Recreation : Guidelines : Water based recreation

Infrastructure for water based recreation

European marine features where facilities are located

Codes of practice

Useful contacts

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. During use, potential impacts will depend upon how a facility is managed.

Impacts may be physical in nature, such as destruction of habitat, or biological, such as changes in water quality brought about by development or activities taking place in the vicinity of a facility.

European marine features where facilities are located

While there are examples of boating facilities on the open coast, the majority of facilities are situated in more sheltered estuarine locations or harbours. 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 inter tidal 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 which are part of port and harbour or urban regeneration projects.


Likely to occur

Unlikely to occur



Mud and Sand Flats

(swing moorings)



(swing moorings)


Inlets and Bays





(swing moorings/sailing clubs)


Sea Caves


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

The Code of Practice for the Construction and Operation of Marinas and Yacht Harbours, 1992 Available from The Yacht Harbour Association (free to members 40.00 to non-members)

Useful contacts

The Yacht Harbour Association

Evegate Park Barn



Kent TN25 6SX

Tel: 01303 814434

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


Summary of potential environmental impacts associated with infrastructures for water-based recreation


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