Designated Zones for Watersports

Poole Personal Watercraft

Designated Zones for Watersports

As part of our Aquatic Management Plan, there are a number of designated zones within the harbour to allow segregation of certain waterborne activities.

The ‘Harbour Zoning Scheme’ was introduced in Poole Harbour in 1995, after information gathered from recreational surveys continually highlighted the need for designated areas for certain watersports. These zones enable watersport enthusiasts to to enjoy their sport in an area that causes minimal disturbance to wildlife and other harbour users, therefore reducing risk and improving safety.

Captain Brian Murphy, Harbour Master, Poole Harbour Commissioners said “Since it’s introduction in 1995, the Harbour Zoning Scheme has proved very successful in managing the multifarious recreational activities within Poole Harbour. Most users restrict their activities to the relevant areas and abide by the relevant codes of conduct. But unfortunately, we still see occasions where reckless and unlawful behaviour ends in prosecution”.

“If you’re planning to take to the water, please take a few moments to get to know your way around the harbour. Take a look at our harbour chartlet, where all designated areas are clearly marked and speed limits highlighted”.

Know your designated zones….

Waterskiing & Wakeboarding:

The designated water ski area is in the Wareham Channel and is approximately 2000 metres long and varies in width between 300 metres and 600 metres. The area is marked by blue and white stakes, yellow buoys and notice boards. Water skiers are exempt from the speed limit when operating within this area.

For further information on Waterskiing in Poole Harbour, including the permits required and the relevant codes of conduct to adhere to, please see LNTM 25/2020

Personal Watercraft:

The use of a Personal Watercraft is only permitted within the designated zone of the harbour. Or, when transiting between the launch area and the designated zone. If you are not intending to use the PW area then you must leave the harbour. Speed must not exceed 10 knots outside of the designated zone.

The designated zone for PWs can be found to the North of Brownsea Island. It set away from the harbour entrance and shipping channels. PWs are exempt from the speed limit of ten knots whilst in this area. Please note speed limits are strictly enforced around the rest of the harbour. 

Personal Watercraft are not permitted in the quiet area to the South of Brownsea Island. We also ask that riders do not “play in the wake” of larger vessels for health and safety reasons.

For further information on Personal Watercraft in Poole Harbour, including the permits required and the relevant codes of conduct to adhere to, please see LNTM 27/2020

Windsurfing

Windsurfing is not allowed in the harbour entrance or main shipping channels. However, there is a dedicated board sailing area in Whitley Lake adjacent to Sandbanks. Here it is shallow and safe, but it dries out at low water. It is ideal for novices, and the area is next to the road is very convenient for unloading and rigging. Please note that this area is also used for kitesurfing, including for training purposes.

We ask that surfers are careful to avoid any nearby vessels and navigation channels, and to adhere to the Byelaws

Kitesurfing 

Surfers can take advantage of several designated areas in and around Poole Harbour, such as Whitley Lake, Hamworthy Park and Bramble Bush Bay. Kitesurfing is not permitted in the harbour entrance or any of the main shipping channels.

For further information on Kitesurfing in Poole Harbour, including the permits required and the relevant codes of conduct to adhere to, please see LNTM 26/2020

Paddle Boarding 

Paddle Boarding is not permitted in the harbour entrance or any of the main shipping channels. We ask that boarders are careful to avoid any nearby vessels and navigation channels, and to adhere to the Byelaws and follow the Stand up Paddle Boarders Code of Conduct for Poole Harbour

Canoes and Kayaks 

There are many areas within the harbour for you to enjoy, but please be mindful of fellow harbour users to avoid any accidents. Please avoid lingering in the shipping channels and harbour entrance and should follow the safety guidance from British Canoeing.

Getting to know the harbour, particularly the channels, navigation marks and the areas designated for special use will help you make the most of your time on the water.  We also recommend that you take a little time before you get out on the water to make sure you are as safe as possible, especially during these extraordinary and unprecedented times. The RNLI has a comprehensive list of safety resources on their website or you can view our ‘Safety in the Harbour’ tips here.

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