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Ceredigion County Council website

Coast & Harbours

Ceredigion boasts 50 miles of coastline, and some of the cleanest beaches and seas in Britain, with several winners of the coveted Blue Flag and Green Coasts awards.

Cardigan Bay is home to the UK's only permanent summer home of bottle-nosed dolphins, as well as many other kinds of wildlife.


There are bylaws in force that regulate the navigation of pleasure craft in the area surround the following beaches:

Aberaeron, Aberporth, Aberystwyth, Borth, Clarach, Llanon, Llangrannog, Llanrhystud, Mwnt, New Quay, Penbryn.

These bylaws state that:

  • Pleasure Boats are not to be sailed at a speed or more than 8 nautical miles per hour within the restricted area surrounding each beach between the beginning of April and the end of September.
  • The driving or sailing of pleasure boats in a dangerous manner or without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for others is prohibited.
  • The use of a pleasure boat propelled by an internal combustion engine without a suitable silencer fitted is prohibited.
  • Any person offending these bylaws shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £400.

Tide Tables

For Ceredigion Tide Tables, please see Ceredigion Tide Tables - Discover Ceredigion Website.

Nautical Courses and Distances

The following courses and distances are included as a guide, and mariners intending a passage should on every occasion satisfy themselves that it is prudent and safe to proceed on these courses.

From Aberystwyth Harbour Entrance to :- Course Distance (Nautical Miles)
Sarn Badrig Buoy 324° (T) 20.5
Sarn y Bwlch Buoy 334° (T) 11
Sarn Cynfelin (Patches) Buoy 282° (T) 6.8
Aberaeron 213° (T) 11
New Quay 219° (T) 14.5
Aberporth 225° (T) 23.5
Cardigan Island 233° (T) 27.75
Stumble Head (Fishguard) 238° (T) 43.5

The Ceredigion Marine Heritage Coast, Cardigan Bay Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Pen Llyn a'r Sarnau SAC

These coastal shores, cliffs and waters are home to an abundance of coastal and marine life including bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoise, grey seals and many sea birds and fish. The Ceredigion Marine Heritage Coast was set up to help preserve the unspoilt nature of the coastline and its wildlife. Cardigan Bay SAC and Pen Llyn a'r Sarnau SAC are European designations that protect special habitats and species within (and where necessary outside) these areas, including honey comb worm reefs, sea lampreys and sea caves. They are protected under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, which, along with the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) (as amended), also protects Bottlenose dolphins dolphins and harbour porpoise, among other coastal and marine species in their own right. Research has shown that dolphins and porpoises can be affected by power boats operating at speed, either by causing a collision, or by their engine noise interfering with the animal's sensitive echolocation system. In addition, coastal activities such as coasteering or climbing could disturb nesting birds or pupping seals.

Therefore, please help us to protect this area that is special to so many. You can do this by:

  • Not exceeding 8 knots
  • Adopting good boating practice around wildlife
  • Reporting any incident of deliberate harassment of wildlife to the Harbourmaster
  • Following the Code of Conduct

A Speedboat Zone has been created for the benefit of those boats wanting to travel at speed in this area safely. This area is free from swimmers and sheltered from the prevailing winds. The Harbourmaster is authorised to withdraw launching permits from defaulters. The maximum penalty is £400 for breaking bylaw speed limits.

The Code of Conduct:

  • Boats
    • Please operate all boats with care and attention for the safety of occupants and respect for other sea users
  • Seals
    • Do not interfere with seals or their pups on the beach. Please leave them alone as any attempt to approach them may cause them distress
    • Control dogs and keep them away from seals
  • Birds
    • When sailing keep 100 metres out from cliffs in the breeding season (1st March - 31st July inclusive)
    • Do not sail directly towards rafts of birds nesting or feeding on the sea
    • Please avoid unnecessary noise close to cliffs
  • Fishing
    • Do not discard fishing tackle - please take it home for proper disposal
  • Jet-Skis
    • Please do not launch or operate Jet-Skis in the area
  • Divers
    • Please observe the BSAC code of conduct
  • Beaches
    • Please take all your litter home
    • Abide by dog by-laws
    • Replace any rocks you move on the shore - the animals that live under them soon die if left exposed

More information on Cardigan Bay SAC can be found on the Cardigan Bay SAC website or visit the Cardigan Bay Boat Place, adjacent to the Harbourmaster's office, New Quay/Cei Newydd.

Stranded Marine Animals

Live Strandings

If you find a live stranded cetacean (dolphin, whale or porpoise) or marine turtle, immediately contact either

  • RSPCA 0300 1234999
  • British Divers Marine Life Rescue 01825 765546
  • Welsh Marine Life Rescue 07970 285086.

It is normal for seals to haul out. Only call the RSPCA, BDMLR or WMLR if you are concerned for the welfare of the animal.

If possible, keep people and dogs away from the stranding until help arrives.

Dead Strandings

If you find a dead stranded cetacean (dolphin, whale or porpoise), marine turtle, basking shark or seal, even if its in a state of decomposition, please contact Marine Environmental Monitoring, part of the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) on 01348 875000. This programme maintains records of mortality of each species and suitable carcasses will be retrieved for post-mortem examination to determine cause of death and monitor the health status of our seas. Further information can be found at or


Ceredigion's coast can be a place for all to have fun, but it can also be dangerous if safety advice is not followed. Here are some general tips for enjoying the sea safely:

  • Make sure you have been trained in how to perform your activity safely
  • Check the weather forecast and tide information before you go out
  • Wear a lifejacket, and make sure it fits and is the correct type for your activity
  • Make sure you can contact others- take a whistle or mobile phone with you
  • Make sure others know where you're going and when you plan to be back
  • Don't drink before going into the sea