Who are our Governing Bodies?

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) is the national body for all forms of boating, including dinghy and yacht racing, motor and sail cruising, RIBs and sports boats, powerboat racing, windsurfing, canal and river boat cruising, and personal watercraft.

British Canoeing: the national governing body for paddlesports in the UK. Formerly known as the British Canoe Union, Canoe England and GB Canoeing,they now come together under one unified organisation.


British Rowing is the governing body for the sport of rowing (both indoor rowing and rowing on water). We are committed to ensuring that the sport continues to thrive from the grassroots right up to winning medals at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

BSUPA (The British Stand Up Paddle Association) leads the development of the sport through training/coaching schemes for UK SUP schools, National and International Championship events, fun SUP events and BSUPA provides third party insurance for its members through Bluefin Sport Insurance Ltd.

The Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (AALA) came into existence in April 1996. It is currently sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions. The Health and Safety Executive is currently designated as the AALA.

Adventure activities licensing ensures that activity providers follow good safety management practices.

Duke of Edinburgh Award Approved Activity Providers (AAPs) are organisations, both commercial and charitable whose sectional opportunities have been approved by the DofE, as meeting our sectional conditions and can count towards the achievement of a DofE Award. AAPs are able to provide Assessors to sign off the section.

Who are the instructors?

Our instructors are all qualified to the standards demanded by the National Governing Bodies. They have first aid, safeguarding, disability awareness training and are DBS checked.  Their qualifications are kept on record and regularly updated.

What should I wear?

Casual clothing and non slip footwear that you don’t mind getting wet (preferably not open-toe sandals).

We supply wetsuits in a variety of sizes. Participants may bring their own. It is always colder on the water than it seems on the land so a fleece or similar second layer is recommended even if it seems quite warm.

We can supply some waterproofs but youngsters are encouraged to bring their own.

A change of clothes, a dry pair of shoes and a towel is always a good idea – just in case!  Lockers are available for personal belongings to be stored.

Do I need a life jacket?

We supply buoyancy aids free of charge and all participants are required to wear them. We have lifejackets available for disabled participants where they are appropriate.

Should I bring a hat?

All beginners to sailing and canoeing are required to wear a helmet (provided). Sailors above level 2 may ask their senior instructor if they may sail without one. It will be at the senior instructor’s discretion.

A cap or hat may be wise in sunny weather or a woolly hat in cold weather.

Food and drink?

We do not provide food. If you are coming for a day it is a good idea to bring a packed lunch and a drink. Water is available on the premises. We have a galley upstairs where it is possible to get a hot drink and heat up food.

Lunches, evening meals and drinks are available from the Cottage Pub next door for adults but we do not allow youngsters to visit the pub.   There are a couple of other cafes where delicious lunches can be bought – Pickle in Underfall Yard and Spike Island on Cumberland Road..  There is also a newsagent nearby.


Please look at individual session details to find out the cost.

Costs to schools groups can be obtained by contacting the office on 0117 929 0801.

How do I pay?

The majority of our sessions can be paid for online via our booking system.  Cash payments can be accepted if you are unable to make online payments or card payments over the phone / at the office.

Schools and groups will be invoiced directly.

Please note that sessions may be cancelled at short notice at the discretion of the Activities Manager as watersports are weather dependent. In this instance we will endeavour to rebook you at a different day. Cancellation later than 7 days before the session by the participants will still result in full payment being required.

How much money should the participants bring?

Only the cost of the session. There is currently nowhere for young people to spend money on site. However there is a pub, a couple of cafe’s and a shop nearby.

What if I have a medical condition?

Please make sure you enter it on the booking form and notify the Admin office (0117 929 0801). We have a lot of experience within the organisation in dealing with different conditions and disabilities and will always attempt to accommodate individuals and get them on the water.

What are the age limits?

Our minimum age across all watersports is 8.  There is no upper age limit.  We do offer some age specific sessions i.e. 50+ sessions, this will be clearly stated in the activity descriptions.

Is the water quality safe?

Water quality in the harbour has improved a great deal in recent years as is shown by the thriving fish population and the cormorants. A water quality statement is posted on the notice board in front of the Cottage Inn.

Click here to view information on Bristol Harbours water quality published by Bristol City Council.

Where can we find you?

Click here for location.

Valuables and security?

We have a safe for small valuables such as mobile phones and there are lockers for participants use. We discourage the young participants from bringing money, jewellery and unnecessary valuables with them. Their clothes and school bags will be locked inside the building. All external doors are locked when sessions are in progress but we cannot guarantee absolute security. Please note that all items brought to the Centre are their owners responsibility.

Where can parents go while their children are on the water?

Many parents watch the proceedings by siting outside the pub, on the steps or on ‘Jims Bench’ which is in memory of Jim Bull who helped to set up the charity. Sometimes it is possible for parents to wait inside the building but we do not offer this as a matter of routine.

Where can we park?

There is a public car park adjacent to the Centre but it can get busy in the summer and at weekends.