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marine leisure

Marine leisure

Scotland has some of the best sailing waters in Europe and demand for mooring space is high.

Whilst navigation in coastal waters is a public right, the laying of a permanent mooring, or other equipment to hold a vessel, requires consent from the relevant landowner. For seabed, this consent will nearly always come from Crown Estate Scotland. 

Our role

We operate a licensing system to provide security of tenure for boat owners, whilst protecting the interests of other marine users. 

Licences and Consents

For details of the licences we offer, how to obtain them and other relevant information about consents, please consult the sections below.

Types of licence

We issue three types of mooring licence: 

  • individual, suitable for private individuals 
  • commercial, a licence for businesses such as ferry operators, boatyards, charter boats and diving vessels 
  • associations. We help set up moorings associations to provide a degree of local management. Once established, associations are given a seabed agreement enabling them to manage their members’ moorings within a specific area. Associations are suitable for groups of ten or more moorings and provide a degree of security as pressure on areas traditionally occupied by moorings increases. Another advantage is that the annual charge is less than the fee for an individual mooring.

Obtaining a licence

To apply for a licence, follow these steps:

  • contact our Community Marine Officers to discuss the chosen position(s) for your mooring(s) 
  • complete a Mooring Licence application form and submit it to scotland-marine@bidwells.co.uk 
  • if your mooring(s) do(es) not conflict with any existing or proposed works, your application will be passed to our local representative to progress 

Our Community Marine Officers have a wealth of experience on all marine matters and are available to offer advice and assistance on the licensing process. They will also tell you if there are existing rights or activities that may prevent us from granting you a licence for your chosen position(s).

If you are interested in forming an association, please contact scotland-marine@bidwells.co.uk and one of their team will be in touch. 

Statutory navigation consents

Mooring owners will also need to obtain statutory navigation consent from the Scottish Government, a Harbour Authority or the Clyde Moorings Committee to ensure that your mooring will not constitute a hazard to navigation.

The process will vary depending on the location of your mooring and we can advise you on this.

Loch Creran - Special Area of Conservation

Loch Creran is a Special Area of Conservation. Argyll & Bute Council has specific guidelines for anyone wishing to install a mooring. These can be found at www.argyllmarinesac.org 

Please note that we work closely with bodies representing the sailing and boating community to prevent unregulated moorings remaining. We can take legal action to have them removed to protect the safety and interests of other marine users.

Applications in the Orkney Marine Region

If your interest is in marine activity in the Orkney Marine Region, please contact the Pilot Programme Officer at seabed.assets@orkney.gov.ukYou can learn more about Crown Estate Scotland’s Local Management Pilot Programme here or at www.orkney.gov.uk/seabed.