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Recreation - Motorised Craft

Potential Motor Boat Use

The activity includes the use of motorised vessels, including motorboats (powerboats) and yachts in marine waters. This category also includes watersports that are towed behind a motorised vessel including wakeboarding, waterskiing and parascending. In general, these activities take place in coastal, inshore and offshore waters all around the coastline where marina and berthing facilities, or launch facilities (slipways), are available. Although these activities are widespread, activity in England is most concentrated around the South East and South Coast, where there is the highest concentration of marinas and clubs.

Activity Map

The map on this page illustrates the potential for motor boat activity in English waters as part of the MMO1064 marine recreation modelling project. The areas of highest potential are shown in red, progressing down through orange and yellow to green. Use the MMO Explore Marine Plans service for more detailed information.


Natural England’s publication ‘Motorised watercraft (powerboating and sailing with an engine) (EIN027)’ reports that the main impacts from this activity are:

Operation Wavebreaker

With more people holidaying at home, Hampshire Constabulary's Marine Support Unit are urging people to be considerate when using our waterways. In 2020, the team launched Operation Wavebreaker to tackle dangerous use of vessels and other anti-social behaviour in the Solent and other waterways across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. The operation sees its Marine Support Unit working closely with partner agencies, including the RNLI and Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Harbour Masters, the MOD Police and others throughout the season to address and resolve issues.

Langstone Harbour Jetski Permits

LHB has a long running jet ski permit scheme which requires all participants to abide by harbour bylaws including the 10kt speed limit. From this year, participants will be required to send copies of their insurance certificates to be eligible for a permit. Skiers without formal qualifications will also be told that they will need to enrol in a certified jet ski accreditation course this year, as permits will not be issued without a qualification next season. In addition, anyone wishing to use a kayak, canoe or stand up paddleboard within harbour limits will be required to pay harbour dues.

National Watersports Participation Survey

A National Watersports Participation Survey is conducted annually by a consortium of leading marine bodies including British Marine, Royal Yachting Association (RYA), Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), British Canoeing (BC) and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas). Download the Executive Summary report, 2018.  Key findings include: