Following Saturday’s announcement by the UK Prime Minister that England will go into lockdown from Thursday, 5th November to Wednesday, 2nd December 2020, Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) is continuing to consult with Government agencies through the British Ports Association (BPA) and Solent & Southern Harbour Masters Association (SASHMA) to seek clarification and guidance on the new national restrictions and the measures required to be taken by ports and harbours.

We are still awaiting definitive guidance from the UK Government but in the interim, the majority of SASHMA members have agreed the following principles based on an understanding of the current guidance and have confirmed this position with the UK Government.

CHC’s number one priority remains as always to ensure the safety of the harbour, as well as CHC staff and customers, throughout this COVID-19 pandemic. All harbour users and customers are strongly encouraged to adhere to the Government’s lockdown guidelines requiring people to stay at home, except for specific purposes. 

Based on the information currently available, CHC will take the following actions from 5th November until further notice, to ensure compliance with lockdown guidance and rules:

Harbour Office
Cowes Harbour Office will be closed to customers and visitors and all communications are requested to be sent via email to chc@cowes.co.uk or alternatively, customers may phone on 01983 293952.

Cowes Harbour Visitor Moorings
There will be no overnight berthing at CHC visitor pontoons at Cowes; this includes Trinity Landing, Shepards Marina, and all CHC visitor pontoons on the river at Whitegates and the Folly. There will be increased Harbour Patrols to ensure that all vessels on river moorings and pontoons are safe and secure. The harbour water taxi will be running but on a limited service. For any concerns or enquiries about vessels on the river, CHC customers may contact the moorings team at Shepards Marina by email to shepards.chc@cowes.co.uk or by phone on 01983 297821.

Cowes Harbour Shepards Marina
CHC’s Shepards Marina will remain open, but in line with Government guidelines, including not accepting overnight visitors. Customers will be permitted to access their vessels; however, customers should ensure all trips to the marina are in line with the latest UK Government guidance. All customer queries should be directed to the marina team via shepards.chc@cowes.co.uk or 01983 297821.

For Cowes Yacht Haven, East Cowes Marina, and other mooring providers at Cowes, boat users are advised to visit their respective websites and contact them directly for their most up-to-date information.

Cowes Harbour Services Boatyard
CHC Boatyard operations will continue and the yard will remain open, but customers are reminded that all trips to the boatyard should be in line with UK Government guidance. Contractors will be allowed to work on vessels providing they have completed a valid COVID-19 Contractors Form. For all yard enquiries, customers and visitors are requested to email boatyard.chc@cowes.co.uk or phone 01983 299385.

Cowes Harbour Services Fuel Berth
The fuel barge will remain open, however, opening times may vary. Customers should check the CHC website or contact 01983 297821 for revised times.

Open Port
As Harbour Authority, CHC has a statutory duty to maintain an ‘Open Port Policy’ for freedom of navigation and public use. Ferries and commercial shipping will continue to operate as usual, and unless notified otherwise by the UK Government, the harbour will remain open to any vessel that needs to transit the harbour or access a berth. 

Notices to Mariners

Further Information
CHC will keep these policies under review in line with UK Government guidance and inform harbour users on any further updates. CHC would like to reiterate that all customers and harbour users should adhere to the latest Government guidelines regarding leaving home and ensure their trip to any CHC facility is in compliance with these rules. 

Thank you for your understanding and patience. Stay safe.

Capt. Stuart McIntosh - Cowes Harbour Master