Despite its decline as a trade hub Poole Harbour continues to be a major maritime transportation center. In addition to a small fleet of coast trade vessels the harbour is now an important ferry port. The port is regularly serviced by cross channel ferries, with passenger and freight service to Cherbourg, Channel Island and St. Malo. High speed service is also available to Cherbourg.
Recreational boating has also found a home in Poole, and with it the surrounding waters. A considerable number pleasure craft utilize the harbour and the area has become home to many luxury yachts & cruise boats, as well as port of call for coastal cruisers from nearby ports. Holes Bay, to the north, is the home of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution training school. The RNLI also maintains a headquarters in Poole. Both indicators of the area’s importance to modern maritime activities.
Due to the large amount of maritime activity the harbour is managed by the Poole Harbour Commissioners. The Poole Harbour Commissioners, or PHC is responsible for overseeing the overall operation and safety of the harbour and those you utilize it, which is done by maintaining shipping channels & port facilities, establishing & enforcing safety regulations and assisting with nature conservancy projects.