The Recreational Mariner's Guide

1. Preface

About The Guide

Over the years, we have found that our favourite cruising guides are those that give us cultural and historical information, provide ideas for shoreside activities, and that are organized so we can easily decide where to go and what to do, not just how to get there. 

With that in mind, we have made the Norwegian Cruising Guide a guidebook rather than just a book of sailing directions. It is a well-organized resource that will help you plan and execute your cruise, as well as provide information on activities that will add to your enjoyment of this wonderful country.

We assume that users of our Guide are experienced voyagers, and so we only provide information in the General Cruising Information chapters that is specific to Norway, Svalbard and Jan Mayen. For those who want more detailed information on various aspects of cruising, such as anchoring or how to get the most out of weather forecasting, we offer links to Attainable Adventure Cruising: 12 In-depth Online Books, over 1200 chapters and articles, and numerous shorter Tips on all aspects of offshore voyaging. Paid membership required.


Volume 1, General Cruising Information

Online and free


  • Norway: divided into chapters providing cruise planning information and guidance on issues such as boat preparation, Customs and Immigration regulations, buoyage and sample itineraries. 
  • Svalbard, including Bjørnøya: divided into chapters providing cruise planning information and guidance in addition to the Norway chapter and specific to a cruise to Svalbard and Bjørnøya, such as polar bear protection and Search and Rescue insurance requirements.
  • Jan Mayen: divided into chapters providing cruise planning information and guidance in addition to the Svalbard chapter and specific to a cruise of Jan Mayen, such as nature reserve regulations.
  • Appendix: divided into chapters with detailed resource information, such as types of Norwegian propane regulators and contact information for boatyards and winter storage options.


  • Table of Contents at the bottom of the screen
  • There are numerous links within the volume and also to external sources
  • Gray boxes are Notes, blue boxes are Tips, and pink boxes are Alerts

Harbours and Anchorages, Volumes 2, 3, 4, and 5

Paper books and eBooks

  • Volume 2: From the Swedish border up to and including Bergen
  • Volume 3: From Bergen up to and including Bodø
  • Volume 4: From Bodø to the Russian border, including Lofoten
  • Volume 5: Bjørnøya, Svalbard and Jan Mayen
  • Volumes 2, 3, 4, 5: Comprehensive Tables of Contents and Indexes

Interactive eBooks

In 2006 we broke new ground by publishing the Guide as an eBook. Since then we have taken the eBooks to the next level by making navigation fast and easy, with thousands of links both internal and to external resources. Available through Apple iBooks and Google Play.

POD Paper Books

The paper books are print-on-demand, available at bookstores and Amazon. This allows us to publish low-volume books with lots of photographs and frequent updates, though it does mean that the colour photograph reproduction is somewhat compromised. But, after all, if you want to see the colour photographs in all their glory, there are always the eBooks.

Since writing out the full URL for all links would make the paper book longer, messier and harder to read, and copy typing long URLs is difficult to impossible, we have indicated all links with a descriptive tag instead of the underlying URL. If you want access to those resources, then the eBooks are the way to go.



We carefully designed the text to be readable both on paper, where line length should not exceed about ten words, and on screen, where multiple column layouts are a nightmare to read. We chose the fonts for legibility and the size with middle-aged eyes in mind. The white space to the left gives room for information boxes and your notes.

Italicized Type

Indicates the names of vessels and publications, and words (other than names) in any language other than English. 

Bold Type

Refers to places that have their own entry in the Guide and an entry in the Index.

Norwegian Alphabet

Due to a bug in Adobe Creative Suite, the Index does not recognize the Norwegian characters of Å/å, Ø/ø, and Æ/æ. They are treated respectively as A/a, O/o, and Symbol/a, and alphabetized accordingly. We apologize for any confusion this may cause.

Measurement Standards

Nautical miles are indicated by nm. Otherwise, all distances, depths and weights are given in metric (a metre is indicated by m, a kilometre by km, etc.) and temperatures are given in Celsius. Norwegian money (kroner) is indicated by kr.

Courses and Bearings

Are given in degrees true unless otherwise noted.

Navigation Coordinates

The coordinates for harbours and anchorages are given to help you find them on the chart. They are approximate, unless otherwise stated, and should not be used for navigation.


The format for naming harbours and anchorages is as follows:

  • The name of a harbour or anchorage is taken from Norway government cartography, Den Norske Los (The Norwegian Pilot), and local information when we have access to it.
  • If there are conflicting names for the same anchorage, they are denoted in the title with an ‘or’, for e.g. Kjøvangen or Kjøvangbukta.
  • If an otherwise unnamed anchorage is located between two islands, for e.g. between Løvøya and Mellomøya, it is denoted as Løvøya/Mellomøya, with a slash between the islands. 
  • If the anchorage or harbour is on an island or in a fjord, the name of the island or fjord is often given in brackets after the name of the harbour or anchorage; for e.g. Dalskilen (SW Flostaøya) means that Dalskilen is found on the southwest side of the island of Flostaøya.
  • If an anchorage or harbour is unnamed or has the same name as the island it is on, it may have the side of the island it is on in brackets after the name; for e.g. Haramsøya (SE) means that the anchorage or harbour is on the southeast side of the island of Haramsøya.
Harbour Information Boxes

These are the gray boxes in the sidebar of each entry in the Harbours and Anchorages chapters. 

For each entry we provide:

  • the coordinates for the harbour/anchorage
  • the year the entry was last updated
  • a reference to any aerial photos or sketch maps available in Den Norske Los

In order to help make it as easy as possible for you to plan your cruise, we also offer these live links in the eBooks:

  • Google: links to Google Earth
  • Website: links to the website for that town/area/harbour
  • Topo Map (Svalbard, Jan Mayen): links to topographical maps 

An example from Skudeneshavn in the Stavanger to Haugesund chapter of Volume 2:

  • 59°08.92’ N, 05°15.42’ E
  • Last Updated: 2020
  • Google
  • Den Norske Los, Vol. 3, aerial photo & sketch map
  • Website –  town
  • Website – area


Chapter Maps

Each chapter starts with a map of the area covered: 

  • The names of islands and other land features are in dark brown type and the names of channels and fjords are in dark blue type. 
  • Every port and anchorage that has its own entry in that chapter is shown in black type, its position indicated with a black dot. 
  • The position of landfall harbours are indicated by red squares and the position of our favourite harbours and anchorages are indicated by red stars.
  • In cases where the chapter has been divided into subsections for easier navigation, we have shown this on the chapter map using dotted black lines to denote the various sections, with a link (live in the eBook) to the page number of the section. 
  • In cases where the density of ports would make the subsection confusing, we have provided larger-scale subsidiary maps, which are indicated by shading within the dotted black lines on the chapter map.
  • With the kind permission of Norway’s government chart organization (Kartverket), we have shown the Coastal Danger Areas in red, together with the conditions that make them most dangerous.
  • We have not included a scale on the maps but distances can be inferred from the latitude scale. 

We have made no attempt to show low bridges or shallow water that could restrict a boat from using passages shown on the chapter maps; therefore, detailed route planning should only be done with the relevant charts to hand.

Sketch Maps

With the kind permission of Norway’s government chart organization (Kartverket), we have embedded Den Norske Los (DNL) sketch maps into our entries when available.

In a few cases, where the harbour is complicated and an illustration clarifies the text, or where charting is poor or non-existent and DNL did not provide a sketch map, we have provided our own. 

The official charts should always be used for navigation rather than the sketch maps, which are not up-to-date


In selecting photographs for inclusion in the Guide, we have gone for a mix of scenic and illustrative in keeping with our philosophy that this is a guide, not just a pilot. We want the photographs to give you a feel for what the surroundings are like, not just show you where to anchor.

Sources of Information


Volume 1

Written by Phyllis, John and Hans Jakob.

Volumes 2, 3, 4 and 5

If an entry uses the first person, the information was collected by either Hans Jakob and Eli or John and Phyllis.

Though the majority of information was collected by Hans Jakob and Eli, cruisers other than the four of us have also contributed over the years. In those cases we refer to “our contributor” or some such.


We use the online PDFs of Den Norske Los as a reference when compiling harbour and anchorage information. Also, Kartverket generously gave us permission to embed DNL sketch maps into our entries when available, and to use their Coastal Danger Areas information in our chapter maps.


Generously provided a full set of electronic charts for Norway and Svalbard that we used as a base for the chapter maps.

History of The Guide

In 1978 Mark Brackenbury’s Norwegian Cruising Guide, A Pilot for the Norwegian and SW Swedish Coasts between Sognefjord and the Sound was published; until it went out of print in 1991, it was the only English-language marine guide to Norway.

In 1996 John Armitage combined Mark’s material with new material for North Norway, Svalbard and Jan Mayen, and published the jointly authored Norwegian Cruising Guide, From the Swedish Sound to the Russian Border, 2nd Edition.

Between 1996 and 2006 updates were made to the Norwegian Cruising Guide, 2nd Edition, based on the cruising experiences of a number of people, including John Armitage, Hans Jakob and Eli, and us. 

In May of 2006 we published the prerelease version of the much expanded 3rd Edition and the final version was released in February 2007. We published new editions in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, and 2017.


In 2019 we moved away from editions to stamping each volume with the year it was last updated:

  • Volume 1: online and as up-to-date as we can make it!
  • Volume 2: 2021
  • Volume 3: 2023
  • Volume 4: 2019
  • Volume 5: 2017 (but not yet stamped)

We will let you know here when we are planning to update a volume.

If you purchased a paper book just before we updated it, we are sorry, as we know that’s irritating, but that has always been a risk with paper books. If you don’t want to buy the updated paper book, the best option is to buy the less expensive eBook for the same volume.

Sign up here to be notified by email regarding any updates to the Guide.

Thank You

  • Mark Brackenbury and John Armitage for their hard work and dedication in compiling and updating the Guide from 1978 to 2002 and their generosity in handing the results over to us.
  • Curtis Rindlaub for generously granting us the right to use some of the same headings he uses in his A Cruising Guide To the Maine Coast.
  • C-Map for providing us with a set of charts to use for chapter maps.
  • Kartverket for granting us permission to copy Den Norske Los sketch maps and to use their Coastal Danger Area information in our chapter maps.
  • The many cruisers over the years who have contributed updates and photos to the Guide.