Poole Harbour Jetski (PWC) Byelaws

The rules are in place to protect lives and ensure that all Harbour users enjoy their time on the water safely. If you break the rules, we will take action.” - Brian Murphy, Poole Harbour Master
Be safe, be legal whilst you're on the water...

PWC (jetski) Permit

Holding a PWC Permit is legally required to launch and/or use a Jetski (PWC) in Poole Harbour.   
2022 Fees (inc. VAT): 

  • Daily: £20.00
  • Weekly: £55.00
  • Annual: £170.00

Buy your Poole PWC Permit online HERE

Poole Harbour Byelaws

Byelaws -The 'Must do's'

  • Have Datatag number displayed
  • Carry valid Poole Harbour PWC Permit
  • Have minimum 3rd Party insurance 
  • Only go out only during hours of sunrise to sunset
  • Speed Limits: 6 knots & 10 knots in main channel, no speed limit in designated PWC  Zone (FYI: 6 knots = 6.9mph / 11.1kph & 10 knots = 11.5mph / 18.5kph)
  • Be Aged 16 years + (unless you hold an RYA PWC Proficiency certificate) 
Datatag for jetski


  • Datatag I.D. Number must be clearly displaced on each side of your jetski (PWC)
  • Datatag Number must be registered to the current owner
  • More info on how to get a Datatag number can be seen at: https://datatag.co.uk/pwc.php
Poole Harbour Master


  • 24 hour CCTV coverage of the harbour including the PWC zone. 
  • Harbour & Marine Police Patrols

Poole Harbour Jetski Area

Poole Harbour Jetski (PWC) Area

Designated Jetski (PWC) area is North of Brownsea Island, marked by Yellow Buoys on its outer perimeter. PWC are exempt from the speed limits when inside this zone. Getting to the PWC zone from Baiter slipway is directly South towards Brownsea Island.

Poole Harbour Guide 2021

Where you can't go on a jetski (PWC) in Poole

  • South of Brownsea Island 
  • Quiet Area's
  • No lingering in channels or at Harbour entrance 

❌ Waterskiing & Wakeboarding 

If you want to tow a waterskier, wakeboarder, kneeboarder you will need to leave Poole Harbour limits to do so. 

❌ Inflatables

Towing of inflatables is not allowed in Poole Harbour. If you want to tow an inflatable with your jetski (PWC) you will need to leave Poole Harbour Limits to do so. 

Notable Vessels to be cautious of in Poole Harbour 

Condor Ferries & Commercial Shipping
Ferries & large ships are making regular trips in and out of Poole Harbour. They have to remain in the main shipping channels & do not have the ability to avoid you so please ensure you stay well clear. 

Royal Marines
Based in Hamworthy Poole, you may catch a view of single or fleets of RM vessels of all sizes sometimes speeding through the harbour when out on exercise. Please note RM are exempt from harbour speed limits. 

RNLI College
As the main training base for RNLI crews you will often see RNLI vessels of all sizes out on training exercises, keep clear to allow them to carry out their manoeuvres and practice. 

Sunseeker Motorcruisers are built in Poole and are occasionally test run at higher speeds (with permission of the Harbour Control). The area they generally use to do this is south of the Ferry terminal, westward (Hamworthy direction).  

Poole Harbour Zones Map

  • Jetski (PWC) area is marked by orange area North of Brownsea Island
  • Jetski (PWC) are NOT allowed south of Brownsea Island or in quiet areas
  • Poole Harbour Limit (& 10 knot speed limit) extends to black arch outside Poole Harbour Entrance (right side of map below)
Poole Harbour Chart (let) ©Crest Publications

Byelaw Enforcement

Harbour Patrol

Offences may lead to prosecution under the Poole Harbour Byelaws for which the maximum fine is £1000.00 + costs.
The Harbour Control Officer (HCO) has a number of resources available to keep watch on various activities, day and night, including Radar, CCTV AIS and the latest in 3D vessel monitoring equipment. The HCO is also assisted by several patrol vessels and organisations around the harbour as well as harbour users.

Dorset Marine Police

Dorset Marine Police

Dorset Police Marine Section has a responsibility for policing the Force's 89 miles of coastline out to the territorial limit of 12 miles. This includes the busy and popular Weymouth and Christchurch Harbours, the small fishing ports of West Bay, Lyme Regis and Swanage, and the world's second largest natural harbour at Poole, which itself has over 100 miles of coastline.

Rules of the Road

International Regulations for Prevention of Collisions at Sea (I.R.P.C.S.) 
These rules apply to all water users, wherever you are. They will also help you anticipate what others should do whilst you're afloat.

So, what are the collision regulations?

Remember there are x 41 I.R.P.C.S. / Col Regs rules.. these are just some of them.
We've included the rules that can be relevant to you on your jetski (PWC)...

  • Rule 5) Keep a good LOOKOUT at all times by all available means
  • Rule 6) SAFE SPEED - be thoughtful and considerate 
  • Rule 7) AVOID COLLISION at all costs. If you're keeping a good lookout, going at a safe speed this shouldn't be an issue! You know you are at risk of collision with another vessel (or object!)  when you there is a constant bearing (direction) and decreasing range (distance).
  • Rule 8: Action to Avoid Collision: actions to avoid should be positive, made in ample time in order to keep clear of other vessels.
  • Rule 9: Narrow Channels - keep to the outside edge & if you can get out of the way then do so! 

Rule 14) Head on situation: Both vessels should turn to Starboard (right) therefore pass 'port to port' 

Rule 15) Crossing situations: If a vessel is coming from your starboard (right) side, give way to starboard by either slowing down or turning to starboard to pass behind.

Rule 13) Overtaking: You can overtake on either side as long as it is safe and you don't impede the vessel you're overtaking. 


  • Rule 12: Sailing Vessels (Applies for 2 or more sailing vessels): Windward boat gives way, a vessel on Port tack gives way to Starboard 

  • Rule 18: Responsibilities between vessels: If the other vessel is bigger, less manoeuvrable or restricted in some way i.e. engaged in an activity; then move out of the way... either by following rules 13, 14, 15 or in the safest manner. 

OVERALL REMEMBER: We don't have indicators like on a road vehicle so make all your actions 'Early and Obvious' 

Vessel Day Shapes

Restricted in ability of manouvere

Sailing Vessel Under Power

Vessel Engaged in Fishing

Vessel At Anchor

Vessel Aground

Constrained by Draught

Towing / Being Towed

Not under command

Diver/s down

Vessel Sound Signals

1) Starboard (Turning Right))
2) Port (Turning Left)
3) Astern (My engines are engaged in..)
5) Your intentions are unclear (get out the way!)

Wildlife Best Practice

Invasive Species 

Invasive animal and plant species are one of the top 5 highest risks to global and UK biodiversity. Learn more at: https://thegreenblue.org.uk/you-your-boat/info-advice/wildlife-habitats/invasive-species-prevention/