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Safety on Boats and Waterways

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Here is information regarding what is required both by law and by the practice of good seamanship to ensure the safe use of Conwy’s watercrafts and waterways.

Safe navigation

The International Regulations for the Prevention of Collision at Sea (‘Colregs’) apply to all vessels navigating in the approach channel. These regulations are not a code of practice but are part of British law, in which there are substantial penalties for their infringement.

All vessels are required to navigate within the approach channel and Harbour in a safe manner with due care and attention and with reasonable consideration for other persons. There are two rules that are frequently violated within the Conwy Harbour Approach Channel and within the Harbour limits: Rule 6 – Safe Speed and Rule 9 – Narrow Channels.

Safe speed

This rule requires that every vessel shall at all times proceed at a safe speed so that she can take proper and effective action to avoid collision and be stopped within a distance appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions.

The maximum speed within the Harbour is 10 knots.

Narrow channels

This rule requires that all vessels proceeding along the course of a narrow channel or fairway shall keep as near to the outer limit of the channel or fairway on her starboard side as is safe and practicable.

Vessels proceeding from seaward up the channel must keep well clear of port hand buoys, leaving plenty of room for vessels proceeding to seaward to pass on their port side and must keep close to starboard hand buoys. Vessels proceeding down the channel to seaward must do the reverse. All vessels proceeding in opposite directions in the channel should always pass one another port to port.

General Safety Information

Safety on boats and other watercrafts is paramount.

Remember before you set out to:

  • check your boat is up to the trip and has the proper safety equipment and enough supplies
  • make sure your crew can also make the trip - think about their experience and physical ability
  • check an up-to-date chart and a current pilot book or almanac so you're familiar with where you're going and any potential hazards
  • check the weather conditions
  • know how to navigate yourself to safety if your global positioning system (GPS) equipment was to fail
  • have a back-up plan and think about where you could take shelter if conditions deteriorated or something went wrong

For more information about safety on watercrafts, please visit:

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