Lake safety

Last Updated: 3 April 2024

If there is danger to life or danger or serious injury and you need rescue, call for the coastguard on 999.

To ensure the safety of everyone using the lake please make sure that you:

  • wear, or use, the correct type of flotation device
  • understand the navigation aids, signs and buoys
  • understand the speed limits
  • know how to identify a lifebelt and how to report a missing lifebelt
  • make sure you know about the 'swim safe' code
  • understand which jetties you can use and how to use them

Personal flotation devices

Always use a flotation device if you're on the lake. There are different types of floatation device for different types of activity on the water.

Lifejackets: keep the body afloat with head out of the water. Use them on open boats and yachts. 


Buoyancy aids: keep the body afloat. Use them on canoes, kayaks or small dinghies. 

Buoyancy aid

 Swim floats: alert others to a swimmer in the water. Used by open water swimmers. 

Swim float

Navigation aids

You should also take notice of, and react to navigation aids to avoid hazards and obstructions in the water.

  • red triangle: indicates a reef or rocks directly below
  • yellow buoy: indicates the fairway. No anchoring permitted
  • green barrel: organised racing mark
  • red buoy: indicates danger such as an obstruction or shallow water
  • alpha flag: indicates a swimmer in the water

   Red triangleYellow buoy Green barrel    Red marker bouy. Windermere lake.Alpha code flag.  White and blue signals that a vessel has a diver down.                                                                                                                                 

Speed limits

To ensure your own safety and the safety of other lake users you need to understand and keep to the lake speed limits.

The six nautical mph speed limit zones apply to all craft and the 10 nautical mph applies to powered craft.  

Life belts

If you would like to report a damaged or missing lifebelt please contact the Lake Wardens.

We maintain a number of lifebelts around the lake, they are inspected weekly. 

Life beltLife belt open

Swim safe

Swim safe is a simple water code to help everyone enjoy themselves and stay safe while swimming in the lake.

Using Windermere Lake public jetties

Public jetties

Waterhead: two hour waiting limit. 

Rayrigg Meadow: two hour waiting limit. 

Bowness Bay: two hour waiting limit.  

Ferry Nab: four hour waiting limit, with overnight mooring fees. 

Public access jetties

Bark Barn: shared with Windermere Lake Cruises. Restrictions are indicated by the information board on the jetty. 

YMCA: restrictions indicated by the information board on the jetty. 

The majority of hotels and attractions on the lake shore will allow use of their jetties while using the facilities.