Marinas, harbours and boatyards in Scotland

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  • Dozens of small yachts berthed close together in a picturesque harbour
    Tarbert harbour, Argyll

The number and quality of marinas and pontoon facilities up and down the country has expanded to keep pace with Scotland’s growing popularity as a cruising destination.

These stop-off points cater for all classes of boat and many are superbly equipped. They are ideal for refuelling, stocking up on provisions for the rest of your trip or simply enjoying some time on land.

West Coast

The rugged coastline of Argyll, from the Small Isles in the north to the Mull of Kintyre in the south, is one of the heartlands of Scottish cruising. The area offers a wide variety of sheltered anchorages and boasts half a dozen modern marinas with many other boating businesses offering pontoons, moorings and other services.

North of Ardnamurchan, there are no purpose built marinas, but several pontoon facilities have been installed around the Kyles of Lochalsh area, Portree, Stornoway, Gairloch, Lochinver and Kinlochbervie which are more in keeping with the nature of the cruising grounds.

Firth of Clyde

On the Firth of Clyde, there are now some 12 locations offering pontoon berthing, whether in a major marina or a traditional harbour. The smaller marinas and boatyards with moorings contribute to the wider network of facilities which make weekend ­or longer ­cruising trips in this area such a pleasure. The larger yacht harbours are often destinations in their own right, offering a full range of visitor facilities within easy reach of the berths.

Orkney and Shetland

Facilities for visiting cruising yachts in Orkney and Shetand have increased and improved dramatically in the last few years, making the area a destination in its own right particularly for visitors sailing from Scandinavia or northern Europe. Over 100 small islands and almost 1000 miles of coastline which include a wonderful combination of dramatic cliffs and sheltered, natural harbours make this part of Scotland an ideal place for cruising.

Shetland has 17 marinas, although some are only suitable and deep enough for local small craft.

Orkney's main marinas are at Kirkwall, Stromness and Westray. Visiting yachts can purchase a great value 'rover' ticket which covers all three marinas and all Orkney Islands Council piers and moorings. 

East Coast

New developments along Scotland's east coast and in the Orkney and Shetland islands (see above), have greatly improved the facilities available to visitors sailing across the North Sea. There are now a chain of eight marinas covering from John o' Groats to the English Border, with a number of former fishing harbours also installing leisure boating facilities and moorings.

RYA Active Marina Programme   

The Active Marina Programme is designed to help you more out of life with your boat. The programme encourages and supports increased berth holder activity by partnering with marinas, RYA recognised training centres, berth holder groups and yacht clubs to establish or enhance a programme of training, cruising and social opportunities.


In addition to a wide variety of marinas and mooring points around the country, there are also marine engineers, boat repairers, rigging and sail repairers, specialist electronics engineers on call, plus hoists and cranes at boatyards in many locations.

These superbly equipped service points cater for all your needs with the minimum of fuss, allowing you to get back to enjoying the peaceful Scottish waters as quickly as possible.

Further information
Find out more ››

Visit SailScotland for more information on sailing