On the water

Get in, on, or near the water for fun and wellness

The waters around Oban, Lorn & the Isles are marine gateways and a mecca for water sports enthusiasts with unrivalled sailing, paddling, diving and sea angling.

Oban is rightly proud of its reputation for superb sailing and with its new step ashore pontoon facilities for small boat users and kayakers in the bay, it is a natural marine tourism hub.

Oban also has several world renowned marinas with outstanding charter facilities for those who wish to explore Europe's finest unspoilt cruising grounds.


Make the most of the water

The beach at Ganavan, just a couple of miles from Oban town centre, is popular with locals and visitors alike. Once the home of World War II seaplanes, Ganavan Bay now offers safe bathing for all the family and a separate launch slip for boats.

There are also many well-developed marinas in the area, and Oban town centre boasts pontoons at the North Pier, which is a transit berthing facility for up to a maximum of 3 nights stay as part of a single visit.

For longer stays, Kerrera Marina across the bay on the scenic Isle of Kerrera offers a full array of yacht services and seasonal dining., complete with stunning views of Oban, the Firth and the mountains of Mull.

For those interested in leisure sailing, there are several small charter companies based in the marinas.

Occasionally you may see a cruise liner in the bay or, more spectacularly, anchored out in the Firth of Lorne, against the backdrop of the hills of Mull and Morvern.

Top reasons to visit

Beaches and Snorkelling
Boat trips
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5 marinas


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Stravaigin Sailing

We are a small family run business located on Scotland’s west coast in the heart of the best cruising and adventure arena our country has to offer. Join us o...

North Pier Pontoons
PA34 5PX

Tel: 07833 103020

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Provident Sailing

A holiday on Provident will introduce you to the fabulous west coast of Scotland, exploring the islands, coasts, harbours and hills of Argyll and the southwe...

Head Office, Dunstaffnage Marina
PA37 1PX

Tel: 07549 935222

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Basking Shark Scotland

Operating across Argyll & the Isles, our wildlife watching adventures run from April - October. Basking Shark Scotland is the only dedicated snorkel oper...

PA34 5PZ

Tel: 07975 723140

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Seafari Adventures (Oban) Ltd

Seafari Adventures are a 5* Visit Scotland marine wildlife tour operator. Based in the conservation area of Easdale, 16 miles south of Oban. Our Wildlife Tou...

Seafari Adventures
The Village Shop
PA34 4RQ

Tel: 01852 300003

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Bekah's Oban Wild Swimming

Discover Argyll's hidden gems! Private and group sessions for all your outdoor swim needs around Oban and further afield. Whether you're braving the cold wat...


Tel: 07579 825732

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Sealife Adventures

All our trips visit the Corryvreckan where turbulent tides create one of the world's largest whirlpools and our cruising area is exceptionally rich in wildli...

By Oban
PA34 4TR

Tel: 01631 571010 (daytime) 01852 300203 (evening and weekends)

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Sea Kayak Oban

6-8 Argyll Street
PA34 5SG

Tel: 01631 565310

Explore Oban's Waters - In, On or Near!

Are you a water baby? Have you ever dreamed of swimming with sharks or diving a famous WWII shipwreck? No matter how you like to be active in, on or near water, you’ll find world class experiences in Oban, Lorn & the Isles! 


Boat trips are an unbeatable way to explore Oban, Lorn & the Isles and discover the wonderful wildlife in our waters.

Dunollie Castle Boat Trip

There is no better place to paddle than the stunning inland and coastal waters of Oban, Lorn & the Isles

Oban Paddleboarding

Below our stunning waters are some of the most biologically diverse marine environments in the UK. 

Snorkelling At Loch Melfort Hotel

From a paddle in a loch or a swim across the open sea, wild swimming is about immersing yourself in nature. Literally.


Our area has a magnificent choice of sheltered anchorages, moorings, harbours and marinas.

Oban Sailing

Oban, Lorn & the Isles boasts some of the best kayaking spots in Scotland, including the main launch point for the Argyll Sea Kayak Trail.

Kayak13 Ganavan Stephensweeneyphotography

Kayaking & Canoeing

Paddling gives you the best seat in the house for viewing coastal wildlife and stunning vistas, and Oban is a kayaker’s heaven.  

Oban boasts a group of easily accessible launch sites at key points along our coastline, with some cracking spots, to spot otters, porpoise, dolphins, sea eagles, herons, ducks geese and many more of the west’s fantastic wildlife.   

Starting at Ganavan Beach, you can encircle Maiden Island and visit Little Ganavan. You'll see Dunollie Castle come into view as you enter Oban Bay. The bay is busy with ferries and fishing boats, so take care to give them a wide berth!

Or why not head to Kerrera Sound, either side of the sound is fine to paddle, depending on conditions. You'll then follow the coast past Minard Point and the mouth of beautiful Loch Feochan. Take a rest in Barnacarry Bay on the opposite side of the mouth before making your way around the coastline to the islands. 

Oban is a perfect place to start your sea kayaking career with plenty of excellent, highly qualified companies keen to give you a safe, enjoyable and fun introduction. 

Several businesses offer a complete sea kayak outfitting, rental, hire service for those experienced kayakers who fly in from all over the World. They can offer lots of advice and local knowledge to help make the visit a superb experience. 


As the area is famous for its clear waters and a number of interesting wrecks, both ancient and modern, sub-aqua divers make it a starting point for their expeditions. 

The waters of the Firth of Lorne make Oban a mecca for UK diving enthusiasts. There is diving here to suit everyone, from pleasant scenic dives in wrecks both shallow and deep, to hairy drift dives with tidal flows exceeding 15 knots and deep drop offs.

The marine life is abundant, with walls covered in anemones, sea squirts and sponges, lobsters and conger eels. You can also discover wildlife such as otters, seals and skate that teem in these pure waters.

Close to the shore of Oban is the drift round Dunollie Castle and the spectacular dives in the Sound of Mull, where the shipwrecks of the Rondo and the Hispania are excellent. Other popular dives include the Breda, a WW2 wreck in Ardmucknish Bay, and the turbulent Falls of Lora at the mouth of Loch Etive, which is definitely not for the faint hearted.

There are many other sea lochs close to Oban and they are well worth exploring, particularly Loch Creran where of particular interest are the serpulid reefs. 

There are several dive boat operators who run large hardboats taking up to 12 divers and also smaller RIBs to the local dive sites.

Basking Shark Scotland offers a range of shark swimming and scuba diving excursions to the Inner Hebrides, where they provide unique interactions with basking sharks and the other abundant wildlife of the area.


Sailing to Oban, the 'Gateway to the Isles', is very popular as it has most major facilities and is the focal point for many sailing events during the season. Recently installed at the North Pier, a new facility allows visiting vessels to berth centrally and step ashore in the heart of Oban.

The finger pontoons have 39 fully serviced berths for boats up to 12m in length, however at busy times, and in suitable weather conditions, this can be expanded by rafting up boats and using the breakwater. The breakwater pontoons can accommodate boats of up to 30m in length/ 127GT depending on their specifications.

Additional berthing and marina services are provided by Kerrera Marina on the nearby island of Kerrera. A short distance north of Oban there is another serviced marina at Dunstaffnage, also with an on-site bar and restaurant.

Cruise Ships 

Oban's harbour is always busy with cruise ship activity. The Hebridean Princess and Lord of the Glens are regular visitors and there are several smaller cruise ships operators, which embark passengers from Oban. 

For the majority of cruise ships, passengers will disembark by tender to the town's North Pier Pontoons, where The Port of Oban Welcome group has trained walking tour guides help travellers who want to stretch their legs ashore in Oban town centre and enjoy the things to see and do. 

Be inspired by our blogs below

Explore Oban


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