Portland in Dorset is a popular kitesurfing location with its lovely flat waters. It’s also home to the longest running speed event in the world, Speed Week and focal spot of most Olympic 2024 kite race training. However, there are some long-standing private land laws there that require kitesurfers to have a permit to use the water there.
Newly upgraded to by-laws, breaching this legislation means that trespassers can now be summoned to a magistrates court and potentially fined. This is exactly what happened to a kitesurfer who was found guilty of two counts of failing to to comply with a general direction issued by the Harbour Master, which was ‘kitesurfing in a seasonal exclusion zone and kitesurfing without a valid permit last September.’ Although the rider didn’t appear in court, the hearing went ahead and he was fined £75 and ordered to pay £60 costs for the first offence and then fined a further £75 for the second offence. On top of that he was given a £30 victim surcharge.
Ignorance isn’t an excuse unfortunately and there are signs in the area detailing such legislations. Like all watercraft, we are required to get a permit to kitesurf in the harbour.
Portland Harbour authorities say that the laws are there to protect the beautiful waters and heritage of the port estate as well as to help keep all water users as safe as possible.
Find the full rules and regulations for Portland Harbour here.