Cowes Harbour Commission
Harbour Authority & Marine Services
Newsletter 2nd June 2020
Daytime Visitor Boats Now Welcome At Cowes
In brief: Cowes Harbour Commission’s visitor moorings are now open for daytime and short stay visitors as of today, Tuesday, 2nd June 2020.

The CHC Board of Commissioners held a meeting yesterday evening and have agreed to allow both daytime visiting boats and short stay visiting boats at Cowes Harbour Commission visitor moorings. 

CHC has been consulting regularly with local stakeholder groups and businesses and has been working towards a coordinated approach to easing COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in Cowes Harbour, but recognises that individual marinas and mooring facilities will be making their own decisions about when and how to reopen.

CHC’s initial policy on a ‘safe return to family local boating in Cowes’ was based on balancing a cautious approach to safeguard the Isle of Wight, against the need to stay in line with the opening up of other harbours and marinas, and following UK Government guidance. 

CHC continues to value positive communications and support from the Cowes Harbour Advisory Committee, which also met yesterday, discussed and supported the new CHC policy on daytime and short stay visitors.

Daytime Visitor Moorings
New at Shepards Marina is the offer of “daytime visitor moorings”, enabling boat users to come to Cowes and enjoy a whole day out with a pre-booked and pre-paid berth at CHC’s marina. 

Short Stay Visitor Moorings
Short stay visitors are welcome on a first-come first-served basis at Shepards Marina, Town Quay, Whitegates Visitor River Pontoons, and the Folly Visitors Pontoon. 

Trinity Landing is undergoing maintenance works that are scheduled to complete this Friday and so the Trinity Landing pontoons will be open for short stay visitors from 0900 on Saturday, 6th June. 

Note that no rafting of boats is permitted at any CHC visitor moorings until further notice. 

Please see the CHC Coronavirus information web page for full details of how to pre-book daytime visitor moorings and for more information on short stay visitor moorings.

No Overnight Moorings
The temporary policy on no overnight moorings remains the same at this time and is in accordance with current UK Government Coronavirus guidelines. See Local Notice to Mariners No. 15(T) of 2020: COVID-19 – Government Guidelines for Recreational Boating .

For Cowes Yacht Haven and East Cowes Marina , boat users are advised to contact the marina in question for the most up-to-date policy information and details on visitor berthing. 
Personal Watercraft and Jet Skis
Cowes Harbour Commission welcomes and proactively encourages watersports and leisure activities within the harbour, but would like to remind all Personal Watercraft and jet ski users to show respect and consideration for other harbour users on the River Medina and across the full Cowes Harbour jurisdiction. 

Personal Watercraft, like all other vessels, are expected to be navigated with due regard to safety, in accordance with Cowes Harbour General Directions and the Collision Regulations .

In particular, Personal Watercraft are required to observe the speed limit of 6 knots through the water when operating within the Inner Harbour, including the Shrape Watersports Area, and when within 100 metres of the shore, as shown on the diagram below.
Inner Harbour Speed Limit 6 knots no wash
Boat safety and safe navigation on return to boating
As boat users enjoy a return to the water, Cowes Harbour Commission would like to emphasise the importance of carrying out all the essential checks on your vessel after several months or more of no boating. Additionally, boat users are advised to always check the prevailing weather conditions before setting off, and to carefully consider the capabilities of any crew onboard. 

The HM Coastguard has reported that they attended 447 incidents over the last weekend in May, making it the busiest of 2020 to date. Sunday saw a 168% increase on the May 2019 average with 241 incidents making it the busiest day of the year so far and Saturday was the second busiest day of the year with 206 incidents. Over the weekend the search and rescue helicopters were involved in 50 incidents and lifeboats were involved in 202 call outs.

HM Coastguard stated: “Very high numbers of people took to the beaches, coast and sea this weekend which led to a huge increase in the number of incidents.

“Boating, swimming and other sea-based activities are now allowed again across the UK, as is spending time on the beach. However, now more than ever, people need to respect the sea and the coast to ensure the safety of themselves and their families.

“Regardless of how well you know the coast, or how experienced you are in your chosen sport, the sea can still catch you out.

“In addition, the Government guidelines around social distancing should continue to be observed by everyone in the UK.”

If you get into trouble at sea or on the coast call 999 and ask for the Coastguard and they will come to your aid. However, Coronavirus has not gone away and we all need to follow the rules.

Remember your choices might put people, including yourself and frontline responders, at risk. Take extra care in these extraordinary times.