Around the UK are many places where boats can be launched and recovered. Often these places are privately owned but there are many public sites too.

Below is a list of local launch sites that may be of use to you. In many cases, fees may be payable locally. It is possible that recent weather conditions may affect the launch site and some sites may not always be suitable in all conditions. Please check the suitability of the launch site for your own boats and what fees may be applicable for your boat. The sites below don't require you to join a local club, such as a yacht club. Most of the launch sites are accessible at all states of the tide. Many run over stones, so you would be advised to use a 4x4 vehicle that is suitably equipped for both launching and recovering the boat.

General advice on towing, launching and recovering RIBs for Divers

Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire

Stokes Bay, Hampshire - No2 Battery

Stokes Bay, Hampshire - GAFIRS

Gosport, Hampshire

Eastney, Portsmouth, Hampshire

Hayling Island, Hampshire

East Whittering, West Sussex

East Beach, Selsey, West Sussex

Littlehampton, West Sussex


General advice on towing, launching and recovering RIBs for Divers

The video below was presented by Dave Pegler, an Advanced Instructor and First Class Diver, based in the Dorset area.

Useful links from the above video and a couple of others

Note: The law on towing changed after the above video was recorded, so please read up on what is current. Do check to see that this link is still current. The link below was correct in November 2021.

New rules for towing a trailer with a car from 16 December 2021

Checks before you tow

Boat Launch UK website

Planning - Risk Assessments by Dave Pegler (BSAC Membership required)

Safety on the boat (BSAC Website) (various links to useful pages)

BSAC Safe Diving Guide - Seamanship

Guidelines for the Safe Operation of Member Club Dive Boats

BSAC Seamanship Courses

Level 2 Powerboat Handling


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Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire

Until recently the slipway opposite what is now the Hovercraft Museum on the old HMS Daedalus site was fully open to boat launches. Recently a barrier has been erected and there is now a height limit. Also, the museum has been chartering more Hovercraft trips between Lee-on-the-Solent and Ryde on the Isle of Wight. It may still be possible to launch some RIBs from here, but the height limit (details to follow) may stop many club boats as the A-Frame may be too high.

At the time of writing, there is no fee for launching a RIB.

Hovercraft Museum


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Stokes Bay, Hampshire

There are a couple of potential launch sites at Stokes Bay. If there is a large event happening then all the car parks can become full. Traffic can also become an issue and it has been known for Stokes Bay Road to become closed or restricted to one-way traffic.

The first is near to the Diving Museum. With a suitable 4x4 vehicle, it is possible to launch over the stones. The car park is Pay & Display. The public toilets are locked up in the evenings.

Gosport Diving Museum

The better launch site is the concrete slipway beside GAFIRS. The suggestion is to prepare your boat prior to moving onto the slip, then keep your boat clear on the side where the Lifeboat Station is when you launch and later retrieve your boat. There is a good carpark at this site, with plenty of space providing that there is no local event happening. The parking is pay & display. The public toilets are locked up in the evenings.

Gilkicker Car Park


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Hardway Slipway, Gosport, Hampshire

Please remember to follow the Portsmouth Harbour small boats procedures and any other applicable procedures whilst within the harbour area. There are times when the entrance may be closed, such as when one of the carriers is moving in or out. It is highly recommended that you check for any shipping movements to ensure that these times do not interfere with your dive planning.

Gosport Public Slipway, Hardway Slipway - Bye-laws

Hardway Slipway Car Park


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Eastney, Portsmouth, Hampshire

Free parking is nearby. You must pay the local harbour fees for Langstone Harbour. These can be paid over the phone or in person.

Launching and recovery of the boat is done over the beach. Often the stones form a small mound that can make if “challenging” to get a boat & trailer over. Should this be a problem, then you can contact the local council to ask them to clear it. Typically this may take a few days to be done. It is highly recommended that you have some long strops to help recover your boat if it is heavy or you are likely to have issues moving on the beach.

Do observe the local speed limit whilst in the harbour area of 10kts. As you head out to the Solent, there is a speed limit sign on the end of a pier used by locals for fishing. After this point, you may increase your speed.

There are no public toilets available at the slipway. The nearest toilets are located either at a nearby restaurant, which is a short walk away or on the other side of the water behind The Ferry Boat Inn on Hayling Island. Should you need to use the toilets at the restaurant, please be respectful as they are not keen on lots of divers traipsing in wearing their diving suits. The toilets on Hayling Island are better and it isn't too difficult to get to from the slipway or the Hayling Ferry Jetty.

There is normally a good refreshments trailer located near the Lifeboat station where you can get hot food & drink.


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Hayling Island, Hampshire

Whilst this is a public slipway, as with the Eastney Public slip you must pay the local harbour fees for Langstone Harbour. Nearby Public Parking is available, but charges do apply for around half the year. Check for any changes online, as like many others, Havant Borough Council have changed the policy in recent years and it may be only a matter of time before they may the charges applicable all year round.

The public toilets are normally well looked after. Food and drink are available in the popular Ferryboat Inn.

Whilst the slipway on Hayling Island is easier to launch and recover from, we typically prefer to use the one at Eastney as the parking is free.


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East Whittering, West Sussex

Billy's on the Beach, Bracklesham Lane, Bracklesham Bay, Chichester, West Sussex  PO20 8JH

Launching here is completed with the use of a tractor that will take the boat and trailer over the beach. There is a fee for this service. Although Southsea has used this in the past, we mostly launch either at Eastney or Selsey for wrecks in this area.


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East Beach, Selsey, West Sussex

The route to the slipway starts at the far side of the public car park. The slipway is built from wooden cross-beams that are weathered. As a result, it is slippery when wet. The design is such that it also gets steeper towards the end, making it challenging for those who are familiar with reversing a trailer. It is recommended that you have some chocks to stop the vehicle from sliding down the slip and also some long strops to help recover the boat & trailer.

Caution: There have been a few incidents where people have had their boat, trailer or car fall off the slipway in poor conditions. The RNLI has been called out to assist. If it's too slippery, use the chocks and strops.

The road from the car part to Public Slipway at Selsey

Note: There is a turning point hidden behind the bushes in the image above.

Selsey Public Slipway
Selsey Public Slipway (near high water)

Note: In this third image you can see the general shape of the slipway. The water was approaching high water when the photo was taken. It gets steeper further down. The slipway does not extend into the sea at low water, so you may find yourself on the beach when launching or recovering at these times.

The height barrier to the public car park opens around 6am and closes at 9pm. The gatekeeper lives locally, so may see you if you arrive a little early. Do thank him for his troubles. Outside of these times, cars can get in or out, but not a RHIB and its A-frame or camper van.

Remember to pay and display before you head off to your dive site. The parking here is cheap for all-day parking. 1st April 2019 - 31st October 2019 the charges are 30pfor up to 1 hour, then £1.60 for over one hour. The charges are applicable every day of the week, including bank holiday

There are public toilets and a friendly cafe at the farther end of the car park to the public slip. If you need gas or dive gear, Mulberry Divers aren’t too far away either. It is possible to walk to them, but for getting a fill, it may be better to take the car.

The picture below was taken between dives as members who had dived the earlier dive were removing their empty cylinders and others for the second dive were putting their sets aboard.

Southsea Explorer being loaded (May 2019)


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Littlehampton, West Sussex

The public slipway at Littlehampton is off the estuary. Parking is available and harbour dues are required.

Parking for both the trailer and cars is nearby. There are also rules to be obeyed whilst in the harbour. All the necessary information, with various links, is available on the page linked below.

Littlehampton Public Slipway information


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Whilst we have done our best to provide good and useful information on this page, things can and will change periodically that are out of the control of SSAC. Please do not blindly rely on the information on this page and double-check that the information is still current.

July 2019: This page is currently being built. Some information may be incomplete. Where possible photos may be added too.

November 2021: This page continues to be revised periodically. More photos will be added in due course to help illustrate some of the slipways.


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