New to Boating in Lympstone?

What do I need to do if I wish to launch, berth, & use a boat from here?

Lympstone Harbour is the Private Property of the Lympstone Fishery & Harbour Association (LFHA), managed by the Harbour Board.

To use the property for boating purposes for the first time, one has to submit a completed Membership Application Form stating which facilities you hope to be licensed for.  If successful, you will be invoiced and on payment you receive License Labels which shall always be prominently displayed on your vessel(s).

Current License holders are de facto LFHA Members, there is no membership fee.

Licence fee income is used by the Harbour Board to meet the costs of maintaining the property as a social amenity for all and particularly as a boating facility for permanent residents of Lympstone.

Lympstone Sailing Club is independent of LFHA and only owns the land on which the Clubhouse building stands.

Do I need to be a member of LFHA?

-To launch, berth, moor or store any vessel using LFHA property, which includes the Harbour and the beach, the answer is ‘YES’.

To qualify for membership you must be a permanent Lympstone resident, on the Electoral Role.    

How to become an LFHA Member?

Download  print & complete the Membership Application Form 2022 with any accompanying relevant information and post it in the LFHA postbox by the LFHA Noticeboard at the Harbour (N.B. not the LSC Letterbox)   or post your form to LFHB, The Harbour, The Strand, Lympstone, EX8 5EX.   An emailed pdf document of the signed form is also an acceptable method.

At this stage, send no money.  Your application will be considered at a subsequent Harbour Board meeting & the outcome conveyed to you by e-mail.

E-mail is the preferred means of communication for all LFHA business.

I am an LSC member, need i also join lfha?

If you are a Social Member of Lympstone Sailing Club then possibly not if you have no craft to use from Lympstone Harbour or shores.   See item above for more information.

Public access to harbour, foreshore & Moorings


Pedestrians are welcome on LFHA property with one or two caveats. Dog owners are asked to keep their animals on a short lead in the harbour area and to avoid allowing their charges to leave any deposits (wet or otherwise) amongst the boats on the hardstanding or on the slipway.  Elsewhere, please remove deposits to suitable bins.

Bicycles are not permitted on the harbour wall at all, whether ridden or not.

Harbour and Slipway Access

The Harbour with slipway is private property and carparking is prohibited.  LFHA members may temporarily access the slipway with vehicles, when it is not in use by sailors, to service their vessels or to transport vessels. Vehicles must not remain on the slipway if the driver is not immediately available to move their vehicle on request.  

During the summer season, the hardstanding is out of bounds to road vehicles.


All access to LFHA property for launching, recovery, berthing, anchoring and tiling is only available to LFHA members during the period for which they are licensed.  See elsewhere on this site for licensing information.

can i buy a mooring in lympstone?

Buy?   No.    The fundus / (mud) is owned by LFHA.

However the Harbour Board issues annual licenses for moorings on its property to Members.  

LFHA jargon

Beach mooring
– shallow, lighter-duty moorings within a few metres of MHWS for small tenders only (Less than 3.5m) ,  south of the brook.  

Board – see Harbour Board

Craning – Typically in April and October (tide dependent) the Harbour Board hires a mobile crane to lift the large summer-moored  vessels between the water and the hardstanding.

Craning in or craning afloat refers to the transfer of vessel into the water (April) as opposed to craning out or craning ashore that refers to the transfer from water to land (October).

Harbour  – relates not just to the area bound by the Harbour walls and the Cliff base, but also most of the Brook and the slipway and the area north of the brook to the wall.  The eastern boundary is the line of MHWS.

Harbour Board – the executive arm of the Lymptone Fishery and Harbour Association, responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Harbour and Association property

Hardstanding / Hard / Dry harbour / Dry Berth gravelled area overlooked by LSC balcony, just above MHWS on which dinghies etc are berthed in summer, cruisers stored in winter.  Canoe racks are also situated on the hardstanding

HPC – Homebased Personal Craft
A category of licenses for owners with multiple small craft stored at home and transported to the harbour by hand on a daily basis.  One license can be used with any such craft used singly.

LFHA – the Lympstone Fishery and Harbour Association

The Association owns the Harbour, foreshore and moorings in Lympstone

MHWS – mean high water springs – the average HEIGHT of the HIGH WATERS of SPRING TIDES above Chart Datum

Summer / Winter – LF&HA operates a two season year.  During the summer suitable vessels are moored in the estuary. Their tenders and sailing dinghies and  canoes occupy the hardstanding.   During the winter months, most of these vessels are removed from Association property, replaced by the summer-moored vessels.

Storage vs Berthing Whilst most summer-moored vessels are stored over winter on the hardstanding, the storage of sailing dinghies over winter is not permitted. Storage implies taking up space with little regular boating involved.

Racks  Racks are for the exclusive use during summer of canoes, kayaks & paddleboards up to ~3.7m in length.  

Ted’s Folly – hardstanding to north of wet-harbour for tenders only.

Tender – a vessel less than 3.5m length overall (loa) licensed in association with a summer moored vessel, used for ferrying to & from the mooring. Such tenders are confined to the south & west periphery of the hardstanding & Ted’s Folly. Other similar small vessels are deemed to be dinghies & are subject to space availability on the hardstanding.

Wet harbour  / Wet Berth – tidal area bounded by the harbour walls

membership, Licenses & annual roll-over

There is no membership fee as such, whilst the issue of Licences for specific use of LFHA property automatically makes the nominee an LFHA Member, with voting rights at the Annual General Meeting.  Membership therefore lasts from the time of license issue until the following AGM.

As membership and licenses lapse at the AGM, rather than every member having to re-apply each year, the Harbour Board issues invoices to all lapsed members based on their previous season’s licences.   This is done by e-mail following the AGM.

On payment of license fees, a receipt in the form of a self-adhesive Licence Label is issued.  This Label must be prominently displayed on the vessel whilst it remains or operates from LFHA property. 

The issuing of licenses before the start of the sailing season does not guarantee that there will be space for your vessel when it is brought to the Harbour.  Space for dinghies is taken on a first-come first-served basis once the Harbour is declared open to summer licensees. To prevent overcrowding the Board will declare the Harbour Closed to further vessels at some stage.    Refunds will be available if space is not found.

Does boating take place all year round from Lympstone?

In general, no.  Lympstone Harbour operates a two season regime, summer & winter.  Very little boating occurs in winter.
In summer, the hardstanding is occupied by sailing dinghies, tenders to moored vessels and canoes on the racks.  During winter, dinghies must be removed from the Harbour and are replaced by the vessels from the moorings.

Lympstone Sailing Club’s Sailing Programme only operates during the summer.

Rack-based canoes licensed for summer & winter may operate over winter.


Boat size limitations

Craned vessels: there are limits to vessel size imposed by the Harbour Board established over 30 year’s experience:  Maximum overall length 28ft (8.53m)  and beam 9ft 6in (2.9m).  Other factors may also come into play.  As all LFHA moorings dry out, bilge keelers are de rigeur.

Vessels longer than 28ft may be winter berthed in the wet harbour subject to draught constraints of tide height.  Seek Harbour Board advice before committing to a large vessel.

Length guidelines but available berth space is most likely to be the limiting factor here:

Sailing dinghies <5m long.

Tenders : <3.5m

Racked craft:  Canoes/kayaks/rigid paddleboards.


Knowledge of tides is essential to boating from Lympstone as all parts of LFHA property dries out twice a day on all but extreme Neap tides.  The tidal stream flowing up and down the estuary varies from zero knots at high tide to perhaps 5 or more 3 hours before and after high tide.  This current will challenge the headway of any manpowered craft and sailing dinghies in lighter winds. 


Safety on and by the water

At the Harbour, both by the slipway and the Brook outfall and in the inner tidal Harbour, there are areas of dangerous deep mud, irrespective of the state of the tide.  Noone should play or go boating without knowing these areas, and lifejackets should be worn.