Windermere: safety and speed limits

There is a 10 nautical miles per hour speed limit on Windermere, dropping to 6 miles per hour in some areas.

Code of conduct


  • Always wear a CE / BSI approved life jacket or recognised buoyancy aid, even if you are a strong swimmer.
  • Keep away from large vessels and always pass two ferry lengths to the rear of the car ferry.
  • Avoid collisions even if you have right of way.
  • Have public liability insurance.
  • Carry a First Aid kit and fire extinguisher at all times.
  • Children should be supervised at all times whilst on or around the lake.

Powerboats and water skiers

  • Observe the speed limit areas - 6mph is 'dead slow'.
  • When water skiing you must have at least 2 people in the boat over 16 years of age.
  • You must not tow more than 2 skiers
  • You must have a rear-view mirror fitted
  • Keep a sharp lookout for swimmers, divers and other boats

Boats under sail and canoes

  • Always wear a CE / BSI approved life jacket or buoyancy aid, even if you are a strong swimmer
  • Be aware of your own limitations
  • Board sailors should be aware of offshore winds


It is the responsibility of every lake user to read and understand the Windermere Lake Byelaws (PDF)

Copies are also available at Information Centres, the Lake Wardens Office at Ferry Nab and also on display at all public and some private launching sites.

Here are some frequently asked questions answered by the lake patrol team:

Do the lake patrol team use a laser gun to record speed of boats?

Yes. The equipment is the type approved by the Home Office and currently used by the police to record speeding on roads and can be used from land and boats.

If an offence takes place, who is responsible?

Just as in a car, the driver at the time of the offence is responsible and would be liable for prosecution.

Will I be given any allowances over the speed limits to account for faulty or inaccurate speedometers?

A faulty or inaccurate speedometer is no defence in court. It is the user’s responsibility to know and adhere to speed limits. Any allowances above the speed limit are entirely at the discretion of the enforcing authority.

If I am stopped for an offence do I have to give my details to a ranger or warden?

You are not obliged to give your name and details to anyone other than a police officer or to a third party if directed to do so by a police officer. This includes rangers and wardens. If an individual refuses to give details to a ranger or warden, a police officer will be called to take the person’s details. The police officer may require the person concerned to attend a place away from the water to give their details.

How do I contact the Lake Rangers?

For reporting byelaw issues or asking advice:

Tel: 0844 225 2922

If they are busy, please leave your message and a contact number and they will call you back.

Need more help? Pop in to Bowness Bay Information Centre

Waterfront at Bowness Bay

We can help you with booking accommodation, tickets or attractions. See us on the south side of Bowness Bay, home to Bowness Information Centre.