Getting Afloat

Want to get afloat or try boating? Here's how...

Give it a go

Getting out on the water on a yacht or motorboat, small or large is great fun. There are boating activities for people of all ages and abilities, and you'll see everyone in our marinas from toddlers in buoyancy aids to active octagenarians, wheelchair users and Olympic athletes.

It can be hard to know who to ask and where to start though, but we've got friendly specialist companies at all of our marinas who can help you every step of the way, from taking a taster session to buying your own boat.

You can even join our Spare RIB Club and have your 'own' Gemini 6.5m RIB for a week each month - it's the modern alternative to charter for busy people.

Here's a marina-by-marina guide to companies who can help you get afloat. Many companies cover a wide area, so if you like the look of one in particular, don't be shy, just give them a call and have a chat about what you want to do.

Bacchus Yachting
Why Boats at Deacons Marina

At Haslar Marina in Portsmouth Harbour

Sea schools and training

All good sea schools are recognised RYA training centres, and offer a range of practical and theory courses afloat and on land.

  • Bacchus Yachting and Sea School has yachts, a RIB and a classroom at Haslar Marina, and they offer everything from evening taster sessions through to full RYA boating qualifications. They also provide skippered and bareboat yacht charter.
  • Team Sailing have yachts and offer RYA training courses and skippered and bareboat charter.
  • Haslar Sea School offer RYA training with yachts and motor boats

Boat charter

Most charter companies offer a mix of ways of getting afloat, from selling individual places on 'have a go' days to race charter for experienced sailors. You can usually choose to have a skipper onboard - a great way to keep things relaxed and to learn some new skills at the same time.

Buy a boat

You can buy a boat from a private owner, or through a broker, who will handle the money and legal transactions for you and the vendor.

  • Edge-Water Marine sell new boats, including Sasga motor cruisers, Marlow Legend yachts, Sedna yachts and trailer yachts from Viko.
  • Waterside Boat Sales sell a wide range of used boats

At Deacons Marina in Southampton

Buy a boat

You can buy a boat from a private owner, or through a broker, who will handle the money and legal transactions for you and the vendor.

  • Why Boats sell new Ocqueteau motor boats and the Elan range of sailing yachts. They also have a wide range of used boats, from open angling boats to round-the-world yachts.

At Portland Marina in Dorset

Sea schools and training

All good sea schools are recognised RYA training centres, and offer a range of practical and theory courses afloat and on land.

  • Quality Time have a classroom on-site and offer a full range of RYA courses for power and sail, practical and theory.

Buy a boat

You can buy a boat from a private owner, or through a broker, who will handle the money and legal transactions for you and the vendor.

Boat charter

Most charter companies offer a mix of ways of getting afloat, from selling individual places on 'have a go' days to race charter for experienced sailors. You can usually choose to have a skipper onboard - a great way to keep things relaxed and to learn some new skills at the same time. 

At Weymouth Marina in Dorset

Sea schools and training

All good sea schools are recognised RYA training centres, and offer a range of practical and theory courses afloat and on land.

  • Weymouth Sailing have a performance J-Boats yacht and a Seaward motor boat for RYA tuition and charter.
  • BH Marine specialise in motor boat training on their RIB, but also offer own-boat tuition on any boat to 100 feet long.

Buy a boat

You can buy a boat from a private owner, or through a broker, who will handle the money and legal transactions for you and the vendor.

  • Seakers has a range of locally-based used motor and sail boats
Children afloat at Weymouth Marina
Two women drink wine on their boat in the summer sun at Weymouth Marina

Boating terms busted

Our helpful guide to navigating your way around salty sea dog speak.

  • Bareboat - charter without a skipper - self-drive
  • Beam - the width of a boat
  • Berth - a place to moor a boat, usually in a marina
  • Berth - also a bed onboard, so a 6 berth boat sleeps 6
  • Broker/brokerage - a company selling boats, new and/or second-hand
  • Chandler/chandlery - a shop selling boating equipment
  • Charter - the boating word for boat hire or rental, usually by the day or week
  • Draft - how deep a boat sits into the water
  • Dinghy - a small boat, power or sail, usually under 6m long
  • Fenders - inflatable or cushioned protectors to go between the hull and the pontoon
  • Inboard engine - usually diesel, found in yachts and motor boats
  • Knot - one nautical mile per hour (approx 1.2 miles per hour)
  • LOA - the length overall of the boat at the longest part
  • Mooring - the boating word for parking
  • Motor cruiser - motor boat with a cabin
  • Outboard engine - petrol engine that hangs on the back of smaller yachts, RIBs and power boats
  • Planing hull - motor boats that skim rather than pushing through the water. These boats can go faster than 20 knots
  • Power boat - like a motor cruiser, but usually sportier
  • Pontoon - marina walkways floating on the water
  • RIB - small open motor boat with an inflatable collar
  • RYA - Royal Yachting Association
  • Sea school - a training centre for power and/or sail
  • Tender - usually an inflatable boat used for rowing ashore if the boat is at anchor
  • Warp - a rope for tying-up a boat
  • Yacht - sailing boat with an engine
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