The Solent is known internationally as a location for sailing and other watersports. In total there’s an estimated 40,000 moorings in the Solent, both afloat and ashore, ranging from full-service marina berths or low-key drying swinging moorings, plus on-shore drystacks for RIBs and other motorboats of up to 30ft length. The biggest concentrations are in the River Hamble and Southampton Water, in the northern part of the area, Portsmouth and Chichester harbours in the east, Cowes on the Isle of Wight and Lymington in the west. More information is available on the the Solent Forum's marine leisure pages.
There is high awareness of the potential impacts of boating on the water environment, especially as a result of campaigns managed by organisations such as the Environment Agency, the Royal Yachting Association and British Marine.
The Green Blue is a joint environmental awareness programme created by the Royal Yachting Association and British Marine, it works closely with Defra, Natural England and the Environment Agency.
The main campaigns it runs are:
The Environment Agency and Natural England hosted a 'Solent boating and water quality workshop’ in June 2019 (view the the workshop outputs). Its aim was to look at ways to change recreational boating behaviour, and improve waste disposal facilities to reduce the risk of pollution from discharges of ‘black water’. It is important to tackle the sources of bacterial contamination as it can put peoples’ health at risk, and effect local communities and the economy, when any one of the Solent's 22 bathing beaches or 18 shellfish harvesting areas are impacted. A further workshop is planned in 2020.