Why swimming is not allowed in Bristol Harbour, the dangers, and future plans

Its illegal to swim in any part of Bristol Harbour.

Swimming is not safe because Bristol Harbour is a working harbour.

Do not swim or organise swimming in any part of Bristol Harbour unless the Harbour Master has given consent.

Dangers of swimming in the harbour

Dangers include:

  • cold water shock
  • getting hit by a boat
  • hazardous or discarded objects under the water
  • occasional very strong currents due to tides
  • occasional poor water quality

Swimming in groups does not reduce any of the risks above.

Find out more about water safety on the National Water Safety Forum website.

If someone's in trouble in the water

If you get into trouble near the water, or notice someone who needs help in the water, call 999 and ask for the Fire and Rescue Service.

Find more Bristol Harbour contact information.

Investigations into a potential segregated swimming area

We're exploring the possible introduction of a safe, managed and separate swimming area in the harbourside.

However, these facilities are not in place right now and will take time to develop.