Recreation : Boating-related infrastructure

The potential effects of

This section focuses on the potential effects which the infrastructure provided for water-based recreational activities may have in marine areas. Issues relating to infrastructure provided for land-based activities are dealt with elsewhere. The issues associated with facilities provision for water-based recreational activities are also addressed in a related report on port and harbour operations ABP Research (1999)

The physical infrastructure to facilitate water-based recreation ranges from an informal parking area and launch site, through swinging mooring provision to fully serviced marina operations. Boatyards and yacht clubs are also essential to many of the water-based activities.

The potential impacts of recreational infrastructure may occur both when the facility is being constructed, if it is a new facility, and also while it is in use. During the construction of recreational infrastructure, the magnitude of the impact upon designated marine features depends upon factors such as the specific location of the development, the scale of the scheme, construction methods and project design and implementation. The provision of such infrastructure can also have consequences for the focus and concentration of boating activities. New marina development in undeveloped areas may extend the range of boats, allowing them to visit remoter locations otherwise inaccessible due to time constraints or the risk of being weather-bound.

Impacts may be physical in nature, such as destruction of habitat, or biological, such as changes in water quality brought about by development.

While there are examples of boating facilities on the open coast, the majority of facilities are situated in more sheltered estuarine locations or harbours. Indeed the cost of facilities on the open coast and the associated planning constraints make it unlikely that many further developments will take place in this type of location. A significant number of coastal developments in the last 20 years have, however, taken place in more sheltered locations in the intertidal zone.

The method of construction depends on the type of conditions in which it is being built and the scale of the project. For example, the favoured location for a marina operator is one that is convenient for land and water access. Ideally, it should also provide a natural sheltered basin requiring the minimum of physical modification and therefore entailing minimum construction costs. However, there are very few, if any, of these locations remaining in which development would be permitted. Therefore, new developments are likely to take place in locations which require a greater degree of physical modification to the site, or in existing ports and harbours.

Modification of habitats

Impacts on water quality

The relative effects of marinas and swinging moorings

Impacts from land-side facilities

Summary of potential effects of boating-related infrastructure