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Onwards to 2013

I'm very glad to be finishing the year on a  positive note as we share with you the news of our successful application for a Cowes Harbour Revision Order. We can now start the formal consultation process on a new set of General Directions early next January with the idea of being able to implement them in time for the 2013 sailing season.

Cowes has to be forward-looking, particularly in these challenging times. Recently, we have been working closely with Cowes Yacht Haven to kick-start an initiative designed to help bring more events back to Cowes and we look forward in anticipation to how this will be carried forward.


As 2012 draws to an end I'd like to express my sincere thanks to the whole Cowes Harbour Authority team, our Commissioners and the Advisory Committee, for their hard work and valuable contributions throughout the year.


Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and let's hope 2013 is a good year for Cowes!

Best regards,

blue sig

Captain Stuart McIntosh,

Cowes Harbour Master


Cowes Harbour Fuels

Chris Squib, a well known face on the River Medina is now looking forward to his imminent retirement on 20 December. Chris has worked at the Cowes fuel berth since 1987 when it was set up by his previous company Marine Support and Towage.


In 2008 the fuel berth was sold to Cowes Harbour Commission and renamed Cowes Harbour Fuels with Chris working part-time for CHC. I am sure everyone will join me and the CHC team in wishing Chris all the best for his retirement years.

Nick Collins and Mike Hassel have now taken up the reins at Cowes Harbour Fuels and will be there over the Christmas period as follows: 


Mondays - Fridays: 1000 - 1500

Weekends: 1000 - 1600

Closed: 25 - 26 December 2012, and 1 January 2013


Navitus Bay wind park

Cowes Harbour Commission has been advised that as a direct result of discussions with statutory consultees and local communities, Navitus Bay has made a significant reduction to its proposed wind park in Poole Bay - which will be visible from the Isle of Wight.


The changes, which include moving the development further out to sea and making it smaller in scale, will reduce the potential visual impact of the project from key areas including Durlston Head, The Needles, and Bournemouth.


The new visuals unveiled can be viewed here and include a view from the footpath overlooking The Needles on the Isle of Wight.


Read the full story on


If money was no object

Wintertime musings from Cowes...

Everyone secretly wants a bigger boat, and it's usually a given that anyone picking up a magazine will look at the top of the range in their class. Small commercial fishermen will be looking at state-of-the-art work boats, hobbyists will scan the sports fishing boats bristling with rods and equipment, while yachtsmen will either want to be going faster or in more comfort on a larger yacht.


Toys and sparkly bits range from the easy to save up for and fit, with the latest chart plotters and fish finders, all integrated with GPS and most accurate charts, to the more esoteric.


Whilst the sailors are dreaming about faster sails and lighter, stripped Dyneema halyards, the motor boat fraternity will be thinking about more horsepower and speed. Would re-engining give them what they need to get there faster, more efficiently, or get further afield?


Then how about a marina berth rather than that old pile mooring, or the pontoon you can have as a compromise between the two, and perhaps a nice yacht club to go ashore to and tell your war stories - the winter dreams are endless...


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For all your boatyard needs, contact Marine Services Manager Barney Sollars' team at CHC's Kingston Marine Boatyard. Telephone on 01983 293952 or send an email to:


CCYC Boxing Day Race

Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club will be running its annual Boxing Day Race on Wednesday, 26 December - just perfect for blowing away the cobwebs and overcoming the indulgences of Christmas!

The race will be run under the CCYC Rating System and is open to all yachts and small keel boats. The warning signal is scheduled for 1055 and the course will be around the cans, using designated Solent racing marks.


Prizes will be awarded in the CCYC Clubhouse after racing where hardy sailors can also enjoy mulled wine and mince pies and take part in a charity raffle. For more information visit


Cowes news for all

If you have friends or family who live or work in Cowes, come on holiday to Cowes, sail from Cowes or have an interest in the town's activities on and off the water, then please share this newsletter with them. They can register to receive CHC news here.


Please keep in touch!

Don't forget that Cowes Harbour Commission is always happy to gain feedback on its services and on the issues it is tackling on your behalf. If you want to talk to the Harbour Master, Capt. Stuart McIntosh or to Rod Hodgson, the Deputy Harbour Master, please feel free to call into the Harbour Office on Town Quay, phone and make an appointment on:
01983 293952, or

Cowes Harbour Commission also owns and operates the following commercial services: Shepards Wharf Marina, Kingston Marine Services, Cowes Harbour Moorings and Cowes Harbour Fuels. 

You can keep up-to-date with all the news on our website:


CHC Local Notices to Mariners (LNTMs)

Sailors and boaters using Cowes Harbour are advised to regularly check current Notices to Mariners.

Links to recent LNTMs:

No. 38(T) of 2012: Small Craft Channel Conical Buoys Temporarily Extinguished

No. 30 of 2012: Diving at Work and Commercial Swimmers

No. 23 of 2012: Cowes Harbour Fairway

No. 20 of 2012: Approaches to Cowes Harbour

All current Notices are available on the CHC website.


Above: A frosty, foggy December morning on the River Medina.
MMO authorises Cowes Harbour Revision Order 2012

Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) is pleased to announce that the Marine Management Organisation has approved the Harbour Revision Order (HRO) for Cowes which will come into force on 7 January 2013.


Stuart McIntosh, Cowes Harbour Master said: "This is a significant step forward as we will now be able to replace the old harbour Byelaws with a new set of regulations that are suitable for a modern, 21st century harbour. Formal consultation with harbour users on the new General Directions will start in early January with the intention of introducing them in time for the 2013 season."


Meanwhile, the RYA has just reiterated its support for the Cowes Harbour Revision Order following publication of an RYA press release on 6 December relating to the Marine Navigation (No. 2) Bill which is going through Parliament.


The RYA expressed some concerns over the Government's proposed Marine Navigation (No. 2) Bill with regard to the moderation procedures to be employed by harbour authorities when issuing regulations under the new Bill.


However, as Stuart McIntosh explained: "A number of the recent HROs promoted by Harbour Commissions such as Cowes and Yarmouth contain a robust adjudication provision that was worked up in partnership with the RYA."


Indeed, Gus Lewis, RYA Head of Legal & Government Affairs, confirmed last week that: "if the Marine Navigation (No. 2) Bill contained an equivalent moderation provision to that set out in the Cowes HRO - then the RYA would not be objecting to it!"


The Cowes HRO, which will enable CHC to issue 'General Directions' to manage port safety and protect the environment, contains the same democratic principles as those behind British laws. There are clear procedures laid down in the Cowes HRO, which must be adhered to, covering consultation and promulgation. A number of local harbours including Portsmouth and Yarmouth have already successfully issued General Directions.


Local reaction to the RYA press release has prompted Gus Lewis to confirm that he wrote to all RYA-affiliated clubs in Cowes back in July stating that the RYA was satisfied with the contents of the Cowes HRO. He said: "If any of those clubs have expressed concern in response to our press release then I would be happy to contact them directly to reiterate our position in relation to the Cowes HRO."


For more background information regarding the Cowes HRO and General Directions, please see the Statutory & Shipping section of the CHC website. Please see also the article below entitled: "New General Directions for Cowes". 

Cowes as an eventing destination

Cowes Harbour Commissioners and the Directors of Cowes Yacht Haven held a Forum Meeting at the Island Sailing Club on Saturday, 8 December, to explore potential initiatives that could be actioned in a partnership project aimed at incentivising and encouraging yacht classes and other organisations to bring their championships and events to Cowes.

The event was extremely well supported with representatives present from all the Cowes yacht clubs, as well as the leader of the Isle of Wight Council, local Town Councils, the new Destination Management Organisation (DMO), Red Funnel, Cowes Business Association, UKSA, and Cowes Week Limited.


Cowes Harbour Commission and Cowes Yacht Haven have offered to subsidise mooring charges for two events a year, with classes and events organisers bidding for opportunity.


Ensuing discussions identified the need for a dual approach, firstly, for a stakeholder organisation lead by the Cowes clubs to focus on bringing more yachting events to Cowes, and secondly, an initiative lead by David Thornton, head of the DMO, to recreate "brand Cowes" in order to attract more commercial events to the town.


"The Island Sailing Club was very pleased to be able to provide the venue for the meeting called by CHC and Cowes Yacht Haven. We are very supportive of the initiative and the Club looks forward to exploring further the very positive opportunities discussed at the meeting," said Rod Nicholls, Commodore.

New General Directions for Cowes

The new Cowes Harbour Revision Order 2012 (HRO) will come into force on 7 January 2013. This important statute modernises and improves the legislative powers vested in Cowes Harbour Commission to run an efficient and safe harbour.


The most important provision in the HRO is to empower CHC to issue General Directions to promote "conditions conducive to the ease, convenience or safety of navigation, the safety of persons and the protection of property, flora and fauna of the harbour". These General Directions will be the new local harbour legislation which the Commissioners propose will replace the old Byelaws that are no longer entirely fit for purpose.


The statutory consultation process

In early January 2013 the draft General Directions, which have already been subject to extensive informal consultation with bodies such as the Cowes Harbour Advisory Committee (CHAC), the RYA, local sailing schools, yacht clubs and fishermen, will be passed to "statutory consultees" for formal review and agreement.


Have your say on the draft General Directions

Ideally, harbour users should be able to channel any comments on the draft General Directions through their representative on the CHAC. However, if this is not possible then submissions to CHC can be made in writing, copy to CHAC as the statutory consultee, before 18 February 2013. Letters may be sent to the Harbour Office, Town Quay, Cowes, Isle of Wight PO31 7AS, and emails to:, copy to



CHC's aim is to introduce the new General Directions on 1 April 2013.


What major changes will the new regulations bring?

One significant change is to the general speed limit in the harbour from 6 knots over the ground to 6 knots through the water. The change will improve safety and prevent damage. Furthermore, it is proposed to reduce the speed limit south of the commercial wharves at Kingston to 4 knots. The other major proposed change affecting yachtsmen will be to give the Chain Ferry general priority over other vessels.


Further information

The new HRO, draft General Directions, and supporting information, including Questions & Answers, are available on the CHC website, or, they can be made available at the Harbour Office.


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CHC tests Oil Spill Response Plan

CHC has a statutory obligation to have an effective Oil Spill Response Plan (OSRP) in place. The purpose of this plan is to minimise the initial and long-term impact of any pollution incident and this is achieved by ensuring that our team, resources, and plan, are 'fit for purpose'.

The plan is continuously reviewed and updated with regular exercises to test the effectiveness of the plan. CHC staff are trained to respond to such an incident and receive back-up from our specialist external response contractor Adler and Allan.


On 13 December CHC undertook a full incident management exercise. This exercise tested the full capabilities of the incident management team and on-scene deployment. Key players were invited to attend including the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, IW Council, Environment Agency, Marine Management Organisation, IW Fuels, IW Fire and Rescue, Adler and Allan, and the IW Estuaries Officer.


Read the full story on

Christmas and New Year opening times

Contacting the Harbour team

The Harbour Office will be closed from 1700 on Friday, 21 December 2012 to 0900 on Wednesday, 2 January 2013. During this period all phone calls will be automatically redirected to Shepards Wharf Marina. The marina will be manned by the duty Berthing Master from 1100 - 1500 over this period.


The Harbour Master can be contacted out-of-hours in an emergency via Solent Coastguard, tel: 02392 552100 or VHF Ch 16/67.

Shepards Wharf Marina

Berthing Masters will carry out daily river patrols over the Christmas period to check all vessels, moorings, and navigation marks. The duty Berthing Master can be contacted at Shepards Wharf Marina on 01983 297821 between 1100 - 1500 and on VHF Channel 69 whilst on patrol, except for Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

Annual mooring license reminder

Most CHC annual mooring holders should have by now received their mooring renewal application either by email or by post. Please ensure that these are renewed with full payment sent to Cowes Harbour Commission by the end of December to guarantee your mooring for 2013. Mooring holders affected by the plan to upgrade some of the pile moorings to pontoons will receive invoices as soon as the 2013 rates have been confirmed.

Season's Greetings to everyone!

Finally, a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2013 to you all, from the team at Cowes Harbour Commission.

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