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See the latest information and advice in Exeter. We are closely monitoring the situation and working with the government and NHS, who are well prepared to deal with this virus.

May bank holiday bin collections

Domestic refuse and recycling collections due on Monday 25 May, will instead take place on Saturday 30 May. All other collections that week will remain as normal – find out when your bin is collected

COVID-19 Updates

13 May 2020

COVID-19 Notice to all recreational vessels

Until further notice

We understand that the last 36 hours has been a one of conflicting advice for all. We have received updated information from the government this morning and have made the following decision to move forward with lifting restrictions on the River Exe.

From 00:01 on Thursday 14th May 2020 recreational boat owners (using any type of vessel, whether motorised or not) are permitted to use their boats in local waters for recreational purposes as part of their daily exercise and recreation away from their homes, but not for overnight accommodation. Boat skippers may only be accompanied by persons permanently residing at the same address or, where the vessel is sufficiently large to maintain social distancing, with one other person from a different household.

See the DEFRA guidance on 13 May 2020.

In England you can leave your home to exercise and spend time outdoors for recreation.

You can now:

  • Spend time outdoors, including exercise, alone, with your household, or with one person who is not in your household as long as you stay two metres apart exercise more than once a day
  • Take part in other outdoor sports and activities, including fishing – on your own, with your household, or with one other person while adhering to social distancing rules
  • Drive to outdoor open spaces, including beaches and beauty spots, irrespective of distance. You should travel in a private vehicle, alone or with members of your own household.
  • You should check first if facilities, such as car parks, are open to receive visitors and, when in the countryside, continue to follow the Countryside Code by respecting the local community and protecting the natural environment
  • Go swimming in either lakes or the sea as part of daily exercise provided that social distancing guidelines are observed – you cannot use public indoor and outdoor pools
  • All forms of water sports practiced on open waterways, including sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, rowing, kayaking, surfing, paddle-boarding and the use of privately-owned motorised craft (in line with the guidance issued by the relevant navigation authority) are allowed. You can continue to use towpaths for walking, running and cycling, being mindful of other users and people living in boats along the water


There are no restrictions on how far you can travel to get to the countryside. However, you cannot visit and stay overnight at a holiday home or second home. Owing to some of the restrictions that remain in place, and reduced commercial activity, there is expected to be a far lower level of traffic density making reporting and response to any incident potentially far slower. Many vessels on the river will not have been used for a considerable time. In order to minimise the need for our emergency services to be mobilised, potentially placing them and you at risk, the following conditions should apply:

  • The latest weather forecast should be obtained and vessels are to be checked and inspected thoroughly before leaving the berth. This should include ensuring that all boat systems and engines are operating correctly and all equipment is in date and operating as it should.
  •  Lifejackets or buoyancy aids should be worn by all on-board for your own safety.
  •  Boat skippers are urged to exercise good seamanship, courtesy, patience and common sense as they begin to move around the river.
  • The skipper and crew of all vessels are required to follow government guidance in relation to COVID-19 to protect themselves and others they may come into contact with.

Visiting Craft

  • We do not anticipate visiting vessels from sea overnighting as government guidance excludes overnight stays away from home.
  • Exeter Port Authority visitor facilities remain closed for boats from outside the river, but we do expect river users to move boats to their annual residential moorings, including from other marinas and yards in the region.
  • Vessels arriving into the Exe Estuary from sea should make contact with us in advance to clarify their situation and therefore the suitability of their travel. Rules on arrival from overseas are being reviewed.

Please note that the advice contained here is very new and Exeter Port Authority and other marine businesses around the river will need to adjust their routines and ensure that the risk from infection of Covid-19 can be reduced by maintenance of distancing guidelines.

Please be considerate and allow staff time to assess the level of service they are able to provide. This is for your safety and that of the emergency services and the NHS.

Exeter Port Authority will continue to review the situation and any new Government guidance. We appreciate your continued support in maintaining safe and efficient port operations whilst being able enjoy the benefits of getting afloat.

Any queries please contact the harbour office on 01395 223 265 or email


11 May 2020

Recreational activities on and around the Exeter Ship Canal and Exe Estuary

Firstly, thank you to everyone who has been respecting the current situation that we find ourselves in and are staying off the water. Following on from the Prime Minister's announcement yesterday evening (10th May) we have prepared the short statement below with regards to on water recreational activities on and around the Exeter Ship Canal and Exe Estuary.

As of this morning the 11th of May we are awaiting further guidance from the Government, Sport England and the relevant National Governing Bodies of Sport as to what activities can be undertaken as from Wednesday 13th of May and what socially distancing measure must be in place. We will then look at producing our own statement with regards to what activities can be undertaken and where people can find further guidance if they have additional questions relating to particular activities, at least in a limited way.

Please take care and keep safe.

Grahame Forshaw

Exeter Port Authority Harbour Master


29 April 2020

Commercial boat activity on the River Exe and Exeter Canal.

Please note approved commercial operators are still delivering a limited service during the present lockdown. This is in relation to commercial fishing, plus work maintaining navigation marks and moorings. If you have any concerns with regards to your mooring prior to the present lockdown been lifted, please speak to your mooring provider or contact Exeter Port Authority.


27 March 2020


Dear River and Canal Users,

Following on from my Local Notice to Mariners (03/20) issued on Thursday the 26th of March we have had a number of questions asked to the ports staff and I wanted to clarify my views.

Yesterday, Parliament passed new legislation which can be accessed at the link below.  My interpretation of the current situation and the new Act is as follows;

The Home Secretary has new powers to request port closure but currently the Government is keen to keep ports open for freight and other limited commercial activity only.  We will be informed and in turn advise you if this changes.

As far as recreational use of the River or Canal is concerned e.g. (use of leisure vessels, kite surfing, paddle boarding etc), it is not essential and those who break the new laws could be fined for doing so. Use of the River and Canal at this time for recreational purposes could put the ports staff and emergency services at unnecessary risk. The guidance I have received is that exercise should be done from home.  The inference being that the exercise period should be short and not involve driving to another location. The public should monitor communications as there could be more detailed advice to follow. It is understood that harbour staff and those commercial employees who conduct essential activities will be allowed to continue travelling to and from work to carry out work that cannot be done from home.

Guidance on the need for the public to attend to their own craft to ensure that they do not become the cause of an incident (sinking, oil spill or other pollution) is less clear.  My interpretation of the law is that owners should contact Exeter Port Authority if they have a concern about the safety of their vessel.  Owners should only consider visiting their vessels for safety critical checks, once consulting with the Exeter Port Authority by email: or phone: 07864 958658.

Exeter Port Authority manage the Exe estuary, and the position from the Harbour Master is clear. There should be no activity on the water except for commercial or safety related instances. Ultimately those seen to be breaking the law will be responsible for their actions.  If you do make the decision to go out on the water please take a good look at the detail in the new legislation as you remain responsible for your own actions.

Please remember that there are far fewer people out on the water including those who normally monitor the River and Canal, report incidents and get involved in rescuing those in distress.  So if your activity is essential please wear life jackets/buoyancy aids and consider doing it when there are people around.

Stay home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives.


Grahame Forshaw MBE MNI

Harbour Master

Exeter Port Authority


When this content has been updated

Last updated 13 May 2020