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Tor Bay Harbour

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Kayaking, canoeing and paddleboarding activity is welcome within Tor Bay Harbour and the sport can be enjoyed in many different locations within the Bay, including access to nearly all of the beaches and the Geopark coastline. Unfortunately, for safety reasons kayaking, canoeing and paddleboarding cannot be undertaken within the two seasonal water-ski lanes, namely Elberry Cove and off Livermead beach. Considering the need for easy access and nearby car parking the public are recommended to use any of the following beaches for launch and recovery of their craft:

Appendix 1 provides information and advice on beach access.

Public slipways exist at the enclosed harbours in Brixham, Paignton and Torquay, however, you are advised not to launch or recover your craft from these locations. The enclosed harbours can become very congested, especially the harbour entrances and fairways. If you have to take your kayak, canoe or paddleboard into an enclosed harbour you are strongly advised to take special care when manoeuvring and keep well clear of all other craft at all times. If the Harbour Master considers it necessary the launching of such craft within any of the enclosed harbours will be denied in the interest of public safety.

As indicated above it is recommended that all kayaks, canoes and paddleboards are launched and recovered at the named beaches rather than the harbour slipways.

General Advice and Policy

The users of kayaks, canoes and paddleboards are reminded that they are responsible for their own safety and for any others who are in or on their craft. Always think about safety first when using your craft. In general terms, you should be familiar with the local boating activity and obey harbour bye-laws and regulations.

Chose your equipment carefully and undertake suitable training on how it should be used. Make sure your kayak, canoe or paddleboard is in good working condition and dress appropriately for the prevailing conditions. Include extra clothing and provisions to allow for changes in the weather, no matter how nice the day appears. There is an increased risk of hyperthermia during winter months. Anyone who wishes to paddle during the colder months is strongly encouraged to wear appropriate cold weather gear. e.g. wet suits or dry suits.

Environmental conditions can overwhelm even the most adept swimmers. Users should know the water and weather conditions before going out into the Bay. Tide tables are available through a variety of sources, including the Harbour Offices at Torquay, Brixham and Paignton. Wind is a powerful factor in paddle sports. Remember that if you start paddling with the wind, the return leg will take much more time and effort. Be sure to conserve enough energy for when you go back the other way. Canoes and kayaks are often swamped by rough seas on windy days. Prepare for sudden wind and weather changes at any time.

Tor Bay Harbour Authority strongly discourages immersion escape techniques unless under the supervision or guidance of experienced kayakers or kayak organisations.

Please enjoy the diverse wildlife and our wonderful Geopark, but do not disturb any of the wildlife or natural land features. Do not approach wildlife so closely that it interrupts their natural behaviour. Please do not feed the wildlife. Kindly take all your litter home or dispose of it at an appropriate location ashore.

Invasive alien aquatic plants and animal species in some UK and overseas waters could be transferred to other waters on wet or damp canoes and equipment. These species could seriously damage our native species and ecosystems. Ensure you Clean and Dry your canoes, your clothing and associated equipment such as ropes, fishing tackle etc after use.

The Harbour Authority strongly encourages kayakers, canoeists and paddleboarders to limit their paddling to daylight hours. Guard against sunburn and sunstroke. Wear a hat and use a sunscreen with a high rating. Ensure you take along an adequate water supply.

No person is permitted to use a vessel, which includes all kayaks, canoes and paddleboards, in Tor Bay Harbour whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

For your own safety you must not paddle adjacent to a passenger ferry embarkation facility or any other commercial berth within Tor Bay Harbour limits.

Canoeists, kayakers and paddleboarders will encounter leisure boats and are strongly advised to purchase a VHF radio for communicating with other craft.

All kayakers, canoeists and paddleboarders are asked to give proper consideration to all other users of Tor Bay Harbour, especially swimmers.

The Harbour Authority would strongly advise all kayakers, canoeists and paddleboarders to stay close to the shore and where possible avoid open water where you are likely to encounter larger and faster craft. Due to size and profile, these sorts of craft can be easily missed by larger vessels. If a collision did occur you would almost certainly come off worst so it’s in your own interest to avoid these situations.

Safety

Tor Bay Harbour Authority has consulted with the Sea Safety Team at the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Canoe England, who would join us in providing you with the following safety advice:

If you are going beyond sheltered waters

You should also consider carrying the following items:

When Canoe/Kayak Fishing in addition to the general safety advice above you should also consider:

Additional safety items you may wish to consider in case of emergencies:

Emergency procedures and calling for help

Use VHF channel 16 for emergencies. “MAYDAY” is used for immediate distress only. If you are in trouble but not in immediate danger, use the phrase “PAN PAN”.

Tor Bay Harbour staff will monitor VHF channel 14 during most daylight hours. Call ‘Brixham Harbour’, ‘Torquay Harbour’ or ‘Paignton Harbour’.

Appendix 1 - Beach Information and Access Advice

Paignton

There is no vehicle access to Paignton promenade during the summer season but there is a drop off only point (no parking) adjacent to Paignton Pier. No trailers are to be parked or left chained up on the promenade under any circumstances; any that do will attract a fixed penalty notice. Trailers must be returned to a car park where the appropriate fee is to be paid.  During the winter season there is vehicle access to the promenade, and parking is allowed on payment at the pay and display machines.  Kayaks, canoes and paddleboards should therefore be carried by hand from the drop off point to the beach; consideration should be given to other beach users you’re your craft are on shore and any instructions from the Beach Manager should be followed.

Preston

There is no vehicle access to the promenade at Preston at any time of the year; although there is parking on Marine Drive. Kayaks may be dropped off and vehicles and trailers can use the on street parking or taken to the pay and display car park at Colin Road. Kayaks, canoes and paddleboards should therefore be carried by hand from the drop off point to the beach; consideration should be given to other beach users you’re your craft are onshore and any instructions from the Beach Manager should be followed.

Goodrington

There is no vehicle access to the promenade at Goodrington during the summer, but in the winter season, there is limited access and parking available at South Sands. No trailers are to be parked or left chained up on the slipway or promenade under any circumstances. There is a drop off point for summer use. Kayaks, canoes and paddleboards should therefore be carried by hand from the drop off point to the beach; consideration should be given to other beach users you’re your craft are onshore and any instructions from the Beach Manager should be followed.

Broadsands

There is no vehicle access to the promenade at any time but there is ample pay and display parking close to the beach. Kayaks, canoes and paddleboards should therefore be carried by hand from the drop off point to the beach; consideration should be given to other beach users you’re your craft are onshore and any instructions from the Beach Manager should be followed.

Breakwater (Brixham)

This car park is too small to accommodate trailers, so permission should be sought and/or alternative arrangements made. Kayaks, canoes and paddleboards should therefore be carried by hand from the drop off point to the beach; consideration should be given to other beach users you’re your craft are onshore and any instructions from the Beach Manager should be followed.

Meadfoot (Torquay)

There is on street parking close to the slipway, and a small car park at the north eastern end and another above the beach chalets at the western end. No trailers are to be parked or left chained up on the slipway under any circumstances. Kayaks, canoes and paddleboards should therefore be carried by hand from the drop off point to the beach; consideration should be given to other beach users you’re your craft are onshore and any instructions from the Beach Manager should be followed.

Car Park Charges

It should be noted that a fee is also payable for trailers as well as the towing vehicle when occupying any car park space. Visit the car parks charges page for more details.

This document has been produced with the grateful assistance of the RNLI and Canoe England.

Version: 6
Updated: 30 November 2018