Yachts are by far the most abundant craft on the Waterway. Records show that competitive sailing existed on Milford Haven Waterway more than two hundred years ago. Most of today’s yachting activities take place between the Cleddau Bridge and the lower reaches of the Waterway, with some yachts going out to the Islands and beyond. A smaller number of vessels explore the upper reaches of the Daugleddau and its tributaries.
Yachts under sail produce virtually no noise will rarely travel above a speed of 6 knots and consequently will produce minimal wake. Unless fitted with a bilge keel most cruising yachts cannot enter shallow waters and will rarely encroach on sensitive areas such as saltmarshes or intertidal mudflats.
These areas of tranquil water steeped in history have contributed to the Waterway being known as ‘The Secret Waterway’. They are not without their dangers though and are probably best suited to the smaller dinghies or those yachts with bilge keels. The navigable channel in parts can be difficult to follow and the mud flats and saltmarsh on a falling tide can prolong your day’s adventures. Anyone navigating the tributaries and upper reaches beyond Llangwm will need to keep an eye on the tide and depth gauge. Sailing is however one of the best ways to experience this wildlife rich areas. Travelling at 6 knots in virtual silence and with minimal wake minimises any disturbance however and following the Pembrokeshire Marine Code of Conduct will ensure you and those after you get the best experience possible.
When enjoying the Waterway you must also ensure that you are considerate to other users and abide by the zoning scheme and byelaws as detailed in the Milford Haven Waterway Leisure Users Guide, which is widely available at no charge around the Haven in the marinas, yacht clubs, chandleries and hostelries. You should be aware of commercial traffic and other recreational users in the haven, and moderate your passage accordingly. You should take particular care near training and teaching areas, moorings, waterski zones, marina entrances, launch sites and slipways, other craft at anchor, divers, pontoons, beaches where bathing is taking place.
We recommended that if you are participating in activates involving sailing craft in the haven you should receive appropriate training. If you wish to learn how to use a sailing vessel safely there are a wide variety of options available in the Haven. From dinghy and competent crew courses up to Instructor and Commercial qualifications, all abilities and aspirations can be catered for. Details on training centres near you and around the Waterway including the courses they offer are available on the RYA website.