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Harbour and Useful Information

Poole Harbour

Poole is Europe's largest natural harbour and a stunning location for all types of watersports fringed with unspoilt woodland and coastal walks. The harbour is a site of nature conservation, a wetland teeming with wading birds with many international protections in place.  It is a Ramsar site which recognises wetlands of international importance particularly for wildfoul. It is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSI) which recognises the country's most spectacular and beautiful habitats and a Special Protection Area link will open in new window (SPA). 

Just outside Poole Harbour, 1 mile from the beaches in Poole Bay is a Poole Marine Conservation Area link will open in new window, 4 square kilometers of sea bed which features 10 different types of habitat and home to more than 360 different marine species. The designation provides protection from damaging activities allowing marine wildlife and habitat to thrive.

Poole Harbour is a thriving mecca for watersports enthusiasts.  With over a dozen yacht clubs and marinas, the harbour is alive with all types of craft and the appeal of safe sailing attracts all ages and abilities keen to get on the water.

A haven for nature lovers, Poole Harbour offers an abundance of natural and unspoilt delights including the world renowned Brownsea Island.

Colourful Yachts in Poole Harbour 2

Harbour Dues

Payable by all resident and visiting craft in Poole Harbour - details from Poole Harbour Commissioners, Berthing Office, The Quay. Contact 01202 440200
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Customs and Excise link will open in new window  

Portcullis House, New Harbour Rd South
National Customs and Excise Advice Services line - 0845 0109000.

Public Slipway Harbourside Park

Car park and boat launching site 
£10.80 before 14.30, £9.30 after 14.30
For those wishing to launch boats or watersports equipment throughout the year, an annual ticket is available for Harbourside 1 Car Park to use the slipway facility for launching.  The season ticket covers the boat launch fee and parking for a car and trailer.  Further information on parking permits and fees can be found on the Borough of Poole's website link will open in new window .

Weather Information


  • Piplers of Poole - 01202 673056
  • Salterns Chandlery - 01202 701556
  • Force 4 - 01202 723311

See Tide Timetables link will open in new window for Poole or purchase a timetable from Poole Tourist Information Centre or Piplers of Poole, both on Poole Quay

Poole Harbour Safety Regulations

In order to allow all harbour users to enjoy the water safely, to minimise conflict and to protect the rich variety of wildlife, the Harbour has been zoned for various activities. Please respect the Quiet Areas where the speed limit is 6 knots.

Your attention is drawn to the following summary of the Bylaws, which are enforced for your safety:

Safe Navigation :
You must navigate with care throughout the Harbour. Stay clear of the Main Shipping Channels when occupied by a large vessel.

Harbour Entrance : This is a potentially hazardous area. Please take great care. Use your engine if you have one fitted.  The Harbour Entrance is only 300 metres wide, with very strong tidal streams particularly at spring ebb and a slow moving chain ferry operates at its narrowest point.  The chain ferry has right of way, so please think ahead and try and pass well clear astern of it.

Speed Limit : There is a speed limit of 10 knots throughout, except in the Quiet Areas, Little Channel and Holes Bay where the speed limit is 6 knots.

Waterskiing & Wakeboarding : A permit is required for waterskiing inside the harbour, it can be obtained from the Harbour Office or the Pool Harbour Recreational website: link will open in new window .  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. Launch at Rockley, Harbourside Park or Cobbs Quay.

Personal Water Craft (Jetskis & Waterbikes): Use of Personal Watercraft in excess of the speed limit is allowed only in the designated area to the north of Brownsea Island. Personal Watercraft are not allowed in the quiet area to the south of Brownsea Island. Otherwise you must obey the speed limits. Harbour Master's permit required.

Kitesurfing/Windsurfing: Poole Harbour is one of the best board sailing venues on the South Coast. There is a dedicated board sailing area in Whitley Lake at Sandbanks, which is shallow and safe, but dries out at low water. It is ideal for novices and the area is next to the road and a sandy beach and is very convenient for unloading and rigging. Board sailing can, however, take place throughout the harbour. Wind Surfing is not allowed in the Harbour entrance. See Local Notices for Mariners for specific restrictions that apply throughout the harbour.

Parascending: May only take place inside the Harbour with the permission of the Harbour Master.

A booklet "Poole Harbour Guide" containing all facilities and services is available from Poole Welcome Centre, visit link will open in new window  or contact the Harbour Master on 01202 440233.

Copyright © 2018 Poole Tourism - all other trademarks are acknowledged as belonging to their respective owners. All rights reserved.