Poole Harbour is one of southern England’s oldest and most important maritime centers. As far back as the pre-Roman period it served as a fishing port, trading hub and even an invasion point for waterborne troops. Through the early 19th Century it continued to be a vital export point for wool and other local commodities headed to Europe and North America.
When trade moved to other areas more accessible by larger vessels and rail lines Poole Harbour transformed it self into a favorite port for channel crossing ferries, establishing daily passenger & cargo lines. With the growth in recreational boating, room was made for pleasure craft and a variety of related past times including kitesurfing, parasailing, scuba diving and waterskiing. Today many boaters call the harbour marinas homes, while many others visit on a regular basis.
Because a large portion of the harbour area is undeveloped it has also become important in protecting the natural resources that also call it home. A wild range of migratory bird, local fish species and even endangered squirrels can be found on the area islands and shoreline. The importance of the area ecosystem has even lead to numerous protective areas being establish within or bordering the harbour.
Area Boating Facilities
Poole Harbour is home to a thriving recreational boating scene as well as the services private boat owners need to enjoy their time on the water. Whether you are a seasoned boater looking for a mooring, a new boater in search of your first vessel and assistance in getting on the water or simply wish to rent a jetski for the afternoon you will find what you need on the shores of Poole Harbour.
The majority of recreational boating is restricted to the area north and east of Brownsea Island, with the exception of a designated waterski area in the back side of Arne Peninsular. While some pleasure boats are permitted in other areas it is important to become familiar regulations before exploring these locations. As you would expect, the various businesses catering to pleasure craft are located along the shores adjacent to the major boating areas.
Poole Harbour is home to 8 major boat clubs. Although these clubs are private and cater primarily to those who utilize Poole Harbour as their home port many also provide temporary visitor moorings. There are also 10 marinas capable of offering long and short-term moorings, fuel, repairs and a wide variety of supplies. 5 slipways provide access for smaller, trailered vessels and 8 boat yards are available to meet almost every level of repair you may need.
The management, and safety, of the harbour is the responsibility of the Poole Harbour Commissioners and under the day to day control of the Harbour Master. The PHC provides a wide range of service including management of the commercial operations & channels, visitor services, operation of a 24 hour communications center and patrol of the area waters. Along with the RNLI, PHC also provides boating safety education and responds in time of maritime emergencies.
Further information concerning Poole Harbour or PHC operations can be found at www.phc.co.uk.
Speaking of boating safety every boater is responsible for making sure that they and their craft are prepared for a safe journey, even should the unexpected occur. It is highly recommended that the new boater takes a boating safety course, until then here is a list of suggested safety equipment you should have onboard prior to launching:
- Anchor with chain or line
- Bilge pump or bailing device
- Compass or electronic navigation system
- Emergency signals (flares)
- Fire Extinguisher
- Life jackets (PFDs)
- Appropriate Navigation lights
- Paddles or oars
- Waterproof flashlight (torch)
- Chart(s) of the area
- Throwable Device/ring buoy
- Rescue bag/rope
- First Aid kit
Proceeding to sea is a matter for your own judgement do not rely upon the current weather data for decision making, it is for information only.