October 2021
I cannot believe how quickly the past 8 months has gone since I joined the CHC team. So much has happened in that time both inside and outside of the organisation but I have enjoyed every minute of it.

So how did my first ‘season’ in Cowes go? The spilt of responsibilities between CEO and Harbour Master has worked very well and enabled both me and Ed Walker (Harbour Master) to work to our strengths. As a consequence, and with the support of a great team, Shepards Marina and our moorings have been very busy, the Cowes Harbour Services team has picked up a variety of new contracts and a number of improvements have been made at Kingston Boatyard.

I am therefore pleased that such good progress has been made in a year when we are still recovering from the Covid pandemic. Judging from the amount of positive feedback we have received; this has not gone unnoticed by our customers either.

As I write, our team at Kingston are gearing up for a busy winter as boat owners have already started to book their boats in for the maintenance tasks they have planned, and the team at Shepards Marina are busy taking bookings for winter berths. Full details on the services we are able to offer can be found later in this newsletter but the key message from me is to book now so you don’t miss the boat (pun intended).
Gary Hall
Chief Executive - Cowes Harbour Commission
Harbour Master's Safety Briefing
Look-Out, Stay Sharp: Rule Number 5
This month, I want to draw your attention to Rule number 5 of the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 (COLREGs). These COLREGs are maintained by the International Maritime Organization and applies to every ship on the water, from the largest container ship to the smallest pleasure craft.

What are COLREGs?
The COLREGs as they are known, are in effect, the Highway Code of the sea. The rules were introduced to ensure all vessels navigating at sea knew their obligations when it came to preventing collisions.
One of the biggest misconceptions about the COLREGs is they are a guidance document, something to help skippers understand who has ‘right of way’ in potential collision situations. This is not the case. They are the law and you are required to follow them. If an incident occurs and you have chosen not to follow them or are not aware of them, you leave yourself open to prosecution.

Specifically, Rule 5 stipulates that,
Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper... Read More
A career involving the sea was inevitable for our new Deputy Harbour Master
Jennie Smith graduated with a BSc in Maritime Operations Management, after completing her deck cadetship with Trinity House. She also spent 5 years with Disney Cruise line which suited her down to the ground as she was already a big Disney fan.

Jennie hails from Plymouth and comes to Cowes direct from working in Newquay as Harbour Master Assistant. From having a father and uncle who are Captains of big ships, it is no surprise that Jennie's career has been all about the sea.

However, like her brother, an RAF fighter pilot, Jennie decided early on that a life on the oceans as a ship's captain was not for her. But, instead of piloting planes, Jennie preferred to pilot the larger boats and the operational duties of the inshore ports and harbours.

It's safe to say her young daughter will also become a big Disney fan and Jennie is hoping to spread a little magic across Cowes Harbour as CHC's Deputy Harbour Master.
From masthead to seabed, the Commercial Marine Services team have it covered
You may have seen the work Seaclear, and its multi-disciplinary team have been undertaking around the Island recently on our social media channels. The Commercial Marine Services team, part of Cowes Harbour Services, largely work afloat on marine and coastal projects. They are the first choice for many marine contracts with a portfolio as diverse as the clients that they serve both locally and nationally.
Justin Sowerby, is the team leader and has over 20 years’ experience in the marine services team. Along with Dave Lewis and Troy Denham, they specialise in the design, supply and positioning of complete mooring systems, as well as navigation and race mark buoy management.

The photo shows that at this time of year, at the end of the race season, they are engaged with taking in moorings and beach management markers.
However, they also take care of pontoon maintenance, local towage, stores logistics, escort duties and transportation, and berth repair in and around the harbour. They also undertake salvage duties. The image shows the team recovering a part sunken boat that was towed to Trinity Landing after it had slipped its moorings and ended up adrift in the Solent. Having recovered the boat, the owner then asked the CHS team to transport the boat to Kingston so a full assessment of the boat could be carried out.
The 'action' photos above feature our Multi-cat barge Seaclear. She has a crane lift weight of 15 tonnes and a length over all (LOA) of 16.6 metres. We also have Seamark (pictured on our boat mover in Kingston Boatyard) which is a workboat/tug. She can lift up to 3.5 tonnes in locations that have limited access as it has a smaller LOA of 10.7 metres. Both are based at the Kingston Boatyard in East Cowes where we also have storage and workshop facilities for engineering, welding, polishing & painting.

Autumn and winter arrangements for
the Fuel Berth and Water Taxis
1 October brings changes to the Fuel Berth and Water Taxi arrangements for the autumn and winter months.
Following the national rollout, the fuel berth now only stocks the new E10 unleaded petrol.

We therefore recommend that boat owners contact their engine supplier to check if is ok to use the new fuel. More details can also be found here.

As usual, CHC's Patrol Officers have started running the winter Water Taxi service. To guarantee a ride at the time you would like, please book 24 hours in advance and call 07855 767918 and refrain from using the VHF Channel.

Cowes Water Taxi Ltd ran the water taxi service throughout the summer, which was subsidised by CHC. They have now restricted their operations to south of the Folly Reach area until April next year.

This feature focusses the spotlight on our on-site business partners.
This month it's...
Island Wide Marine
Rob Kitcher runs Islandwide Marine, one of the onsite business at our Cowes Harbour Services Boatyard in East Cowes. From his 35 years’ experience of both inboard and outboard engines, he offers mobile engineering services from basic servicing to full engine rebuilds and refits.

“After working for my family based marine engineering company for 21 years, my father sold up and retired. I then decided it was time to branch out alone and noticed there was a need for a mobile marine engineer with a 24hr call out service.”

“The benefits of being mobile means you do not need to move your boat. Whether it be on your driveway or on its mooring, we are fully equipped to come to you. We also have a workshop so we can carry out the more technical jobs of... Read More
Here we profile members of the CHC team to put a name to a voice, a face to a name, or even a face to a voice! This month:
A Tale of Two Helens

If you visit the Reception or phone Kingston Boatyard you are likely to speak to Helen. Which Helen, however, is the question because you'll either speak to Helen Gilpin or Helen Martin. 

Regardless of which Helen you’re speaking to, you’ll get top quality customer service from a person very knowledgeable about our Boatyard services. 
However, they and their roles, are pretty different.
Over the past 6 years, Helen Gilpin has managed the day-to-day tasks as our Boatyard Administrator. With over 25 years’ experience in the marine industry, Helen G is eminently qualified to greet you at the Reception. If you’re a novice sailor, Helen will be able to tell you everything you need to consider if you are stepping your mast for the first time or what your storage needs might be over the winter.

If you’re more seasoned, Helen’s experience means she can confidently act as a sounding board for the work you need done and will recommend the best contractor from our approved list; if our own boatyard team cannot do that work for you.

When Helen is not busy managing the 48 storage units, organising and booking the boatyard lifts and launches and making sure all invoices are up to date, she has plenty to keep her busy outside of work with her two grown up sons, two daughter in laws and 5 grandchildren.
Helen Martin solely manages the administration of the Commercial Marine Services (CMS) team whose work involves the Seaclear barge and Seamark tug discussed in the article above. She works out of both Kingston Boatyard & Shepards Marina and so also offers fantastic support to both Helen Gilpin and Helen Strobridge at Shepards Marina. 

As a result, during the two years she has been in her role, Helen has developed an overall awareness of all the services available from Cowes Harbour Services (CHS). Add to this her great customer service skills and always being cheerful and happy to help, she is another great asset to both CMS and the CHS teams.

Helen is no stranger to the island having lived here for 20 years and is raising her two children here.

So if you have any winter boat service and storage needs, give Kingston Boatyard a call on 01983 299 385 and see which Helen you get. Whichever Helen you speak to you, we know you will be impressed with the knowledge and service you will receive.
Further Information from CHC
Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) is constituted under the Cowes Harbour Act and Orders 1897-2012. It is the Statutory Harbour Authority for Cowes Harbour on the Isle of Wight. CHC receives no funding from either central or local government and re-invests surpluses into the organisation for the overall benefit of harbour users and stakeholders.
CHC’s vision is to fulfill the potential of Cowes Harbour and the River Medina in delivering first-class port facilities and leisure services and by acting as the main transport and shipping gateway supporting the Island’s economy and employment.
CHC is a trust port and offers the following to the sailing and local community: harbour and river moorings, events centre, boatyard services and storage, commercial marine services and a fuel berth.
Cowes Local Notices to Mariners

Local information for harbour users

The Kingston Boatyard in East Cowes, offers a range of boatyard services and boat storage facilities, as well as the Cowes Harbour Storage self-storage facility, and a chandlery.
Shepards Marina is one of Cowes Harbour’s main marina facilities offering a full range of services and amenities suitable for yacht racing events, rallies, and catering also to the cruising sailor and powerboater.
Cowes Harbour Commission owns and licences the majority of the pontoon, pile and swinging moorings within Cowes Harbour and the River Medina, as far south as the Folly Inn.
Cowes Harbour Commission | Website