COVID-19 update: Shetland is open to visitors, in line with Scottish Government guidance. Please read our information on travelling responsibly.

Sailing and Surfing

Shetland has nearly 1700 miles of coastline, 100 islands, natural harbours and crystal clear waters - perfect for sailing. Dinghy sailing is popular in Shetland, where sailing and rowing regattas are a big part of summer social life.

Shetland is something of an undiscovered treasure as a cruising destination. Shetland’s archipelago, with its 100 small islands and 1,697 miles of coastline, offers a beautiful combination of dramatic cliffs and natural harbours – many with good piers, slipways and marinas – so you can drop anchor anywhere and explore. Yachts have unrestricted access to all the islands and berthing fees are minimal.

The Shetland Marinas section of our website has extensive information about anchorages, equipment, conditions and more. For up to date information for international travellers following the coronavirus pandemic, please see the Shetland Islands Council's Yachting website.

Sailing to and around Shetland is a unique experience and one which offers plenty of adventure and exploration. We have many local regattas throughout the summer as well as the annual Bergen to Shetland Races. In 2011, Shetland also played host to the Tall Ships Races.

Visiting crew are always welcome in weekly races at clubs around the islands - and the wind surfing is out of this world.


Exposed to swells from both the Atlantic and the North Sea, Shetland can offer enjoyable surfing when conditions are right. The best locations are in the south of the islands, close to Sumburgh Airport or at nearby Quendale or Boddam. Local surfers can show you other good spots for Britain's most northerly 'barrels'.

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