marine & MARITIME

We have highlighted the below support services to help with your business.


Located at Dorset Innovation Park, The Ministry of Defence has joined forces with Dorset Council and Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, to open the first of its kind in the UK, the Defence BattleLab. The facility is home to end-users from different trades and specialisations across Defence; people placed to help collaborators navigate the MoD and make engagement more accessible. BattleLab seeks to enable exciting and creative collisions and connections, bringing the right minds together to solve challenging problems and emerging threats. Technology is advancing at an unprecedented rate, accelerated by the convergence of 5G, artificial intelligence, machine learning and quantum computing. By being transparent and willing to work more collaboratively, Defence aims to keep pace and remain competitive in a changing world. BattleLab is the defence innovation Co-Creation Space, part of the government National Strategic Technology and Innovation Exchange (NSTIx) programme. The programme was established to enable innovative development and prosperity opportunities by bringing parties to the table that would not normally be involved.

Visit BattleLab's website

Boat Building Academy

The Academy has become a leading boat building school in the UK and the world, offering a range of course for those interested in learning the art of boat building and woodworking.

Visit the Boat Building Academy's website

British Marine Foundation

For marine-based businesses – BMF exist to support their members, providing expert advice, facilitating connections and championing their interests on a global stage.

Visit British Marine Foundation's website

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas)

Cefas operates as an Executive Agency of Defra - the UK Government’s Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs. Cefas spearheads sustainability efforts for UK waterways, striving for robust marine and freshwater ecosystems. Its work relies on cutting-edge technology and data-driven approaches, utilising a range of surveillance tools and deploying assets like the Cefas Endeavour Research Vessel and autonomous marine vehicles to monitor aquatic environments meticulously. It also leverages breakthroughs in genomics and artificial intelligence to drive innovation and understanding. 

Recognising the vital role of science, Cefas assembles specialists across aquatic sciences domains to address challenges from aquaculture to future energy. This proactive stance extends to rapid response to marine and freshwater emergencies. 

Cefas’s laboratory in Dorset is a hub for innovation, integrating advanced technologies with cutting edge research. It collaborates closely with stakeholders to pioneer solutions, offering services such as regulatory testing and modelling for risk assessment through its Weymouth Laboratory and the Cefas aquaculture regulatory toolbox, ensuring streamlined processes for aquaculture supply chain companies. 

Visit the Cefas website

Dorset Coast Forum

Dorset Coast Forum is an independent coastal partnership that brings together individuals and organisations, to collectively deliver on a whole range of social, environmental, and economic opportunities that are relevant to the Dorset coast, its communities and its seas. Through working in partnership, DCF develops and shares ideas, information and expertise.

Visit Dorset Coast Forum's website

Jurassic Coast Trust

The Jurassic Coast Trust is the independent charity responsible for protecting and conserving the UNESCO World Heritage status of the Jurassic Coast, a stretch of coastline that spans the counties of Dorset and Devon on the south coast of England. 

They engage with stakeholders along 95 miles of coastline to preserve the Jurassic Coast's unique geology, palaeontology and geomorphology ensuring its future for generations to come.

The Jurassic Coast is England’s only natural World Heritage Site and was granted World Heritage status in 2001 for its unique geology, geomorphology and palaeontology. The Jurassic Coast is the only place on Earth where rocks from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods can be seen in one place, where people can explore 185 million years of Earth's history.

Today, the Jurassic Coast Trust aims to protect and conserve the World Heritage Site, to provide education, engagement and sustainability to enhance the sites attributes, and to invite people to enjoy all that the Jurassic Coast has to offer.

Visit Jurassic Coast Trust's website

Maritime UK South West

A public, private, research partnership focusing on the Great South West dedicated to increasing the marine and maritime economy. Maritime UK South West brings together a network of South West partners to develop and promote four overlapping and complimentary world class marine centres of excellence with the potential to exploit global market opportunities and create transformational economic growth for the region.

  • Offshore Renewable Energy

  • Autonomy & Geospatial Data

  • Marine Manufacturing

  • Ocean Technology & Aquaculture

Visit Maritime UK South West's website

Port of Poole

Poole Harbour, Europe’s largest natural harbour, encompasses over 10,000 acres and holds a prime location on the South Coast, with excellent connectivity to major airports and road networks. The Port of Poole, one of the UK’s largest Trust Ports, handles approximately 30,000 freight units and serves 200,000 outgoing passengers annually. 

Featuring two modern Ro/Ro berths, the port efficiently accommodates the latest ferries operating in the Western Channel, facilitating cross-channel services to destinations such as Jersey, Guernsey, and Cherbourg with regular crossings. Its multiple berths are equipped to handle various cargo types, including containers, general cargo, bulk cargoes, project cargoes, yacht transfers, and hazardous goods. 

With the capability to accommodate vessels up to 8.7 meters draft and 210 meters in length, the port caters to a diverse range of maritime activities. Poole Harbour is also a sought-after destination for cruise ships, specialising in luxury and expedition cruises. 

Within the Port of Poole, two marinas—Poole Quay Boat Haven and Port of Poole Marina—have received the esteemed 5 Gold Anchors from The Yacht Harbour Association. Poole Quay Boat Haven, additionally, hosts numerous nautical events and is the home berth for British yachtswoman Pip Hare’s IMOCA 60, named Medallia. 

Home to over 7,500 yachts, 12 yacht clubs, and 4 marinas, Poole Harbour is a vibrant maritime hub. Moreover, it is increasingly recognised as the UK’s premier destination for visiting superyachts, with Poole Quay Boat Haven being the first marina in the UK to achieve Superyacht Ready accreditation from The Yacht Harbour Association. 

Visit Port of Poole's website

Portland Port

Portland Port, situated at the heart of England’s south coast, offers quick and easy access to the English Channel shipping lanes. Shielded by the Isle of Portland, Portland Harbour boasts extensive, sheltered waters spanning nearly 2,500 hectares. Depths range up to 13m at the inner harbour anchorages and over 19m in the outer harbour. Offering 16 commercial berths with depths alongside reaching 11.7m, the port’s capabilities have recently been boosted by a £26m investment enabling it to accommodate cruise ships up to 350m long. 

As a burgeoning cruise destination, Portland Port attracts over 50 calls and 100,000 guests annually, solidifying its status as the largest cruise port in South West England. It also serves as a vital cargo gateway, handling over 500,000 tonnes yearly across various sectors.

In addition, Portland Port remains a key partner for the Ministry of Defence, regularly hosting vessels from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. The port is also home to marine engineering firms Manor Marine, Manor Renewable Energy, and Global Marine Systems. Offering a plethora of vessel services including bunkering, ship-to-ship transfers, in water surveys, stores transfers and crew transfers, Portland Port stands as a versatile maritime hub. 

Visit Portland Port's website

South West Manufacturing Advisory Services (SWMAS)

Since 2002, SWMAS Ltd has been delivering hands on support, impartial advice and expert guidance to around 8500 manufacturers across the South West, of which over 1000 are based in Dorset. SWMAS assists manufacturing firms of all sizes, in numerous industries including advanced engineering, aerospace, construction, electronics, food & drink, marine, medical and nuclear.

With a wealth of industry experience and technical knowledge, SWMAS’ Manufacturing Specialists work with businesses to identify their individual needs and design a bespoke package of support to help them achieve measurable, operational improvements. A wide range of services are available, including business strategy, productivity improvement, innovation, workforce development, net zero, digital transformation and supply chain optimisation.

SWMAS also carries out a quarterly Manufacturing Barometer, the largest survey of SME manufacturers in England. This uncovers the challenges and opportunities across the sector, which is used to campaign for support and align service offers.

Visit the SWMAS website

South West Regional Defence and Security Cluster

The SWRDSC is the first pan-Defence and Security cluster in the UK. It forms a collaboration led by industry and academia with the support of government and its ministerial departments such as the MOD and its innovation directorate, and the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA). The cluster seeks to aggregate and raise the profile of regional D&S capability to stimulate greater sector knowledge, business, economic growth and productivity across the South West region. It will attract businesses of all scales with an interest in D&S to deliver new sector and cross-sector capability. It aims to apply a ‘Team UK’ approach to enable more joined up working between industry, academia and government, providing an efficient and accessible route to industry curation and the region’s D&S value chain.

Visit SWRDSC's website

Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy

The Academy is a multifaceted business.  The driving force and focus are the sailing events, but to sustain the facilities and business the WPNSA has several other revenue streams;

  • Squad training through the RYA and class associations
  • Other sporting events such as cycling, triathlons and running
  • Meetings facilities including conferences and corporate days
  • Functions such as; weddings, parties, dinner dances and awards
  • Boat hoist and dry storage
  • Membership

WPNSA has close links with the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) working with them in many significant events such as the Sailing World Cup and Youth National Championships.  In addition, WPNSA is the training base for the British Sailing Team.

Visit WPNSA's website