In their latest column from Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority, Kenny Auld, head of visitor services, discusses changes to the park's byelaws.


World famous Loch Lomond is the largest body of freshwater in mainland Britain and one of the most popular destinations in Scotland.

It is a fantastic resource to have within easy reach of 50 per cent of Scotland’s population and on a sunny day, you will find swimmers, families, groups of friends and water sports enthusiasts enjoying the multiple recreation and wellbeing opportunities it offers.

In recent years, we have seen significant changes in the type and volume of recreation activities enjoyed on Loch Lomond. This includes an increase in activities such as open water swimming and paddle boarding and a marked upturn in numbers of personal water craft such as jet-skis on the Loch.

Alongside these trends, there have been increased concerns about disturbance, antisocial behaviour and safety risks.

These changes were an important consideration when the Loch Lomond Byelaws were reviewed last year.

The Loch Lomond Byelaws help to manage recreational activity on the Loch and balance the multiple environmental, economic and social interests and impacts connected to it.

The byelaws are required by law to be reviewed at least every 10 years and in 2022, the National Park Authority set out proposals for key changes to them, which were put to the public and stakeholders during a 12-week public consultation.

A set of updated byelaws has now been approved by Scottish Ministers and will come into force on November 1, 2024.

These updated byelaws include additional measures to protect public safety, reduce irresponsible behaviours and to make enforcement more efficient.

One key change is that it will become compulsory for under 16s to wear a Personal Flotation Device (life jacket of buoyancy aid) on any vessel on an open deck.

Rangers already strongly advise that everyone should wear Personal Floatation Devices but we recognise that children are less likely to be able to make an informed decision in relation to their personal safety and therefore have a higher level of risk.

Low-speed activity zones will be introduced at seven locations to minimise the risk of collisions and conflicts between high speed and low speed activities.

We are also introducing a new Loch Lomond User Registration Scheme, meaning any individual wishing to take command or charge of a power-driven vessel on Loch Lomond must be registered with the National Park Authority in advance.

The scheme will allow Masters to be more easily identified in the event of a suspected byelaw contravention and will assist the progress of enforcement action when necessary.

Full details of the changes to the Loch Lomond Byelaws that will come into effect on 1st November 2024 can be viewed on the National Park Authority website by searching for ‘Loch Lomond Byelaws Review’.

Hard copies are available at National Park Headquarters in Balloch, Duncan Mills Memorial Slipway in Balloch and Balmaha Visitor Centre.