Can you get close to the cruise ships in Weymouth Bay?

Paddleboarders going past cruise ship
Photo by Andrew Bone (CC by 2.0)

With the lovely weather and unusual view of several cruise ships in Weymouth Bay, you may be tempted to get closer for a cheeky selfie.

Various passenger-free cruise ships have been coming and going ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started, using Weymouth Bay as their safe anchorage area.

With some well-known ships such as the MS Queen Victoria, it may be tempting to get closer to the giant ships.

Can you swim, paddleboard or kayak close to cruise ships?

You can swim, paddleboard, kayak or use other vessels to approach a ship. However, you shouldn’t get closer than 50 metres to a ship.

It’s vital to note that the danger and risk are so high that you should stay as far away from ships as possible.

The 50m exclusion zone is the minimum allowed distance. The reason for this is that ships have a dynamic anchorage system, where a ships propulsion equipment may kick in automatically to keep a ship in the intended location if it moves away from where it’s supposed to be.

The large thrusters can create a large and sudden movement of water, which could knock you over, or suck you underwater. Moreover, if the ship starts to move, you could be hit and may experience serious injuries – especially as this system is automatic, you would definitely not be heard and you might not be seen by the crew.

If you get too close to a ship, there’s a chance that you will not be seen. Therefore, as well as staying at least 50m away from the ships, make sure that you can always see the bridge of the ship – that way, you increase the chance of being seen.

As tempting as it may seem, ships pose a very real and serious danger.

Further to this, the RNLI has said that the enormous ships will be further than they seem, and even if you can make it, the wind will be against you on your way back – meaning that you might not have the energy to make it back to shore.

There are a number of cruise ships in Weymouth Bay during the coronavirus situation.

We know it’s very, very tempting to paddle over on SUP, kayak or other vessels for a cheeky selfie or to get the drone up to test your flying skills.

Please remember that there is a 50m exclusion zone around the vessels, and be aware of other CAA instructions around use of drones fitted with cameras.

Many of the vessels are still running and may need to move or reposition with little warning. The propulsion equipment poses a very real risk to other water users who come too close.

Please keep at least 50m away, and if you need a selfie, get one from a distance! Enjoy the water and stay safe out there!

Dorset Police
Ships at Weymouth Bay
Photo by Andrew Bone (CC by 2.0)
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