Places to ride your jetski when launching in Poole Harbour

Getting away from your usual area of PWC (jetski) playtime can be an exciting and great way to use your ski. After all trolling or speeding up and down gets a little boring after a while but it is also likely to irritate the locals. As PWC owners we could all do without the bad press that comes with the sport created by inconsiderate riders racing up and down near the launch site / slipway. 

 

We are SO lucky to be on a craft that allows us to go further afield, explore and investigate new areas. Many people don't even consider the adventure possibilities we have on a PWC but also those that do explore further afield often don't consider the inherent risks that go along with being further from shore.

What to consider when planning an adventure on your PWC (jetski) ? Scroll down towards bottom of this page for more information...

Where to ride your Jetski from Poole:

Where to ride jetski near Poole, Dorset
Poole Harbour jetski area

Poole Harbour PWC Zone
Designated zone within the harbour which is the only place there is no speed limit for PWC in the harbour.
Important Note: 

  • 10 knot (11.5mph) and 6 knot (6.9mph) speed limits apply outside of this zone (refer to map on this page). 

Image© Marine Resources Ltd

Sandbanks beach

Sandbanks Beach
Admire the multi million £ homes on Sandbanks Peninsula and the award winning Sandbanks beach.
Important Note: 

  • 5 knot (5.7mph) speed limit within 200 metres of the beach. 

Image© Poole Tourism

Old Harry Rocks, Poole

Old Harry Rocks
One of the most famous landmarks of the area, located at the southern end of Studland Bay.  
Important Note: 

  • Beware of shallow areas and currents to the North 

Image© Marine Resources Ltd

Bournemouth Pier

Bournemouth Pier
Check out the Pier at a safe distance from the water after running adjacent to the beach from Poole Harbour. 
Important Note: 

  • 5 knot (5.7mph) speed limit within 200m of the pier & beach

Image© marinas.com

Bournemouth beaches

Bournemouth Beaches
A seven mile stretch of golden sand from Sandbanks to Hengistbury Head.
Important Note: 

  • 5 knot (5.7mph) speed limit within 200m of the beach. 

Image©  TripAdvisor.com

Studland Bay

Studland Bay
A popular small craft anchorage & swim spot as its often sheltered from the prevailing winds. 
Important Note: 

  • 5 knot (5.7mph) speed limit within 200m of the beach. 

Image© https://wdlh.co.uk

Swanage Bay

Swanage Bay
Beach & small port area, a place where you can anchor up to go ashore & get some fish n' chips :)
Important Note: 

  • 5 knot (5.7mph) speed limit within 200m of the beach

Image© Bournemouth Echo

Jurrasic Coast

Jurrasic Coast
Explore some of the Jurassic coast line, a World Heritage Site on the English Channel stretching from Studland bay 96 miles to Exmouth (E. Devon)
Important Note: 

  • 5 knot (5.7mph) speed limit within 200m of the shoreline. 

Image© Marine Resources Ltd

Durdle Door

Durdle Door
One of the most photographed & iconic landmarks & part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage site. A fairly long run from Poole so pre-plan carefully. 
Important Note: 

  • 5 knot (5.7mph) speed limit within 200m of the beach. 

Image© Jurassic Jetski Tours

Hengistbury Head

Hengistbury Head
A headland jutting into the English channel between Bournemouth & Christchurch.
Important Note: 

  • 5 knot (5.7mph) speed limit within 200m of the beach

Image© Bournemouth Echo

Mudeford Quay

Mudeford Quay
The entrance to Christchurch harbour, if you visit beware of the shifting bar and 'The Run' with its variable depth and strong currents. 
Important Note: 

  • 4 knot (4.6mph) speed limit within harbour & approaches & 8 knot speed limit within yellow buoys.

Image© Visit Dorset

The Needles, Isle of Wight

The Needles, Isle of Wight
If you fancy a longer run then a trip out to the Needles, Isle of Wight might take your fancy.
Important Note: 

  • 8 knot (9.2mph) speed limit within 200m of the coastline. 

Image© Wikipedia

Further afield:

Yarmouth Harbour, Isle of Wight
Nearest place to get fuel to the Needles, IoW
More info at this link
Important Note: 

  • 4 knots (4.6mph) speed limit 

Image© Yarmouth Harbour

Cowes, Isle of Wight
Fuel, Slipways, Short term berthing for lunch etc
More info at this link
Important Note: 

  • 6 knots (6.9mph) speed limit 

Image© Cowes Harbour Commission

Southampton
Info at this link
Important Note: 

  • 6 knot (6.9mph) speed limit North of Hythe Pier. 

Image© Southampton VTS

Hamble River
Info at this link
Important Note: 

  • 6 knots (6.9mph) speed limit 

Image© Hampshire County Council

Portsmouth
Info at this link
Important Note: 

  • 10 knots (11.5mph) speed limit 

Image© Navy Lookout

Lee - on - Solent
Info at this link
Important Note: 

  • 10 knots outside of PWC Zone

Image© Solent Skiers Association

Protect our local wildlife:

Planning a Jetski Adventure?

Here's a few thoughts (certainly not all) on how you can be safer afloat and more confident in your explorations and maximise the use of your PWC (jetski). 

We had best start with the most obvious which would be the RYA recommended essential PWC safety equipment, but do keep reading down the page to see the planning considerations we should all be making before travelling further afield on our PWC. 

If you're looking at traveling further from your usual operating area you may also wish to consider the following: 

Venture Out, Explore and Enjoy.... 

.

Essential jetski safety equipment to carry

Killcord & Spare
If you were to move away or fall from the PWC it will detach from the PWC stopping the engine in the process. Carrying a spare will ensure if you loose it you can still get back !  

Anchor & Line
To keep your PWC in the same spot after launching and before recovery, when you want to take a break or in an emergency.

Flares
Two handheld orange smoke + 2 x handheld red pinpoint flares OR 2  x day/night flares. If you are in grave and imminent danger do not hesitate to use flares to get help - delay could be fatal in deteriorating weather conditions, when night is falling or after an injury.

Fire Extinguisher
For small electrical fires, to assist others.

Mobile Phone in waterproof case
A mobile phone can be used to raise help close to shore.

First Aid Kit
Slipways and seabeds often have sharp nasties lurking. 

Tow Line
For the occasion you need to be towed or need to tow someone else. Can also be doubled up as a anchor line or to tie off in a marina.

Chart & Compass
In order to locate yourself, if fog sets in it will assist you in finding your way. Also useful when looking at a Cardinal Mark Buoy  so you know which direction to go. 

Sharp Serrated Knife
To cut away weed, fishing line etc from your intake grate

Waterproof Torch
For signalling in an emergency and inspecting the intake / pump housing / engine compartment before launching.

VHF Marine Radio 
Can be used where there is no mobile phone signal available.So you will be heard by everyone in the vicinity that has a VHF.

Dry Bag
Put all your items into a dry bag to stop them getting wet and rattling around under the hood of your PWC. 

Tools & Spare Spark Plugs
When you arrive at the slipway or between sessions there would be nothing worse than a loose connection or similar stopping play

Water
Stay hydrated to ensure a longer and more enjoyable day afloat :)

Waterproof Suncream
Sun reflected on the water has a far greater effect than when ashore. Protect your skin from UV damage, sunburn & wind burn. 

Personal Jetski (PWC) Riding Apparel

Impact Buoyancy Aid
An essential piece of kit regardless of the weather or where you’re riding. This not only keep you afloat but will also protect your core from impact.

Footwear
To keep your feet warm, Good grip on he footrests,  protect your feet when ashore

Whistle
To attract attention in an emergency

Wetsuit

There are many types of wetsuits available. For winter use a 4-6mm is best with long sleeves and legs.

Eye Protection 
Enables clearer vision in spray, protects your eyes from UV damage, and glare.

Gloves
Keep your hands warm, enables a better grip on the controls

Spray Jacket
As most of your time will be on top of the water rather than ‘in it’ wear a spray jacket over the top to reduce the wind chill

Drysuit
Drysuits are ideal off-season or in cooler climates

RYA SafeTrx 

If you haven't already heard of RYA SafeTrx, now's the time! Plus it is FREE so theres really no reason not to use it.. 

  • Monitors your trip
  • Alerts emergency contacts if you don't arrive on time. 

Learn more at: https://www.rya.org.uk/knowledge-advice/safe-boating/keep-in-touch/Pages/safetrx.aspx 

GPS / Chart Plotters

GPS are a pretty essential bit of kit particularly when riding in unfamiliar waters. Being able to know where you are, where you're going, where the charted hazards are and what you expect to see along your route is very, very useful.. Obviously there are GPS apps (like Navionics) for your smartphone but being able to see your phone in sun glare is difficult, phones are expensive bits of kit and definitely not ruggedly built... 

Choosing a GPS to use on your jetski (PWC)? 

There are so many handheld GPS units available on the market now it makes it a bit difficult to choose.. however there are some simple things to consider when making your choice: 

  • Durability? - Is it waterproof? I.E. Will it stand up to the conditions you put it through?
  • Usability? - Buttons / Touch screen - Can you operate the functions with wet fingers/  whilst wearing gloves? Screen size - Is the screen size big enough that it's easily visible? Brightness - can you see it in bright sunlight?
  • Power? - Purchasing a unit with replaceable AA batteries (or similar) will allow you to carry spares afloat so you can change them when required. 
  • Mounting? - Some GPS units have mounts as part of the kit, some new PWC have built in accessory RAM mounts, you can also pick up aftermarket mounting kits or even make your own. If none of these work for you, keep your GPS in your glove box for easy accessibility. Having your GPS visible forward of the handlebars is best as mounting to the glovebox means you need to repeatedly look down rather than ahead & mounting on the handlebars can be irritating as the screen will be moving every time you steer.. 

VHF Marine Radio: 

VHF marine radio's are far more realistic for on-water communication than a mobile phone, you may be aware that there are plenty of 'dead spots' and areas of limited phone reception when on the water. A VHF will allow you to communicate with your fellow riders, marina's (if you need to get fuel), and request assistance in an emergency. 

 

Choosing a VHF for your jetski (PWC)?

If you can afford it buy VHF with DSC then do so. The advantages of DSC is a one button distress alert function which sends out an alert message to every vessel within VHF range and will include your location. 

If you're looking for a more cost effective handheld VHF then simply ensure it is waterproof or buy a waterproof case for it. 

VHF Licence: 

There is no law against owning & monitor a VHF without a licence & I have no doubt that in an emergency situation that no-one is going to respond asking if you have a licence however it is technically an offence to do this without a licence. Regardless its certainly worth knowing how to make an emergency call correctly should you need to do so, so have a read of: https://www.marine-education.co.uk/2020/03/25/vhf-distress-call-mayday/

 

However if you want to 'legally' operate it you will need to hold a VHF licence. This is not as tiresome or expensive as you might think as you can now complete the VHF course online in a few hours (followed by a 'face to face' exam) which will give you a 'life-time' operators licence to use any VHF set.  Check out this link for more information on the online course. 

Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)

PLB's are more cost effective than they have ever been and they are an accurate way of pinpointing your location in an emergency situation. 

Their small size means they can be attached to your Buoyancy aid so if you were to 'part ways' with your PWC whilst afloat and require assistance you can access it easily. Of all the emergency electronics available, if you've got a limited budget this would be my item of choice by far.. 
How do PLB's work?

When activated the PLB sends a signal via satellite to the rescue centre (Coastguard) giving your location and ID (the info you registered). 

Battery Life when activated is a minimum of 24 hours. 

 

If you buy one, don't forget to register it so the emergency services have the correct details and don't forget they should only be activated when in 'grave and imminent danger'! 

Planning a trip afloat on your PWC / jetski?

Planning and considerations to get the best out of your day. 

Where to go on your jetski (PWC)?

  • Is it worth it? Check out PWC forums, social media groups etc to find out some exciting spots to go !
  • Are PWC allowed? Nothing worse than arriving somewhere only to find that its not accessible.. check out local information online, in an almanac or local guide
  • Are there any safe havens on my route if things don't go to plan? - Check out a chart and almanac / internet to find the best spots you can 'dip' into if the weather unexpectedly changes, to top up your fuel, get a snack or if you simply 'need a wee' ! 

Is the trip realistic?

  • Calculate the distance and time to travel it may be much further than you imagined. Try to be realistic with your intended cruising speed travelling a 40 knots for hours is not really viable unless you are incredibly fit and have a larger than average fuel tank. Plus consider the effects of sea state, tidal streams and wind all of which could slow your overall speed down dramatically. 
  • Learn how to measure distance on a chart HERE
  • Learn how to calculate time to travel HERE

How to get there?

  • Make a route plan (passage / pilotage plan) - particularly important if travelling in unfamiliar areas/waters. Pre-Planning your route allows you to have a mental picture where you're going. Carry the plan onboard your PWC when you go, but even if you don't use it you have a reference guide if you get confused.. 
  • Learn how to create a route / pilotage plan HERE
  • Learn more by completing the RYA Essential Navigation & Seamanship Online Course - See HERE

Is the weather & Tide appropriate?

  • Check the weather forecast for the day you're planning, then again before you leave..things can change quickly! 
  • Learn about interpreting weather forecasts HERE
  • Check the tides - can you launch / recover when you plan to? Can you plan to travel with the tidal stream?
  • Learn how to read a tide table HERE
  • Learn about Tidal Streams HERE

Am I / my passengers up to the adventure?

  • Fitness - PWC riding is exerting, particularly if the seas are choppy. The longer your journey the more tired you will be, often you won't even notice for the first 60% of your ride as the exhilaration will take over, but when its time to head home, if you fall off and need to climb back on or capsize and need to right your PWC you need to ensure you keep energy in reserve.. 
  • Personal Kit - is your gear right for the weather / temperature? Riding for longer periods means you're likely to have changes in conditions so dress appropriate and carry spare gear. Always dress to get wet & possibility be in the water. 
  • Hydration - however wet we are on the outside, we need to remember the inside too.. as mentioned before PWC riding is an exerting sport so even when its not hot & sunny the possibility of dehydration is very real so take water afloat & regular breaks to drink it ! (oh and some snacks are always a pleasant bonus too.. nom nom.. 

Is my jetski (PWC) up to the task?

  • Maintenance / reliability? - When was your PWC last serviced? Have you checked the battery, oil etc? Getting 2 + miles offshore and breaking down is not an amusing place to be.. so do your best to check over your engine before you depart and make sure you carry a tow line so at least your fellow riders can assist you in getting home or to a safe haven. 
  • How much fuel do I need? Is there a refuelling point on route? 
  • Work on a rule of 3rds.. 1/3 out, 1/3 back and 1/3 in reserve.. you never know when you might need it ! (towing another PWC, if the weather / sea conditions changes etc)
  • PWC Safety Equipment - see recommended list HERE (in addition to the items at the top of this page)
  • Consider completing the RYA VHF Marine Radio Online Course - See HERE

Is there someone else I can do the trip with?

  • Its not only more fun to go with others, but travelling with another PWC or a powerboat offers the reassurance of immediate assistance if required
  • Always ride in company

Tell someone!

  • Give a copy of your route plan to a shore contact along with an ETA at both your intended destination and back at your launch/recovery point
  • Use RYA SafeTrx it's free !