Cowes Harbour Commission
Harbour Authority & Marine Services
Newsletter 20th November 2019
Cowes Harbour Tests Emergency Response Procedures
Cowes Harbour’s three-yearly oil spill response exercise, as required by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), was held earlier this month. The exercise consisted of both practical on the water deployment of oil spill equipment and an incident management exercise at the Harbour Office. Do read our lead article below that explains more what happens in these types of exercises.

As reported by local media last week, a sailing yacht came into contact with the No. 2 red port-hand buoy at the fairway entrance, sustaining considerable damage that lead to the 40-foot yacht later sinking in Gurnard Bay. Cowes Harbour Commission assisted in both the initial response and the subsequent salvage operation, and an incident investigation is now under way.

Meanwhile, keen-eyed visitors to our website may have noticed some changes with the recent introduction of a new “ Services ” section to give increased visibility to our commercial marine services arm and self-storage facility at Kingston Wharf. Also under Services you can find information on CHC’s fuel berth and its opening hours, plus information on business properties available, including our wharf site for lease.  

Finally, it is fantastic news that the organisers of SailGP have decided to return to Cowes in 2020 and we look forward to continuing our support for the SailGP Team and building on the successful “Cowes SailGP” event held this year. SailGP’s press release on Cowes and Season 2 is published below for your interest.

Capt. Stuart McIntosh - Cowes Harbour Master

Photo (L to R): September 2019 at Town Quay, Cowes - Deputy Harbour Master Statutory Jon Howden, Harbour Master Capt. Stuart McIntosh, Deputy Harbour Master Marine Services Ed Walker.
Exercise tests harbour oil spill response
On 7th November, Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) hosted a multi-agency oil spill Incident Management Exercise with our oil spill response partners Adler and Allan, to test the capability and processes for dealing with a hydrocarbon spill in the harbour. Marine transfer barge Blade Runner Two , owned by Williams Shipping, was utilised during the exercise where a punctured fuel tank was simulated and oil spill response instigated. 

Harbour Master Capt. Stuart McIntosh said: “This scenario was designed to exercise our Oil Spill Response Plan and the cooperation between CHC, Adler and Allan and other external parties that could be involved in an oil spill incident and clean-up in the harbour. These Incident Management Exercises are held once every three years, providing valuable experience of local conditions and spill scenarios and helping to enhance the skills and teamwork of all those who take part.”

Supporting young people into maritime careers
Cowes Harbour Commission is keen to promote awareness of the marine environment and opportunities for young people in the marine industry, whether that is, for example, participating in the Royal Yacht Squadron Foundation’s Maritime Careers Fairs, hosting University of Portsmouth Post Graduates studying Coastal and Marine Resource Management, or giving a talk to Cowes Enterprise College students during a maritime geography trip.

SailGP F50 catamarans to return to Cowes in Season 2
Cowes Harbour Commission was delighted to hear last week that following its European debut event in 2019 that resulted in some of the most dramatic moments of Season 1, the organisers of SailGP have decided to return to Cowes again in Season 2. 

On 14th-15th August 2020, the world’s fastest sail racing boats will compete on the Solent, where sailing’s elusive 50-knot speed barrier was eclipsed in the inaugural season. Cowes SailGP – the fourth stop of SailGP Season 2 – will take place during Cowes Week, and tickets will go on sale in March 2020.

The Great Britain SailGP Team will want to impress the home crowd in Cowes and win its first SailGP event title, as the team looks to fend off rivals from Australia, China, France, Japan and the United States, plus the possibility of an additional team during Season 2.


Photo: Cowes SailGP 2019 © Lloyd Images
Annual moorings availability for 2020
Cowes Harbour Commission provides a wide choice of annual mooring and berthing options in the Central Solent. As we near the end of the year, it will soon be time for us to invite our annual mooring holders to renew their mooring for 2020.

There are always a few boat owners who wish to change to another mooring in the harbour, or who relinquish their mooring due to a work or home move. If you are considering taking up an annual mooring in Cowes next year, now is a good time to contact us .

Wind and wave safety - top 5 tips
Autumn is well and truly here and the Island has had its fair share of stormy weather recently, with more undoubtedly to come.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has asked people to take extra care and be ‘wind and wave safe’ during bad weather when the combination of high tides, strong winds, sea swells along our coastlines, and unpredictable waves can easily catch people out. 

During storms, the MCA advises you to keep well away from breaking waves, harbour walls, piers and jetties, keep well back from cliff edges, and follow their top tips for wind and wave safety.


Photo: Sheena Louise in rough weather off Egypt Point, outside Cowes Harbour © Nick Edwards / Cowes RNLI