Georges landing stage, a triangle of three lights at each end, those at the north all white, the south red over two white. On the Georges landing stage and also near the Georges dock gates, a red ball by day, and a red light by night, are shown when the gates are open, and the communication over the bridge is for the time cut off.

South end landing stage shows a red light in the centre and a white one at each end, and during the hours when the tide permits the passage of steamers over the sands, a red light is shown by night, and a red and white ball by day.

On the Woodside landing stage, Birkenhead, a white fixed light is exhibited from a tower; it is further distinguished by a triangle of three lamps, a white over two red ones.

Monksferry slip at the railway station has one bright reflected light of the ordinary colour.

At the north end of the North docks wall in progress, opposite the Rock lighthouse a fire light is shown which at times burns very brightly.

Upper Mersey.-The estuary above Liverpool called the Upper Mersey, is dry at low water, with the exception of the winding course of the river and deep water bights or blind channels running up from between the Dingle point and Bromborough pool. From off Coburg dock the Pluckington shelf dries out about 2 cables, extending with a gradual decrease in width, both north and south, between Georges dock and Dingle point, having a shallow of from 3 to 12 feet a cable beyond it. Off the Cheshire shore sands with some patches of rock dry out from Tranmere pier-head to 3 cables outside of the Bromborough shore, with a shelf of from 5 to 12 feet, extending 2 cables off New Ferry pier-head; between this and Tranmere is the Quarantine ground, and Sloyne road. The greatest depth across between New Ferry and Dingle point is 5 fathoms at low water; between Tranmere pier and Coburg dock 10 fathoms; and between the Alfred dock, Birkenhead, and Princes landing stage, and also at the narrowest part of the river there is 8 and 9 fathoms.

Lights and Buoys.-Above New Ferry to Eastham ferry, the channel at low water gradually decreases in width, and the depths are also very irregular, from 2.5 to 4.75 fathoms; it is bounded on the east by the Eastham bank, which is dry at low water to abreast of Bromborough stream or Dibinsdale brook. A narrow gut having from 4 to 2 fathoms, runs up towards Garston between the Devils bank and the Dingle; the channels are continually changing, and the buoys, which are under the control of the Bridgewater Trust, are altered when occasions require; they are laid down upon the same system as those of Liverpool; there is also a light-vessel moored in the Stanlow channel above Garston; but her position is equally subject to constant change. The light vessel exhibits a white reflected light from 4.5 hours before high water to 4 hours after, when an ordinary globe lamp is substituted; a large bell is sounded during fogs. On the Cheshire shore one mile below Ince ferry, there is a lighthouse from whence a white fixed light is exhibited, and another of the same character from a tower upon Hale head opposite.

Red lights are shown on each side of the three piers of Runcorn viaduct, between which are the navigable arches; the lights are on the cutwaters, and about 19 feet above ordinary high-water. Besides the foregoing lights there are others at the several docks hereafter described. No directions would be of any service because they could not be depended upon for any length of time. Parties interested in the upper navigation have their offices in Liverpool, and provide pilots and steam-tugs when required.

There is a considerable traffic by river craft and other small vessels between the docks at Liverpool and those in connexion with the inland and canal navigation; and the ports or places of communication as far as Warrington are as follows :-

Garston is 4.5 miles above Georges landing place. There is at present a wet dock of 6 acres, and a proposed extension to 8 more; it is entered by gates 50 feet wide, and by locks 80 feet long and 20 and 22 feet wide; the gates are 6 feet below the old dock sill of Liverpool, and the locks 3 feet below, and 6 feet above the same datum; the entrance to the proposed dock will be 55 feet wide, and will have 3 feet more water than at present. These docks are adapted for vessels of considerable burthen, and they belong to the London and North-western Railway Company. They have a patent slip for vessels of 150 tons, and there is also a graving dock 300 feet long with 17 feet over the sill at high-water springs.

Signals.-At the dock entrance a flag is hoisted by day and a red light by night when the dock is blocked; when clear, there is no flag, and a white light is shown. Garston is a creek of Liverpool; the custom-house in 1868 returned 352 coasting vessels of 24,294 tons as entering. The population in 1861 was 4,720.

Widness is a little above Runcorn gap and 8.75 miles from Garston by the channel; the dock belongs to the same company, and is about 1.25 acres in extent, with an entrance 22 feet wide, and a depth at springs of 12 feet. It is in connexion with the Sankey canal, the Runcorn gap and St. Helens railway, and also that to Warrington.

Warrington is a parliamentary borough situated upon the north side of the Mersey. The river, which here takes several sharp bends, is crossed by one road and three railway bridges, and beyond which is made navigable by weirs and locks, and unites with the Irwell navigation to Manchester, 20 miles. Vessels carrying from 80 to 150 tons get up to Bank quay at high-water springs. The town has several manufactories, and the population in 1861 was 26,947.

Runcorn.-The Bridgewater and Old quay docks at Runcorn are extensive for inland navigation, and belong to the Bridgewater Trust. The docks are five in number, comprising a water area of about 11 acres, with entrances from 50 to 21 feet wide, having the same depth over the tidal dock sill as was over the Old Dock sill of Liverpool, or as given in Holden's tables. There is also a graving dock 80 feet long with an entrance 21 ft. 6 ins. These docks are connected by the Bridgewater canal to the Trent and Mersey canal, the Rochdale, Leeds, Liverpool, and principal inland navigations.

The Old Quay docks are three in number, with a combined extent of 3 acres; the width of entrance is 32 feet, and the depth 3 feet less than the Bridge water docks; there is also a graving dock 110 feet long with an entrance of 40 feet. These docks are connected by river and canal with Warrington, 7.75 miles, and by locks with the Bridgewater canal, &c.

Signals both here and at the docks last mentioned are the same, viz., during day, a flag at the signal mast when the road is clear; no flag when otherwise.

By night, when the road is clear, a white light. When vessels must move slow,-green. No entrance, the road occupied, or gates close,-red.

Runcorn is a Custom-house port, the boundaries connect with that of Liverpool on both sides of the Mersey, and include the Weaver docks at Weston point, Widness, and Warrington.

The returns for 1868 were,
vessels belonging to the port 84 of 4,924 tons.
Coasters inwards, 721 = 44,727 tons; outwards, 1,798=123,649 tons.
Foreign, with cargoes, 216=24,677 tons; outwards, 273=36,303 tons.
Foreign, in ballast, 11 = 1,351 tons;
besides 1,078 vessels of 63,907 tons carrying slates and stone, which did not require clearances.

The population in 1861 was 10,434.

Weston is upon the same or Cheshire side of the river, 1.75 miles below the Gap; the Weaver Navigation Company have here three docks in connexion with the canal and river to the saltworks near Northwich, 13.5 miles. The united extent of the dock accommodation is 4 acres, entered by gates 50 feet wide, having 19 feet over the sill at high-water springs.

Signals.-When the gates are not open or navigation obstructed, a ball is hoisted by day and a red light shown at night.

Ellesmere Port is 5 miles below Weston, and about 8.5 from Liverpool. It belongs to the Shropshire Union Railways and Canal Company, and is connected with the Mersey and Dee canal, 8.25 miles to Chester. The docks comprise about 3.5 acres with an entrance width of 35 feet, and a depth over the sill 4 feet less than the Liverpool datum. There is a graving dock 85 feet long, with an entrance of 14 feet 10 inches, and a patent slip for vessels of 300 tons.

A lighthouse upon the north side of the entrance to the docks shows a fixed white light while there is water to the depth of 2 feet on the sill of the small lock.

Ellesmere port is a station of the Hooton and Helsby branch railway; it is included in the port of Liverpool for custom-house returns.

Tides.-On a spring rise of 21 feet above a Liverpool datum of the Old Dock sill, the following range was ascertained by the Marine Surveyor of Liverpool in 1861. At Garston the surface level was about one foot above the high-water level, and at Warrington 3.5 feet; affording at Garston a rise of 32 feet; at Ellesmere port, 30 feet; at Weston point, 18 feet; at Runcorn gap, 16 feet, and at Warrington, 9 feet: all above the surface water, which at Warrington was 16 feet above the datum of Liverpool. The low-water level of a spring tide or 10 feet below datum, reached to near Ellesmere, above which there was an incline of surface water depending on the amount of fresh in the river. A neap tide of 10 feet above datum reached to Fidlers ferry about half-way between Runcorn gap and Warrington, affording a depth at the former place of 4 feet.

The duration of a spring flood is 2.5 hours at Runcorn, and 1h. 40m. at Warrington bridge.