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Fish and ships

Staithes Harbour Credit Tony Bartholomew Turnstone MediaStaithes Harbour Credit Tony Bartholomew Turnstone Media

Enjoy spending time on the water? Here are our Top Five ways to enjoy the North York Moors coast.

1. Take a trip out to sea - or maybe just round Whitby harbour…

Whitby Coastal Cruises offer a variety of trips from a 20/25 minute sail into the bay with pets also welcome, to a 3.5 hour cruise down the coast to Robin Hood’s Bay potentially spotting seals and seabirds. They have trips up the unspoilt River Esk as well as Sunset cruises when you can watch the sky turn pink, returning to the twinkling lights of Whitby

The Old Lifeboat ‘Mary Ann Hepworth’ was a long-serving RNLI vessel that now offers short pleasure rides around Whitby’s harbour and coastline. Her informative and entertaining crew alongside Captain Barry will leave you with great memories.

2. Fish for supperPleasure boats at Whitby Credit Richard Budron

Whitby is famous with sea anglers for its cod fishing and Whitby Charter Skippers Association has 20 members offering anglers of every age and ability the chance to go out to sea and catch fish, or just for the sport and thrill of being out at sea.

Sean will take you out on his boat, “All My Sons”, for a special “Hook and Cook” experience. He’ll show you how to catch mackerel out at sea, how to clean and prepare it, barbecue it and then you can eat it!

3. Travel back in time  

Climb aboard the Bark Endeavour for the Captain Cook Experience on this scaled-down replica of Cook's famous HMS Endeavour that navigated the globe. On the tour around Whitby harbour, you’ll hear traditional Whitby sea shanties and learn about Cook’s history. Search out the sites and attractions that tell Cook’s story on our Captain Cook page.

Did you know there’s a host of hidden shipwrecks along the North York Moors Coast? You can sometimes see the battered remains of numerous ships at Robin Hood’s Bay and Kettleness. Perhaps the most photogenic is the ‘Admiral Von Tromp’ wreckage in Saltwick Bay with the ominous Black Nab lurking behind.

Interested in a wreck walk? We offer plenty of opportunities as part of the Breath of Fresh Air Guided Walks annual programme - book via Eventbrite, or check out the National Trust, who include a wreck walk to their summer events.

The last few iconic Staithes Cobles sit in the beck and harbour front of this once booming fishing port. Constructed locally, the design was based on Viking Long Boats. Their flat bottoms allowed them to launch from sandy beaches, at a time when there were no harbours. A high stern and bow enabled the boats to withstand the harsh North Sea waves and swell; whilst the lower sides made it easier to haul in the fishing nets. A coble boat was often recognisable to its area by the colour. Staithes cobles were painted red, blue and white.

4. Watch whales

Ever imagined whale watching off the North York Moors Coast? Yorkshire Coast Nature keep group numbers small so you can enjoy a friendly, personalised, full day experience. Additional bonuses include ‘chum chucking’ off the boat to attract hordes of sea birds for fantastic photography opportunities.

5. Kayaks, paddle boards and pleasure boats

Explore the coast on a kayak with Andy at Barefoot Kayak and get a view of the coast like you’ve never seen before. His knowledge of the area and expertise in kayaking is a recipe for a memorable and adventurous day.  

The National Trust run sea-kayaking adventures over summer to get up close and personal with all coastline creatures. The journey from Boggle Hole to Ravenscar will provide the chance to see our resident seal colony- a particular highlight!

Established in 1874 there’s good reason why the rowing boats at Ruswarp have lasted the test of time. The quiet, sheltered waters of the River Esk make for an idyllic afternoon’s activity. The fantastic location offers potential for steam train and salmon spotting, as well as riverside cafes allowing the possibility to moor up and take five from all that oar action.

Simon at SUP Adventures is a stand up paddle boarding specialist and provides a whole manner of activities from introduction mornings, to yoga-related breaks to multiple day safaris exploring whole areas via river and paddle board.

For the independent explorer you can rent single and double kayaks from Tides at Sandsend, but feel free to take them to other locations for ultimate freedom on the water. They also rent Stand Up Paddle Boards, surf and bodyboards.

Finally, look out for…

RNLI Lifeboat weekends

Whitby and Staithes both hold weekend celebrations to raise money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. The fun-filled weekends include fancy dress parades, live music, duck race, air and sea rescue displays and fireworks. The RNLI is run by volunteers so these weekends are a great way to support all their hard work to save lives at sea.