Keswick Launch on Derwentwater copyright Lorna Egan

On the water around Derwentwater

Take a cruise

You can take a 50 minute cruise around Derwentwater on Keswick Launch (opens in new window). You can buy discounted tickets from Keswick Information Centre when you're here.

Captain your own boat

Boats can be hired directly from Keswick Launch (opens in new window) at the lakeside. These vary from rowing boats to self-drive motor boats.

Canoeing and sailing

To launch your own sailing craft, hire or have some sailing lessons visit:

To see where you can launch your boat, and other great tips, take a look at Derwentwater lake users' guide leaflet (PDF) and Derwentwater map (PDF).

Fishing on Derwentwater

To fish on Derwentwater you will need a permit from Keswick Angling Association as well as a rod licence from the Environment Agency before you can start fishing. 

Keswick Information Centre can issue you with both.

Swimming in Derwentwater

Please do keep close to the shore. Whilst there are some areas of shallow water that may be warm, the deeper water can be cold.

Visit Derwent Isle on Derwentwater

Five times a year, Derwent Island House on Derwent Isle is open to the public. Enjoy a boat trip or even canoe to the island. More details at National Trust - Derwent Isle (opens in new window).

SwimSafe code

Be Seen, have support

Swimmers may be able to see boaters but boaters may not be able to see swimmers!

  • Have a safety boat or canoe support displaying a white and blue Alpha flag Blue and white Alpha flag, warning of divers or swimmers in the water.
  • Wear a bright swim cap and tow a bright float.
  • Never swim alone.

Take a look at the photos below. If you were steering a boat, which swimmer is easier to spot?

Showing how much easier a swimmer is to spot when next to a support boat

Be Water wise

Exposure to cool water can rapidly lead to hypothermia

  • Wear a wetsuit to keep you warmer and more buoyant.
  • Enter the water slowly to get used to it.
  • Check the depth and the water bed by walking in carefully.
  • Don't jump in.

Be Informed

Other people use the lakes too! Windermere, Derwentwater, Coniston Water and Ullswater are busy with boats. People on boats may struggle to see swimmers. A collision with any boat can be fatal.

  • Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.

Be Mindful

  • Choose one of the quieter lakes that do not allow boats.
  • Avoid mooring areas, marinas and jetties used by boats, ferry routes and boating channels.
  • Be aware boaters may be in any area of the lake at any time of day or night.
  • Only swim when weather conditions are suitable - remember they can change quickly.

BoatSafe code

Be aware

  • A white and blue Alpha flag Blue and white Alpha flag, warning of divers or swimmers in the water means there is a swimmer or diver in the water.
  • Keep a look out. Swimmers are not easy to see.
  • Make yourself aware of the lake byelaws for the National Park's lakes.
  • If you are using a powerboat, make sure you have had suitable training.
  • Know your lake.


Swimmers and other lake users may be in any area of the lake at any time of day or night.

  • Maintain a proper lookout for swimmers and other boats.
  • Swimmers can be very difficult to see, especially when there are waves or sun glare.


  • Keep as far away from swimmers and their support boats as possible.
  • Boats supporting swimmers can not move out of your way.
  • Your wash can put swimmers and other lake users into serious difficulty.
  • Slow down and keep a safe distance.

Turn off engine

  • Always wear a kill cord, and make sure it is attached to the driver of the boat.
  • In an emergency, if you do get too close to a swimmer, turn off your engine to stop injury from propellers.
  • In an emergency ring 999 and ask for the coastguard. 

Print out a handy guide

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Moot Hall in Keswick, home to Keswick Information Centre - copyright Keswick Tourism Association

This page is brought to you by the staff of Keswick Information Centre.

We can help you with booking accommodation, tickets or attractions. See us in Moot Hall in the Market Place, home to Keswick Information Centre.