Swimming and the Environment | Poole Harbour Watersports

Swimming and the Environment

We all love being on the water, but there’s nothing worse than when the conditions are right and you’re ready to go, but you’re stopped due to poor water quality and water pollution.

The surfing, swimming and windsurfing community are all in support of the marine environment. Recently, we have seen this ever-growing issue become increasingly worse and damaging to not only animals, but us too, with stomach bugs, and eye infections worsening.  


The main cause is from untreated sewage and waste water discharges. Although these are expected during storms and sewer overflows with heavy downpour, along the coast we are seeing this become a more frequent method to discharge of the waste, even during periods when there isn’t too much rainfall.

“In 2020 there were over 400,000 discharges of untreated sewage into UK rivers and almost 5,500 discharges into UK coastal bathing waters.

The sheer volume of sewage and run-off entering the water means the UK is consistently  ranked as one of the worst European countries for coastal water quality and only 14% of rivers meet good ecological status. “ – Surfers Against Sewage


Work in Poole Harbour

Coacoara Foundation –

In Poole Harbour, there are fortnightly Sunday beach clean ups organized by the Coacoara foundation that start in two locations, at Sandbanks or in Bournemouth. This great local community help spread awareness and help contribute to keeping our beach and marine environment clean and natural. On a typical beach clean day, volunteers manage to clear away around 18 bags of litter (each bag being 50 litres!). Not only does this help the beaches remain clean, they also help the community by spreading awareness on socials and setting a good example for others to follow.

This foundation not only provide a great platform for others to join, they will also provide all volunteers with litter pickers, compostable bin liners and gloves! The local watersports businesses in the Poole Harbour area all help to share this information and try to improve our local area and pick up and tidy away mess too, as we can see the impact and damage to the beaches on a daily basis.

Follow their Instagram for more information on how to join and help! - @coacoarafoundation


Surfers Against Sewage –

A slightly larger company but with a local basis everywhere, Surfers Against Sewage help to increase awareness of the sewage pollution problem and provide a platform for information and to seek ways to help.

October just gone, there was even a campaign set up to raise awareness and money, to help SAS combat this issue through political campaigning to MPs and funding ways to save the ocean. ‘Dip a Day in October’ required anyone to join up and simply take part in a cold water dip, swim, surf or cold shower to raise money and more importantly awareness for this cause. All local businesses around Poole Harbour supported this cause and some even participated. Sorted Surf Shop and Poole Harbour Watersports (ourselves) even joined in in this ‘Dip a Day’, to highlight how even our local beaches can suffer. This 31 day campaign managed to raise a total of £160,000 and also start a great community of like-minded people across the whole country, with a Facebook group of over 5000 people!

Surfers Against Sewage help keep all surfers and swimmers safe and aware, with the creation of their free app to help you track the water quality conditions – ‘Safer Seas and River Service’. Each spot that they can record and track will clearly mark with a green tick, or red cross, whether the water is safe to surf in, whilst also noting the reason for poor water quality.


Environment Innovation Hub –

Not only are charitable organizations highlighting the issue, BCP Council are also tackling the issue. Along all our Poole and Bournemouth beaches, there is great signage and provision of clean and tidy bins to promote and encourage removal of waste and rubbish.

Along Durley Chine, a new environmental hub is also being built along with a non-profit organisation, ‘City to Sea’, to create proposals for a more sustainable, low-impact tourist destination with a reduction of single-use plastic on our beaches. The ‘Turning the Tide’ proposal will provide a venue that models environmentally positive behaviour and systems; a learning space that connects people’s actions to the oceans and builds environmental guardianship and be an education resource for schools and families. A new kiosk will also trial innovative ways of working and showcase how Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council are developing ways to create a low-impact tourist destination.


In Poole Harbour, all businesses and locals care deeply for the environment and quality of our waters and shoreline. As such, we all try our best to keep it as clean as we can and spread awareness on our platforms of what people can do to help and how to set an exemplary example.

For any more information on how to help or information on this bog, please feel free to message us at info@pooleharbour.co.uk .

Let’s keep our environment clean so we can enjoy getting out on the water!

Back to blog