to Poole Harbour
Poole Harbour is one of the world's largest natural harbours and its extensive sheltered waters provide a magnificent haven for recreational sailing and water sports. The mudflats and salt marshes are of great ecological value for feeding and roosting birds.
Sharing the navigation channels with yachtsmen are cross-channel ferries and cargo vessels proceeding to and from the busy commercial port. The local fishing fleet also arrives and departs at all hours. All this activity results in a very busy waterway, particularly during the summer months and care must be taken when navigating, particularly in the harbour entrance.
There is a speed limit of 6 knots in the Little Channel and in Holes Bay. Throughout the remainder of the harbour, the speed limit is 10 knots except during the winter months when the speed limit is relaxed in the shipping channels.
The Dolphin Haven at Poole Town Quay is a purpose built visitors' boat haven offering up to 100 pontoon berths with water and electricity available at all berths. Toilets, showers etc available on shore. Due to its prime location, the Haven does get busy in season and craft intending to visit Poole should book ahead to ensure a berth.
Short stays are available subject to numbers in the Haven.
There are approximately 3,500 swinging moorings in the Harbour, being either privately owned or hired from a mooring contractor.
Poole Harbour is an area of international importance for nature conservation. Sites around the shores are designated as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the southern part enjoys Heritage Coast Status. These shorelines and inter-tidal areas are Sites of Special Scientific Interest and are Special Protection Areas for birds. The wetlands are also of international importance. Within the harbour boundaries are three national nature reserves and three local nature reserves, as well as non statutory nature reserves managed by the Dorset Wildlife Trust and the RSPB.
Other activities to be found in the harbour include Board Sailing, Fishing, Jet Skiing, Power Boats, Rowing and Canoeing, Swimming, Water Skiing and Yacht Racing.