Fisherman’s Gat was opened up to shipping as a route though Long Sand, following the demise of North Edinburgh Channel as a buoyed route. Opened in 2000 with a controlling depth of 7.4 metres, depths have since increased to 8.3 metres (January 2006).
Shipping generally approaches Fisherman’s Gat from within an arc, extending from south of Kentish Knock to the east, around to North East Spit buoy to the south-southeast. For vessels approaching the Thames Estuary from the south or east, the Fisherman’s Gat route provides a saving of 20 miles and lower pilot charges when compared with the Sunk route to the north. The advantages of Fisherman’s Gat over the Sunk route may lead to its increased use by vessels not constrained by draught and approaching from the south or east, some of which are still being routed via the Sunk.