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Personal Water Craft

Public launch sites

There are two public launch sites in Dover District - other launches should not be used for both your own and other’s safety:

  • Kingsdown
  • St Margaret’s Bay

You may not launch your Personal Water Craft (PWC) from Deal beach.

Out on the water

When you are out on the water you are required to comply with international regulations for the prevention of collisions at sea and any local byelaws, which may restrict PWC use. You must always observe local water safety regulations but, as a general rule, must not exceed a speed of 8 knots/10mph when your craft is within 300m of the shoreline, unless otherwise stated.

Stay safe, ride responsibly

Observe these basic rules to make sure you stay safe on the water and do not endanger others:

  • Always be considerate to other water users.
  • Be aware of local byelaws that may restrict PWC use.
  • Read and observe the rules posted at launch sites.
  • Only launch from designated ramps.
  • If you are in doubt about where you can launch or ride ask an official before setting off - you could be breaking the law.
  • Do not exceed 8 knots within 300m of the shore.
  • Do not enter areas where PWCs are prohibited.
  • Always carry the correct safety equipment, including a waterproof radio and mini-flares, and wear suitable safety clothing.
  • Have, at a minimum, public liability insurance.
  • Attend the RYA PWC training course.
  • Register with Datatag, display your “Datatag Visible ID” clearly and keep your details up to date.
  • Where possible, join a local club and enjoy the many benefits to be gained!

Reduce your impact

In order to make sure you have as little impact on Kent’s wildlife as possible follow these simple rules:

  • Avoid sensitive areas and stay clear of islands and sand banks.
  • Use designated launch sites and do not enter into restricted areas - a number of these are designed to protect the local wildlife.
  • Do not launch from or approach roosting or nesting sites for birds, especially around high tide.
  • Do not beach at sandbanks occupied by seals or where seals are in the vicinity.
  • If you encounter birds or marine mammals (e.g. seals and dolphins) slow down and give them a wide berth (c.200m).
  • When passing wildlife, maintain a steady direction and slow ‘no wake’ speed.
  • Never harass or chase wildlife.
  • Avoid shallow waters where you may erode the underwater seabed.
  • Avoid the low water mark where birds may be feeding.
  • Do not dispose of any rubbish or contaminants at sea.

Personal Water Craft Code of Conduct

Follow this voluntary code of conduct and help to maintain the good reputation of PWC riders in Kent.

Report incidents

  • In an emergency contact the Coastguard on 999 or VHF channel 16.
  • If you see any PWC rider acting irresponsibly, endangering other water users or breaking the law you should report this by contacting the Kent Police on 101.

Protecting wildlife

You should consider your impact on the area’s wildlife- there are some areas on the coastline where the disturbance caused by a PWC could have a lasting effect on Kent’s important wildlife sites.

  • Sandwich & Pegwell Bay is important as a site for wintering birds, especially the golden plover, and breeding birds in the summer. Seals also haul out in the River Stour Estuary area.
  • Goodwin Sands where common and grey seals haul out and commons pup. Deal to Dover where the chalk cliffs support a large colony of breeding kittiwakes.

Where to go for further advice

Ports and marine safety advice

Wildlife advice and local information

PWC and water sport bodies

  • RYA training - 0845 3450326
  • Personal Watercraft Partnership

Where to use your PWC in Kent

A leaflet for Kent, including a map of where to use your PWC is available here:



Tel: 01304 872394

Email: propertyservices@dover.gov.uk