The Lake District has more than 16 lakes, numerous tarns plus a 26 mile stretch of coastline. There are plenty of opportunities to go rowing, sailing and boating - here you'll find information about boat hire, boat cruises, lake byelaws and safety on boats.
Powered boats on Windermere, in use, moored, for private use or business need a current Windermere Registration, including boats with outboard or electric motors or other mechanical means of propulsion.
Keswick Launch (website) stops at Keswick, Ashness Gate, Lodore, High Brandelhow, Low Brandelhow, Hawes End, Lingholm and Nichol End.
Park and Sail (website) Park at Keswick Rugby Club for just £4 a day and get 15% off Keswick Launch tickets. The best way to reach the West side of the lake and Cat Bells, where there is very limited parking.
Our National Park includes 26 miles of coastline and estuaries. The coast, from Seascale to Millom, is quite different to the rest of the National Park. Here you can enjoy dramatic views across open sea and into the high fells. Where the rivers of the western Lake District meet the sea there are dunes and estuaries rich with sea life and the birds which feed on it. There are lots of places where you can launch anything from a windsurfer to a small boat. Find out more in Coast of the Lake District National Park (PDF).
Read on to discover safety tips for all boat users in the Lake District so you can enjoy your boating experience safely. Our Lake Rangers are here to keep everyone safe and happy on the water and the advice videos below will help you make the most of your adventure.
Safety tips for all boat users
If you're in charge of a boat, ensure you keep to the speed limit
If your boat has an engine, it's classed as powered and power gives way to sail
All vessels should give way to commercial pleasure craft
Powered craft must be registered for use on Windamere
Kill cords can save lives - clip it to kill it
Make sure your life jacket or buoyancy aid is 'CE Approved'
Wear your life jacket when you’re near or on the water
Fit a carbon monoxide and smoke detector to your boat - it could save a life
All boats, canoes, kayaks and paddleboards
Wind direction can change suddenly, be prepared, it can make paddling much harder
Look out for large boats turning, they need plenty of room!
Always pass two ferry lengths to the rear of the car ferry
Canoe, kayak/paddleboard with someone else or hire a guide, stay close to shore
Keep clear of swimmers
Watch out for blue and white flags, swimmers and divers are in the water and can be hard to spot.
Keep as far away from swimmers and their support boats as possible.
Remember boats supporting swimmers can not move out of your way.
In an emergency, if you do get too close to a swimmer, turn off your engine to stop injury from propellers.
See our Swimming page for details which lakes are best to swim in, our Swimming safety page for how to stay safe in cold water and around other lake users and our Lakes Activities Guide on where people can swim in our main lakes.
Our Lake Rangers are here to keep everyone safe and happy on the water. Their advice videos will help you make the most of your experience.
Carbon monoxide safety on boats
If you have your own boat please make sure that you have installed a carbon monoxide detector. These can be bought from Ferry Nab or any hardware store.
Life jackets should be worn during any water sport activity. Make sure you know how to care for yours. Life jackets should be worn during any water sport activity. Make sure you know how to care for yours.
During the warmer weather, blue green algae may occur on some waters. While this occurs naturally, it can be toxic and lethal to animals. Our guide to blue green algae explains what to look out for and how to report a sighting.
Invasive non-native species of wildlife can hitchhike on equipment, footwear, clothing and boats. You may inadvertently spread the aliens even if you just go for a paddle! Every time you leave any water such as a river, tarn or lake:
Check - Clean - Dry
Check your equipment and clothing for living organisms. Pay particular attention to damp or hard to inspect areas.
Clean and wash all equipment, footwear and clothes thoroughly. If you do come across any organisms, leave them at the water body where you found them or on a hard surface to die out.
Dry all equipment and clothing. Some species can live for many days in damp conditions.
The Lake District National Park Authority looks after this unique corner of England, encouraging people to enjoy and understand its beauty and helping those who live and work here. Our staff include rangers and field workers, advisers at our visitor centres, planners and ecologists.