Recreation : Guidelines : Motorboating

Guidelines for motorboating

European marine features where the activity takes place

Codes of practice

National representative bodies

There are approximately 367,000 motorboats owned in the UK making it the second most popular choice of craft after sailing boats. This figure represents only owner-user craft and does not include the many people who hire craft for use on the water.

The largest concentration of motorboats is on the south coast with the Solent and Poole Harbour areas being a particular focus of activities.

European marine features where activity takes place

The category of motorboat covers a huge range of craft from small open craft with outboard motors through day boats to multi-million pound motor yachts. The ability of the craft to access shallow waters will depend upon their draft (the depth of the hull in the water), including engine drive system and propeller. Small craft with outboard motors can be launched from informal access points as well as public slipways and are able to access relatively shallow waters as the drive leg and propeller can be hoisted manually out of the water. However, most boat users avoid shallow water to prevent propeller fouling. Larger and faster craft can only be launched from slipways or will be moored on swing moorings or in marinas. These craft tend to head for large open expanses of water.


Likely to occur

Unlikely to occur



Mud and Sand Flats

(smaller craft only)




Inlets and Bays



(smaller craft only depending on water depth)



(smaller craft only)


Sea Caves

(smallest craft only)


Grey Seal


Common Seal


Bottlenose Dolphin


Codes Of Practice

Tidelines, 1997 Available from the Royal Yachting Association

Navigate with Nature, 1998 Available from the British Marine Industries Federation

National Representative Bodies

Royal Yachting Association

RYA House

Romsey Road


Hants SO50 9YA

Tel: 01703 627400


Royal Yachting Association Scotland

Caledonia House

South Gyle

Edinburgh EH12 9DQ

Royal Yachting Association

N. Ireland

Northern Ireland Sports Council

Upper Malone Road

Belfast BT9 5LA

Welsh Yachting Association

4, Llys Y Mor

Plas Menai


LL55 1UE

Characteristics of activity and management issues associated with motorboats

Summary of potential environmental impacts associated with motorboats


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