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United Kingdom (UK) - Yachts, Boats and Marinas

Boating in the UK was an important pastime in earlier centuries as a means of transport between the islands and to mainland Europe. When vehicles, planes, and other forms of transportation took over, boating became less popular, although the ferry system is still quite widely used as a means of transport. Today, boating or sailing is considered more of a leisure activity for those who can afford to own a boat.

There are a variety of different options for sailing, particularly given the UK’s island status. Small boats can be sailed from any public beach; for larger yachts, moorings and boat ramps are necessary, but there are plenty of these in the UK.

Besides major ports like Plymouth and Portsmouth for shipping, ferries, and public boat travel there are also numerous marinas for the smaller pleasure cruise or yacht. There is a list of marinas, exclusive clubs, and value clubs below.

Before considering the ownership of a boat, you should first consider the need for a boating licence. Boats need to be registered like any other piece of motorised equipment. Boats will have names and numbers to ensure that they can be found or hailed. This registration is particularly important when it comes to sea rescues. Sailors communicate through marine radios, and if there is an SOS issue a boat captain will need to radio with their name, licence number, and other distinctive information to ensure that they can be found.

For those who are going to captain a boat, even just for leisure, it is imperative to undergo boating training. This course comes with a certificate stating that you have been properly trained to handle a boat including the docking, boat ramp, and sailing procedures. This certification is required both to combat safety issues and for peace of mind. The pleasure cruiser certification for individuals is different from the course required for a professional captain whose boat would carry cargo or passengers. Contact the MOT equivalent, called the Boat Safety Scheme or BSS, to get your boat licence and find out about captains’ courses for sailing your boat.

In the United Kingdom there are about 12 marinas throughout the country. Many are located on the Hamble River, with some in Dartmouth, Poole, Beaulieu, Lymington and Falmouth. The Marinas are:

• Dart Marina Yacht Harbour
• Hamble Point Marina
• Port Hamble Marina
• Parkstone Bay Marina
• Hamble Yacht Services
• Salterns Marina
• Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour
• Lymington Marina
• Lyminton Yacht Haven
• Mercury Yacht Harbour
• Port Pendennis Marina
• Port of Poole Marina

These marinas range from £575 to £760 in price for an annual payment. Each marina has a range of berths from as little as 35 spots to over 500. Lymington Yacht Haven has 500 berths for both visitors and those who own yachts.

In addition to the marinas mentioned above, each country has its own Yacht Harbour Association location:

British Marine

Irish Marine Federation

Sail Scotland

The Yacht Harbour Association

Dean Reddyhoff

Weymouth Harbour

Yacht Clubs

In the United Kingdom there are several yacht clubs offering access to exclusive marinas.

The Royal Yachting Association

Sailing Clubs

Royal Western Yacht Club

Chichester Yacht Club

Luxury Yacht Club

Royal London Yacht Club

Greenwich Yacht Club

Cowes Yacht Club

The Royal Motor Yacht Club

Value Marinas

Tingdene Marinas

Here you can find riverboat moorings, cruiser moorings, narrowboat moorings, canal moorings, and Dutch barge berths. This marina system throughout the UK offers newly developed and redeveloped marinas at better value.

Walton Marina

This marina provides access to the River Thames with permanent berths as well as those for holiday cruisers.

RaceCourse Marina Windsor

This was known as RYB before it was renamed. It is another marina located on the Thames River and accessed by the M4.

Brundall Bay Marina

Near the Norfolk Broads, this marina is best for particularly large ships.

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