Top boating centres of the world
5th May 2021
Ready to plan your next boating holiday? Get inspired by one of these top boating centres of the world.
Whatever water sport or water craft you love, you’ll find the perfect spot to have fun.
Europe and North Africa: The Mediterranean
The Mediterranean is one of the most popular cruising grounds on the planet. It’s easy to see why. Delicious local cuisines, stunning anchorages, and a thriving nightlife are just some of the attractions. On top of this, the countries surrounding this closed sea offer incredible cultural diversity and fascinating history.
Each nation is unique and distances are rather short, so you could be eating a paella in Majorca and sipping an Italian Aperol Spritz within the same week. The Mediterranean is perfect for sailing, powerboating, kayaking, waterskiing and stand up paddleboarding.
However, the fishing isn’t very good and catching the delicious tuna or swordfish is rare these days. If reeling in some fish is a must for you, you're probably better off flying somewhere else.
With over 59,000km of total coastline, Australia is a boater's dream. All states offer fantastic boat trip options - the Mainland and the Islands are equally stunning. Venture further than the popular Whitsunday Islands to find a quiet natural paradise with incredible wildlife; both in and out the water.
Whether you’re into sailing, powerboating, or kayaking, you’ll be able to find the perfect spot for a great water adventure. And if you’re into cities, why not go boating around Sydney Harbour? Here, you can take in the same view as the millionaires living on the hills surrounding the waterways. Not to mention the fact that you could motor past the Sydney Opera House.
The UK and North-West Europe
Are you a fan of fjords, cliffs, and canals? Then, the UK and North-West Europe have everything you dream of. With waterways expanding across Belgium, France, Germany, Sweden, and Poland, there’s plenty of canal boating to do.
The coasts of north-western Europe and the UK offer fjords, inland seas, and steep cliffs. And if you’d like to venture to Norway, you’ll find a number of stunning archipelagos to explore. Come by sailboat or motorboat to keep warm. Or try kayaking and stand up paddleboarding on less breezy days. If you’re into fishing, you can’t miss the salmon season (but make sure you get a license for it).
The boating season is quite short in the Northern Countries, so you’ll want to make the most of the summer months, before the winter storms hit hard. The Canals tend to hold more water in the spring, so make sure your boat has a shallow draft if you go in the summer.
The US East Coast and the US territories in the Caribbean
The East Coast of the USA is super popular among Americans. Every year sailors and motor boaters make the trip down to Florida or the Bahamas, either through the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW), or by completing an ocean passage via Bermuda.
Many choose to slowly explore the coast of the USA, stopping in various towns and cities. Others shoot directly for the Bahamas and the US territories in the Caribbean, such as Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Passage times differ, based on where you are and where you hope to get to.
The East Coast of the USA and the Caribbean are a huge playground for boaters. You could practice nearly any water sport here - from kayaking and stand up paddleboarding to water skiing and sailing. The fishing is decent - if you’re lucky you can hook a sailfish or skipjack tuna. And if you like free diving, don’t miss out on the delicious lobster.
The US West Coast and Mexico
If fishing is your passion, the Pacific side of the Americas will fulfill your wildest dreams. The sea is alive with a myriad of fish. You could go out in an ocean kayak, a skiff, or a cruiser. It doesn’t matter: you are almost guaranteed to come back with a great catch.
Many cruisers explore California and Mexico, especially the Sea of Cortez, by boat. But you could continue further into South America. Once out of the US, you’ll be greeted by a variety of natural ecosystems - from deserts to tropical forests. This fantastic coast offers something for every kind of boater.
Because you are essentially coastal boating all the time, you can make almost every passage as short or as long as you like. Feel free to take your time.
French Poly and the South Pacific are every boater’s fantasy. Palm-tree-lined beaches, lush steep mountains, and tropical fruit trees are the backdrop to the clearest waters you’ve ever seen. And the ocean is buzzing with sea life. From rays and reef fish, to sharks and whales.
Any boater would fall in love with this paradise. And while the uncharted cuts to the atolls are difficult to navigate, you will be rewarded with fantastic fishing and extraordinary sights. Once inside a reef, you can get your kayak or SUP out. Bear in mind that you often can’t avoid making night passages to get from one island to the next.
Because these islands are very remote, you can either fly over, or make a long passage from Australia and New Zealand. It’s harder to sell a boat in French Polynesia, so if you’re coming from the US or Europe, you may have to commit to turning back, circumnavigating, or selling your boat in Australia or New Zealand.
Another factor to keep in mind: the remoteness of the islands means the internet can be patchy and food is generally expensive. Buying chocolate or coffee won’t be easy.
The Pacific NorthWest
Not a fan of the heat? The Pacific Northwest represents the opposite climate of the South Pacific. Cold water, pine tree forests, wolves, and snowy mountain tops. This wild land is as magnificent as French Polynesia.
Choose between coastal sailing or fishing in incredibly rich waters, and motoring or paddling on the Salish sea or the Columbia River. Circumnavigate little wild islands, anchor in flat inlets, and go whale watching.
If you miss civilisation, you can head for a big city, like Seattle, to get your fix. And don’t forget to visit the national monuments while you’re there. The history of the area is captivating.
New Zealand’s Bay of Islands attracts boaters from all over the world. The 144 subtropical islands offer unspoiled views. Think lush hills, yellow beaches, and dark green waters.
Here you’ll find an excellent big-game fishing, kayaking, and stand up paddleboarding ground. While sailing or motor boating, you’ll spot penguins, whales, and dolphins. On land, you’ll be able to take a look at the colourful Maori cultural artefacts.
There’s more than the Bay of Islands to visit by boat in New Zealand. The country’s coastline offers fantastic coastal cruising, thanks to the many inlets it features. Sailing is extremely popular here, so you will find plenty of boating facilities.
Please make sure you research the local regulations for mandatory equipment and maintenance of the watercraft you intend to use or buy. These vary in each state and country.