Maritime and Coastal Conditions in Portugal

Portugal is blessed with thousands of kilometers of beautiful beaches and coastal areas. Being strategically placed at the end of Europe it also benefits from the winds which are  the lifeblood of sailors worldwide. All types of boating and sailing is practiced around the coasts of Portugal and it is important that people who are involved in these pastimes are aware of the dangers which the elements can bring to their sport.

For anyone whether a tourist or local partaking in these water sports the first place to check for weather conditions is the IPMA. The Portuguese Institute of the Sea and the Atmosphere, IP (IPMA, IP), is a public institute, integrated in the indirect administration of the State, endowed with administrative and financial autonomy and its own assets.

IPMA assumes the responsibilities at the level of the national territory in the domains of the sea and the atmosphere, concentrates its research efforts on projects that revert to direct applications with use in the operational activity, in the search for a progressive improvement of the information made available to its users , whether the revised offer is of a commercial or public nature, and in particular, in this case, with a focus on safeguarding people and goods.

The website provides weather, sea, wave height as well as tidal currents and this information is broken down into a number of tourist areas.

Outside of the Government website there are a number of other sites which we would recommend to use if you are venturing out to partake in watersports. For Surfers the website is a very good source of information and it will provide local as well as international information on where the best places to surf can be found.

Hiring a boat is easy around Portugal’s coast. As with the rest of Europe you do not need a licence to hire a boat of less than 15 meters length and a maximum speed of 12 kph.

The Portuguese Sailing Federation is the website to go to for information on the rules and laws surrounding all things sailing or cruising. The website is here

For Fishing whether from a boat or off the coast licences are required. For details of how to obtain one this is the website here.

Whatever sports you intend to get involved in on the water please remember that conditions can change very quickly so always carry the right equipment and be aware of any climatical changes.