Print < Back to Queen's Harbour Master Portsmouth < Back to Important Safety and Event Information

Queen's Harbour Master Portsmouth



1. Mariners are advised that the Queen’s Harbour Master Portsmouth has made the following General Direction with regard to Personal Watercraft (Jet Skiing), Water Skiing, Board Sailing (Wind Surfing) and Swimming.

2.  Water Skiing is not permitted inside Portsmouth Harbour north of Fort Blockhouse, nor within half a nautical mile from any shore within the Dockyard Port (Eastern Solent) area except in a specially designated area (para 6 below).

3.  Personal Watercraft/Jet Ski (PWC). In accordance with The Dockyard Port of Portsmouth Order 2005 no PWC use is permitted within the harbour or within 0.5 of a nautical mile from shore outside the harbour without a licence from QHM. The licences are free and application can be made at Operators of PWCs are to obtain third party insurance cover for their vessel and to have them data tagged. Proof of third party insurance and data tagging will be required on application and the licence will not be issued until such proof is provided.  Applications are dealt with as quickly as possible, but applicants are advised to allow at least 15 working days for processing.

4.  Licenced PWC users may use their craft anywhere within the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth, but all users must obey the Speed Limit of 10 knots within the harbour or within 0.5 nm (1000 yards) from the Low Water springs line (General Direction 4/13) except in specially designated areas (para 7 below). At all times, PWC operators are to operate their craft responsibly and remain a safe distance from other water users, particularly when operating at high speed.

5.  Board Sailing (Wind Surfing) Prohibited Areas. Board Sailing is prohibited in the following areas:

a. Portsmouth Harbour Approach Channels.  The buoyed channel extending from a line joining Outer Spit Buoy and Horse Sand Buoy at its southerly limit to a line joining the easternmost point of Fort Blockhouse and the Round Tower (Old Portsmouth) at the Harbour entrance. It is bounded on either side by the channel buoys marking the limits of the dredged channel.

b. Portsmouth Harbour Main Navigable Channels.  All the waters of the Harbour south of a line joining the northern end of Shell Pier head and the south-west corner of Whale Island and to the south of Whale Island Bridge, but excluding the waters above Haslar Bridge and Forton Bridge.

c. Fareham Lake. In the navigable channel of Fareham Lake from the limits defined in paragraph b above northward to latitude 50°49’00N and bounded to the east and west by the Drying Line as defined on current Admiralty Charts.  The chartlet below shows the no windsurf areas in Portsmouth Harbour and its approaches.


6. Water Skiing/Wakeboarding Areas. (See Admiralty Chart No 2036). Water skiers/Wakeboarders are not to exceed the 10 knot speed limit until they are further than 0.5 nm (1000 yards) offshore anywhere in the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth.

a.  A designated water ski area is established to the northwest of Wootton Creek bounded by the following positions:  

50° 44’ 78 N

001° 12’ 61 W

50° 45’ 27 N

001° 14’ 05 W

50° 45’ 05 N

001° 14’ 22 W

50° 44’ 55 N

001° 12’ 80 W

This area is not buoyed and vessel operators are to take care that they remain within the designated area when towing water skiers/wakeboarders. Within the designated area speed is unlimited but vessel operators should note and adhere to the requirements of Rules 5 and 6 of the COLREGS, namely to keep a good lookout and proceed at a safe speed.

b. Lee-on-Solent. The specific water ski area has been disestablished; water skiing may only take place further than 0.5 nm from shore. Waterskiing or other towing activity is not to take place in the PWC zone by either power boats or PWCs.

7.  Personal Water Craft (PWC) Areas (See Admiralty Chart No 2036).  Within the designated PWC areas, speed is unrestricted, but PWC users should note the requirements of Rules 5 and 6 of the COLREGS, namely to keep a good lookout and proceed at a safe speed. Designated PWC areas have been established as follows:

a.  Lee-on-Solent. At Lee-on-Solent a variety of water sports take place in the vicinity of the Hovercraft slipway. At all times, all water users are to keep a sharp lookout for swimmers and ensure they keep well clear. After a recent review of the operation of this area, the PWC Area is now bounded by the following positions:

50° 48’ .47 N                                     001° 12’ .75 W

50° 48’ .35 N                                     001° 12’ .58 W

50° 48’ .05 N                                     001° 13’ .17 W

50° 48’ .15 N                                     001° 13’ .34 W

This area is marked by yellow buoys at the east and west limits extending out from the groynes either side of the slipway. A buoy is placed either side of the outermost bouys, indicating the extent of the 1000yd (0.5nm) distance from shore. Within this area, PWCs, commonly known as jet skis, are authorised to exceed 10 knots. PWC operators remain responsible for their own safety and that of other water users and they are to ensure they remain a safe distance from other craft and swimmers at all times. The image below shows the inshore arrangements and signage placed at Lee-on-Solent.

Other Vessels. The PWC area is designed to allow these craft to operate safely at speed; other vessels are therefore advised to remain clear but if requiring to transit the PWC area, should do so as expeditiously as possible. Other vessels using the PWC area are to adhere to the 10 knots speed limit.

Swimming. For safety reasons, swimming is not advised in the PWC area.

b. Eastney. A PWC area is established 600m south of the beach at Eastney and 400m west of the approaches to the Langstone Harbour entrance.  The area is bounded by the following positions: 

50° 46’ 78 N                                      001° 02’ 73 W

50° 46’ 88 N                                      001° 02’ 09 W

50° 46’ 69 N                                      001° 01’ 96 W

50° 46’ 58 N                                      001° 02’ 58 W

This area is not marked by buoys. Within this area, PWCs will operate at high speed; other water uses should take care when entering.

8. Swimming (Eastney). An area solely for swimming is established and bounded by four yellow unlit spherical buoys approximately 100 metres off shore running easterly from 50°46’80N, 001°03’65W to 50°46’85N, 001°03’50W. Mariners are advised that this is a measure to reduce risk of casualties between swimmers and small leisure craft. Mariners are to remain seaward of the swim area, maintaining a good all round lookout at all times and to proceed at a speed consistent with safe navigation, taking full regard of any effect their wake may have on swimmers in the water.

9. Contravention of the rules contained within this General Direction is a criminal offence.

10. Portsmouth GD 07/13 is hereby superseded.