Water Safety Information for Personal Water Crafts

Water safety information for personal water crafts (jet skis and small motorised boats)

With more people using the water for recreational activities the coast has become very busy, which has led to accidents, near misses and conflict in the inshore area along the coast.

At Swanage and Studland Bay, as well as many other bays along the coast they are special places for all to enjoy a wide variety of activities and for the wildlife to be safe and protected by all. The information on this page is for people who ride jet skis and drive small motorised boats who go close to shore.

How you ride or drive is essential so that everyone has a great time and lives and wildlife are not put in danger.

Support the S.L.O.W campaign


See who else is in the water

The water is a shared space, but swimmers in particular are hard to spot.


Look out for wildlife

Don’t harass or cause disturbance. We have some fabulous wildlife in the sea that can be harmed by noise, speed and aggressive behaviour.


Observe the sea conditions

They constantly change and can be unpredictable. The tide comes in and goes out 2 times a day at different times with the water moving in towards the beach or moving out away from the beach. 


Watch your speed

From the shore to the yellow speed marker buoys the speed limit is 5 Knots (assume 5MPH) – they are there for a reason. Where possible, for your safety and others we would suggest you remain on the seaward side of the buoys.

Also always remember:

Always wear a personal flotation device
Have a means of calling for help
Promote safe riding, get trained and ride responsibly
Always wear a kill cord

Studland Bay is a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ)

This means that specific features within the bay are protected and, where necessary, regulators manage marine activities. The designated features of Studland Bay MCZ are seagrass beds, long-snouted seahorses, subtidal sand and intertidal coarse sediment.

Studland Bay Marine Partnership

Studland Bay Marine Partnership (SBMP) are working to promote conservation of seagrass habitats within the bay, whilst developing solutions that will enable recreational boat users to continue to enjoy the Bay. The partnership have installed a number of ecomoorings within Studland Bay for public use, and have created plans for the installation of further moorings in future as an alternative to anchoring. For more information, please visit the SBMP webpage.

Important numbers

In a coastal emergency dial 999 and ask for Coastguard

  • Police Emergency 999 or non-emergency 101
  • Report an incident on line

Report an incident online

Check tide times, weather and sea conditions

Make sure you know what direction the water is moving in throughout the day. Check tide times, weather forecast and sea conditions before you leave home.

Useful information for riding/driving in the area

Byelaws provide the key information you need to visit and use the Dorset coast. Please download the relevant byelaws when planning your trips.

Swanage, Studland and Kimmeridge

The yellow 5 knot speed marker buoys are in the water from Easter to the end of October. The buoys are placed to ensure the safety of all those using the water by controlling speeds within the landside of the buoys. The area applies to all water craft (this includes jet skis and small motorised boats) and encourages respect, consideration and safety.

MMO ask you to avoid anchoring on the seagrass to help protect the valuable habitat and wildlife in Studland Bay Marine Conservation Zone.

Please see the leaflet below for further details of where the voluntary no anchor zone is located within Studland Bay and why we have put this measure in place. Visit the dedicated gov.uk page for more information.

Seaside Pleasure Boat Byelaw 2013 (covers Lulworth Cove, Kimmeridge Bay, Swanage Bay & Studland Bay).

Swanage Pier Byelaws 2012

Swanage & Studland Water Safety Information Leaflet

Swanage water safety map

Studland water safety map

Swanage Sailing Club’s weather in detail

Studland Bay Marine Conservation Zone Voluntary No Anchor Zone Leaflet