Water Safety

Plymouth Sound is the perfect location to enjoy being out on the water. Whether you’d like to go for a swim or get out for some water sports like paddle boarding, it’s very important to stay safe by following some simple principles.

Top tips to enjoy the water safely

  • Know the basics of swimming, and always swim within your capabilities
  • Bring a friend so you’re not alone
  • Wear brightly coloured swim cap and use a tow float, and a buoyancy aid and leash during paddle boarding
  • Consider wearing a wetsuit
  • Beware strong tidal streams
  • Be aware of where you can swim

Check out this useful guide by Plymouth MPA to safely navigating around Plymouth Sound and Tamar Estuarie

Before you venture into the water, be sure to check out:

Another heading before you venture into the water

The waters of Plymouth Sound are already home to a complex and diverse mix of uses – from naval and commercial ports to diving and fishing – which work effectively alongside some of the most highly protected areas designated for wildlife in the UK. Through our common endeavours these uses and strong partnerships will be respected and importantly developed further.

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nulla non metus auctor fringilla. Maecenas faucibus
mollis interdum. Fusce dapibus, tellus ac cursus
commodo, tortor mauris condimentum nibh.”

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FAQ Heading

  • Why should Plymouth Sound be the first NMP?

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  • What are the benefits of developing Plymouth Sound as a National Marine Park?

    These include:

    • Helping people engage with our stunning marine and maritime environment to promote health, wellbeing and enjoyment.
    • Reinvigorating civic pride.
    • Engaging new audiences with the marine and maritime environments helping to overcome the fact that 17% of children in Plymouth have never been to the beach.
    • Highlighting the extensive and diverse role of the Navy to the people of Plymouth and to the country.
    • Showcasing our world class marine science, engineering, and research.
    • Bringing together community, and business to raise social capital, trust and develop strong partnerships.
    • Exploring fishing infrastructure improvements, through close working with Sutton Harbour and the industry.
    • Supporting our Ports through strong destination marketing management and other economic development activity.
    • Helping our marine leisure industry use Plymouth Sound as a natural amphitheatre for events including; Fastnet, America’s Cup and the World Power Boat Championship.
    • Driving the visitor economy by embedding the NMP at the heart of the city’s Visitor Plan (2020-2030).
    • Raising the profile and extraordinary history of Plymouth internationally, driving sustainable tourism trade and research.
  • The Journey to Date

    Plymouth’s history, heritage and future prosperity has been and continues to be, shaped by its economic, social and physical relationship to the ocean. The journey to this point of Declaring our Intent has been significant:

    • In 2009, Plymouth established its brand, Britain’s Ocean City, to inspire, celebrate and promote its marine and maritime heritage.
    • In 2012 the concept of establishing national marine parks across the UK was conceived and has since been promoted by Plymouth.
    • In June 2018, a national Conference, (organised by Blue Marine Foundation with Plymouth City Council), Marine Parks: Bringing It All Back Home, was held at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, which resulted in consensus that Plymouth should be the first to establish a national marine park in the UK.
    • The Plymouth Plan (2018-34) adopted in 2019 incorporating our Joint Local Plan, focuses the city’s development and regeneration efforts along its HMB Naval base Devonport, unique waterfront, with world-renowned businesses, particularly in marine science, technology and engineering. It is reflected in the marine city deal and a marine enterprise zone, delivering new investment, new jobs and helping young people gain new careers and job opportunities.
    • Since January 2019, Plymouth City Council has sought to facilitate a citywide discussion on the national marine park concept and its potential for development in Plymouth.
    • We have consulted the public on the concept of Plymouth establishing a national marine park, evidencing wide support for this. We have met with a 75+ organisations and individuals who have confirmed their in principle support for a Park that targets benefits for Place, People and Planet.
    • We have discussed the co-design of the national marine park with the Marine Management Organisation, Defra and other statutory partners, who are supportive of the city’s ambition to provide a proving ground for the national marine park concept.
    • We have secured a £75,000 grant from the Marine Management Organisation to undertake a feasibility study.
  • Will the National Marine Park result in new restrictions for current uses?

    The National Marine Park is founded upon a collaborative way of working that will complement existing uses, enhance communication and work with successful and established frameworks already within Plymouth Sound. The aspiration to develop greater public connection to the marine and maritime environments is hoped to benefit Place, People and Planet.

    The National Marine Park will not create new restrictions for water users. Plymouth Sound is already one of the most highly designated sites. It includes a Special Area of Conservation, a Special Protection Area, a Marine Conservation Zones plus numerous Sites of Special Scientific Interest and 3 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The site also boasts numerous protected heritage features. The intention is to create a local pilot that showcases and celebrates the successes of the National Marine Park and Britain’s Ocean City. Then alongside that offer to share our learning with central government.

  • How long will it take to create the National Marine Park?

    The work has already begun and it will evolve over time. Our aim is for the Park to develop locally, in a way that provides learning that can be replicated nationwide.  It is an exciting opportunity that also comes with great responsibility.  We have a twin track approach:

    1. Locally, working with stakeholders over the next year to produce a draft business and finance model that will be consulted upon.
    2. Nationally, sharing our learning with national partners to act as a proving ground for the development of national marine parks across the UK.

    This does not mean that developments, projects and initiatives that fit with the vision for the National Marine Park will not commence until then. There are already many exciting initiatives underway including:

    • Building the type 26 frigates;
    • Oceansgate;
    • Marine Business Technology Centre (MBTC);
    • The Smart Sound;
    • Mayflower 400;
    • Illuminate;
    • Eco-moorings trials;
    • Fishing net beacons that reduce ghost fishing;
    • Establishment of the Eddystone Institute;
    • Innovate seagrass restoration.

    We want to continue to develop and promote our unique offer for enterprise and development that supports Place, People, and Planet.

  • How will the National Marine Park be funded?

    The National Lottery Heritage Fund

    The Plymouth Sound National Marine Park has been made possible thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, with the project receiving £9.5 million of funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Horizon Awards.

    The Heritage Horizon Awards were developed to support innovative projects that will revolutionise UK heritage and the Park was one of five projects to be awarded the funding in 2021.

    The Heritage Fund aims to inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

    You can follow @HeritageFundUK on TwitterFacebook and Instagram


    UK Community Renewal Fund

    The National Marine Park project has also received some funding from the UK Government. This project is part-funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund.

    The UK Community Renewal Fund is a UK Government programme for 2021/22. This aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK to pilot programmes and new approaches to prepare for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. It invests in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-community-renewal-fundprospectus

    Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership’s ‘Getting Building Fund’

    The Plymouth Sound National Marine Park received a grant of £625,000 from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership’s ‘Getting Building Fund’ to make a number of capital improvements to the waterfront. This has included: installing or repairing slipways, steps and railings to give sea lovers a safer way into the water; installing a storm gate at Mount Batten; introducing life-saving defibrillators; and the introduction of swimming pontoons during the summer months.

    The Getting Building Fund is investing in shovel-ready infrastructure projects to create jobs and support economic recovery across the country. Projects funded include:

    • regeneration of town and city centres
    • green infrastructure and clean energy
    • transport and digital connectivity improvements
    • unlocking of housing and business sites
    • support for SMEs and learners

    All projects have been selected by Local Enterprise Partnerships and Mayoral Combined Authorities in each area and endorsed by the Housing Secretary.

    The Heart of the South West LEP secured a total allocation of £35.4 million from the Getting Building Fund – the highest allocation in the south west.

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We want to create the people’s Park in the Sea with the Plymouth Sound National Marine Park, and to do that we need your views and input. As a thank you for completing the survey, we’ll be giving away five family passes to the National Marine Aquarium.

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Follow us on Instagram

Saturday searching for seaweed with the Coastal Rangers! #psnmp #SeaweedSearch #heritagefund @mcsuuk @NHM_CitSci ...

We can almost smell #Summer through this pic! The feel good vibes are sky high 🌊🌞🐶

#PSNMP #MyNationalMarinePark #PlymouthSoundNMP

📍 Plymouth Sound
📸 @the_salcombe_spaniels

Sharing some sunshine on this dreary day here in Plymouth...Happy #Friyay🧡🌊

#PSNMP #MyNationalMarinePark #PlymouthSoundNMP

📍 West Hoe

Take time to sit peacefully, breathe in the fresh crisp air, and watch the world go by in Plymouth Sound National Marine Park 💙

#PSNMP #PlymouthSoundNMP #MyNationalMarinePark

📍 Firestone Bay
📸 @prettyplymouth

Did you know... Mount Batten homes the 17th century artillery tower, civil war breastwork, and World War II remains used as defence from both air and sea attack. #PSNMP #MyNationalMarinePark

📍 Mount Batten
📸 @shot_by_reedy

Last week Ranger Nick went over to @mountedgcumbe for a volunteer day with the Mount Edgecumbe volunteers. They planted Lime trees, which are long-lasting and perfect for withstanding our coastal conditions.

If you want to volunteer with Nick as part of the #PSNMP volunteer programme, please email Nick at nick.helm@plymouth.gov.uk.

Here's his video in case you missed it! #PSNMP #HeritageFund #MyNationalMarinePark #PlymouthSoundNMP

The sun is setting on January, what's in store for you this February?

#PSNMP #PlymouthSoundNMP #MyNationalMarinePark

📍 Plymouth Hoe
📸 @marklamerton

Wow, what a #sunrise 🌤️

#PSNMP #PlymouthSoundNMP #MyNationalMarinePark

📍 Firestone Bay
📸 @david.walley

There's 1 week left to submit your entries! We're looking forward to reading all the suggested ideas on ways to protect and enhance the marine environment in Plymouth Sound National Marine Park.

If you're still working on your idea, that's great. As long as you submit it by 5 February, it will be considered.

For further details on how to take part, head to our website 👉 http://ow.ly/Kn6L50MrKFj

A quick glimpse of Kingsand, one pocket of #PSNMP 🌊 #PlymouthSoundNMP #MyNationalMarinePark

📍 Kingsand
📸 @nbruce62

NMP art at Firestone Bay
#psnmp @heritagefunduk

The Tompot Blenny! Captured on the James Eagan Layne wreck that was beached and sunk during World War II in #PSNMP.

#PlymouthSoundNMP #MyNationalMarinePark

📍 Plymouth Sound
📸 @chris_bush_uw

Do you have an idea for enhancing the marine environment for jellyfish or any marine animals in Plymouth Sound?

Make sure you submit your ideas for our Help the Sea campaign by Sunday 5 February to be in with the chance of making your idea a reality! More details can be found on our website ☞ plymouthsoundnationalmarinepark.com/helpthesea

We love this capture by @laurenfrapephotography captured in Plymouth Sound last summer. #PSNMP #PlymouthSoundNMP #MyNationalMarinePark

📍 Plymouth Sound
📸 @laurenfrapephotography

What does marine nature in Plymouth Sound National Marine park mean to you?

Tell us your ideas to protect and enhance the enivronment via...

🦀Email - nmphorizon@plymouth.gov.uk
🦀Post - Plymouth Sound National Marine Park, Ballard House, West Hoe Road, Plymouth, PL1 3BJ
🦀DM-ing us a short video on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

The most innovative ideas will be taken forward and we will work directly with you to move forward with your idea.
You have until Sunday 5 February to get your idea to us!

Further info can be found here 👉 http://ow.ly/mRiV50MrJzE

Image credit - Sam Balderson

The stages of Ranger Nick’s morning dips 🏊‍♂️

Please make sure you have a towel to warm up and dry yourself at the end of your dip, Nick learnt his lesson…

#PSNMP #MyNationalMarinePark #PlymouthSoundNMP #VisitPlymouth #openwaterswimming #wellbeing

We're looking forward to a dip in Tinside Lido this Summer, bring on the warmer weather!☀️

Tinside will be opening Saturday 27 May. #PSNMP #PlymouthSoundNMP #MyNationalMarinePark

📍 Tinside Lido
📸 @healbomb88

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