Lower Exe Mooring Authority - Notices - COVID 19

Lower Exe Mooring Authority





No.14/2020                                                                              2nd July 2020




From Saturday 4th July 2020, Exeter Port Authority will be open to overnight berthing, for those wishing to stay on board. This is in line with recent Government guidance (published 23rd June 2020) that removes the previous restriction preventing overnight stays away from your own home.

Visitor moorings are available, please call us on VHF Channel 12, using the call sign "Exeter Port Authority", or ring Tel: 01395 223 265when you have picked up a visitor mooring.

Please note : There are no formal visitors' landing points, visitors are encouraged to use the water taxi - call on VHF Channel: 37 or Tel: 07970 918418.


The Port Authority and Exeter City Council will continue to review Government guidance. Please make every attempt to remain safe and plan ahead, therefore reducing the chance of requiring assistance and avoiding unnecessary contact with others. We appreciate your continued support in maintaining safe and efficient port operations, whilst being able enjoy our beautiful estuary and canal.



Notice 11/20 is hereby cancelled. 

Grahame Forshaw MBE MNI

Harbour Master

Exeter Port Authority

Exeter City Council


Further update received 1600 hours on 13th May 2020

Exeter Port Authority Local Notice to Mariners


No. 11/20     

                                   13th May 2020



Covid-19 Notice to all recreational vessels



Until further notice


We understand that the last 36 hours has been a one of conflicting advice for all. We have received updated information from the government this morning and have made the following decision to move forward with lifting restrictions on the River Exe.  

From 00:01 on Thursday 14th May 2020 recreational boat owners (using any type of vessel, whether motorised or not) are permitted to use their boats in local waters for recreational purposes as part of their daily exercise and recreation away from their homes, but not for overnight accommodation. Boat skippers may only be accompanied by persons permanently residing at the same address or, where the vessel is sufficiently large to maintain social distancing, with one other person from a different household.


DEFRA issued guidance on 13 May 20:  https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-guidance-on-access-to-green-spaces

In England you can leave your home to exercise and spend time outdoors for recreation.

You can now:

  • Spend time outdoors, including exercise, alone, with your household, or with one person who is not in your household as long as you stay two metres apart
    exercise more than once a day
  • Take part in other outdoor sports and activities, including fishing – on your own, with your household, or with one other person while adhering to social distancing rules
  • Drive to outdoor open spaces, including beaches and beauty spots, irrespective of distance. You should travel in a private vehicle, alone or with members of your own household.
  • You should check first if facilities, such as car parks, are open to receive visitors and, when in the countryside, continue to follow the Countryside Code by respecting the local community and protecting the natural environment
  • Go swimming in either lakes or the sea as part of daily exercise provided that social distancing guidelines are observed – you cannot use public indoor and outdoor pools
  • All forms of water sports practiced on open waterways, including sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, rowing, kayaking, surfing, paddle-boarding and the use of privately-owned motorised craft (in line with the guidance issued by the relevant navigation authority) are allowed. You can continue to use towpaths for walking, running and cycling, being mindful of other users and people living in boats along the water


There are no restrictions on how far you can travel to get to the countryside. However, you cannot visit and stay overnight at a holiday home or second home.
Owing to some of the restrictions that remain in place, and reduced commercial activity, there is expected to be a far lower level of traffic density making reporting and response to any incident potentially far slower. Many vessels on the river will not have been used for a considerable time. In order to minimise the need for our emergency services to be mobilised, potentially placing them and you at risk, the following conditions should apply:

  • The latest weather forecast should be obtained and vessels are to be checked and inspected thoroughly before leaving the berth. This should include ensuring that all boat systems and engines are operating correctly and all equipment is in date and operating as it should.
  •  Lifejackets or buoyancy aids should be worn by all on-board for your own safety.
  •  Boat skippers are urged to exercise good seamanship, courtesy, patience and common sense as they begin to move around the river.
  • The skipper and crew of all vessels are required to follow government guidance in relation to COVID-19 to protect themselves and others they may come into contact with.


Visiting Craft

  • We do not anticipate visiting vessels from sea overnighting as government guidance excludes overnight stays away from home.
  • Exeter Port Authority visitor facilities remain closed for boats from outside the river, but we do expect river users to move boats to their annual residential moorings, including from other marinas and yards in the region.
  • Vessels arriving into the Exe Estuary from sea should make contact with us in advance to clarify their situation and therefore the suitability of their travel. Rules on arrival from overseas are being reviewed.

Please note that the advice contained here is very new and Exeter Port Authority and other marine businesses around the river will need to adjust their routines and ensure that the risk from infection of Covid-19 can be reduced by maintenance of distancing guidelines.

Please be considerate and allow staff time to assess the level of service they are able to provide. This is for your safety and that of the emergency services and the NHS.

Exeter Port Authority will continue to review the situation and any new Government guidance. We appreciate your continued support in maintaining safe and efficient port operations whilst being able enjoy the benefits of getting afloat.


Notices 09/20 and 10/20 is hereby cancelled.


Any queries please contact the harbour office on 01395 223 265 or email epa@exeter.gov.uk


Grahame Forshaw MBE MNI

Harbour Master

Exeter Port Authority

Exeter City Council


Update received 13. 05.2020

Mariners are advised that Exeter Port Authority will begin to relax certain restrictions on the Exe Estuary. 
Following from the latest guidance that we have received last evening;
From Wednesday 13th May 2020, kayaks, wind-surfers, kiteboards, fishing from shore, paddleboards (SUPs) and sailing dinghies will be permitted in the Exe Estuary and Exeter Ship Canal for recreational purposes on the grounds of exercising outdoors as with the Governments latest statement.   
Port users are reminded to ensure that equipment is of a sufficient standard and are used with proper conduct.
By using the estuary you are increasing the possibility of added strain to the RNLI, please think about this before undertaking your exercise. Port users are must follow social distancing guidance. Recreational use of PWCs, motorboats, sailing vessels and visiting vessels to the Exe Estuary is prohibited as we are awaiting further guidance from the Department of Transport and Department for Culture, Media and Sport.



Update received 13.05.2020

We have been following the Government’s advice in respect of Coronavirus and are putting measures in place to limit risks to port users, our staff, emergency services and the public. Although the Government is now easing certain aspects of the lockdown in England, there is not yet any specific advice on whether this is applicable to marine leisure activities. We are seeking clarification on this with the Government at national level. Specific guidance is expected shortly. 
Until we have confirmation that marine leisure activities are permitted and any relevant restrictions on them, we are advising that they should not take place. The safety of our port users and reducing the strain on emergency services is paramount. 
Therefore until further notice we have taken the decision to close the ski lane for all watersports activity.
Anyone seen to be water skiing or engaged in similar activities within the River Exe limits will be in breach of Byelaw 5 of the River Exe and Exe Estuary Byelaws, 1976.
Furthermore, even when we are able to reopen our facilities, users should be aware that practices to preserve social distancing will be needed as is prescribed in Government advice issued this week (and further specific guidance to be issued). This means that we may need a short period of time to assess risks and modify arrangements. In the meantime we thank you for your patience and understanding. We share your wish to see safe recreational marine activities again and to kick start the summer season as soon as is practically possible. 


12th May 2020


Exeter Port Authority


We have received a high number of calls from members of the public keen to get back out on the water. We are working through the detail with the United Kingdom Harbour Masters Association, British Ports Association, RYA, British Marine and the UK Government to clarify what the latest announcement means for the Exeter Ship Canal and Exe Estuary, and our marine operations and policies.

Recreational sailing has not been specifically mentioned in the recovery strategy issued by the Government. However, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport are expected to issue guidance later this week that should include advice on water sports in England. As part of our continued commitment to the health, safety and welfare of our workforce, harbour users and their families, Exeter Port Authority will continue to follow government guidance and the advice of governing bodies and authorities, to ensure correct measures are put in place to protect our water users.

At this stage our advice is to stay off the water. However, whilst the situation is unclear and the British Ports Association is seeking clarity from the Department for Transport we would ask that if you are considering going afloat from tomorrow that you take the following into account:

·         Government advice states that leisure activities are allowed provided you do not meet up with more than one other person from outside your household and that you maintain a 2 metre distance from people outside your household.

·         Follow the relevant guidance from National Governing Bodies of sports which can be found on the relevant web sites.

·         A statement from the RNLI issued today stipulated “At present, there are no RNLI lifeguards on beaches and although our volunteer lifeboat crews are fully operational, should they be needed, it is important that anyone visiting the coast understands the risk and takes the necessary steps to keep themselves safe. This will also help to reduce the demands placed on our lifeboat crews and other emergency services including HM Coastguard.” The full statement from the RNLI and their latest safety advice for anyone planning to visit the coast can be found here.

Exeter Port Authority thank our harbour users for their understanding and patience and we will advise you if there is any further specific advice relating to marine leisure.

Grahame Forshaw

Exeter Port Authority Harbour Master

12th May 2020