In addition to the guideline information provided below, we have also prepared some ROUTE PLANS which are based on different times booked on the water. The ROUTE PLANS are designed to give a realistic indication as to how you might spend your time out on the water if you are unfamiliar with the Harbour itself or some alternative options if you are.

Holes Bay:    Cobbs Quay Marina is situated in Holes Bay so Holes Bay is the first part of the harbour that you see. Holes Bay is certainly not a quiet backwater and the numerous boats going to and from Cobbs Quay create an interesting and varied backdrop. Cobbs Quay is the largest marina in Poole and is home to over 800 boats and various marine companies.
Holes Bay is also home to the RNLI and Sunseeker. The new state of the art RNLI training centre watches gracefully over the expanse of Holes Bay. You can see all of the spare boats, the All Weather Training Lifeboats (eg TL – 01, “Training Lifeboat 01”) and their grey counterparts used for navigation and helmsman training. You can also see the Training Hovercraft, the 6 Atlantic 21s/75s and the smaller D Class boats.  As you pass the RNLI the awesome boats come into view. Sunseeker build craft from 38ft to 130ft here in Poole, the larger boats you see will be worth £3-4m, if you are really lucky you may see a 130ft boat (about £10m) being built. As you pass the Sunseeker sheds then keep to the right as you approach the Lifting Bridge.

Journey time: Suits a two hour hire

Poole Quay:    Bustling Poole Quay has many attractions. As you pass under the Bridge immediately to your left is the Poole Lifeboat station – the busiest coastal station in the country. Dorset Marine Police and Poole Pilots (they escort the larger vessels Poole Quay-304-optinto the Harbour) are based here too. Sunseeker has more sheds and boats to your right whilst the dilapidated old grain factory (it’s Grade 2 listed – can you guess why?) appears to your left. The Trip boats berth on the Quay wall  – keep well to your right – but not too close to the larger vessels or the wall – and keep a really good lookout ALL AROUND you.
The large marina is known as Poole Quay Boat Haven (formerly Dolphin Haven) – please keep away from this marina as it is busy and the fishing boats coming in and out take no prisoners!

Journey time: Suits a two hour hire

Wareham Channel & Wareham Quay:    Cruise up the twisting Wareham River between the reeds, the moored vessels and the little yacht clubs and you will come to the historic town of Wareham. Tie up on the quay wall and enjoy a drink, a bite to eat or an ice cream on the quay wall amongst the many trippers the town attracts. Do not let the boat out of your sight. 
Directions: Turn right from Poole Quay heading towards Brownsea Island.  After about 500 yards as you reach the ferry terminal on the right turn right and follow the channel towards the Wareham Channel. You will pass Poole Yacht Club on your right, Long Island, Green Island and the Arne Peninsula will pass to your left before you pass the attractive flats of Moriconium Quay, Lake Yard Marina and the Royal Marine Training Centre. Pass through the water ski area (keep clear of  the ski boats) and follow the channel. As you enter the Wareham Channel the red and green buoys marking the channel change to posts and you enter the twisting and sheltered river itself. The speed limit is 4 mph and is strictly enforced.

Journey time: 1 ½  hours each way, suits a full day hire.

Maryland Beach & Brownsea Island:  

Described as the Jewel in the Crown of the National Trust seeing Brownsea Island from the water is a great experience. The founding location of the Scouts and home to the final Red squirrels in the UK, Brownsea is a special place.  You cannot land on the majority of the island and you cannot anchor and tour the island – use the trip boats from the quay for this. You can anchor off the beach at Maryland and sit gazing at the bustle of the harbour from the tranquil setting of your anchorage.  There is an honesty box for those landing on the beach.

Journey time:  30 minutes from Cobbs Quay,  suits a two hour hire

Shipstal Point, Arne, Round Island & Long Island:   A tranquil part of the harbour with few boats but with beautiful anchorages, in fine weathers you could be anchored anywhere in the world. Watch the deer graze at the waters edge at Arne, keep an eye out for the harbour seals and gaze at the privately owned Long and Round Islands.

Journey time: 30 – 45 minutes from Cobbs Quay

Goat Horn:    Yet again beauty in abundance but a little busier. Anchor your boat just outside the channel surrounded by a variety of large luxury motor cruisers and yachts. Sit back and enjoy your picnic and watch the boats slowly cruise past.

Journey time: 30 – 45 minutes from Cobbs Quay

Bramble Bush Bay:   A stunning little bay near the harbour entrance that can provide protection in a SE wind. With a restaurant and terrace overlooking the harbour it makes a worthy stop. Due to the shallow nature of the bay care needs to be taken – please speak to our staff before attempting to visit.

Journey time: 1 ¼   hours each way, suits a 4 hour plus hire

Sandbanks Chain Ferry:    This is the car ferry that runs across the mouth of the harbour. This stretch of water is amongst the most dangerous in the harbour as there are numerous boats and the tide runs really fast. This is an area to be totally avoided by novices as the tides, boats and standing waves can be frightening and dangerous.
The Chain Ferry also marks the extent of our hire area, any craft progressing beyond the Chain Ferry (each boat is fitted with a tracker) will forfeit its deposit. THIS IS NOT NEGOTIABLE

Shell Bay Seafood Restaurant and Bistro:  is in a setting like no other. Nuzzled on the edge of the Isle of Purbeck, we overlook stunning Brownsea Island, the waters of Poole Harbour and Sandbanks,  Poole Boat Hire customers receive free berthing when dining in the restaurant saving £15  (subject to availability)