A summer of events

This year's Round the Island Race enjoyed excellent conditions and the majority of the fleet finished in good time. I'd particularly like to express my appreciation of the role ABP Southampton plays, not widely known amongst competitors, in arranging for the main shipping lanes to be closed during the starts, with vessels bringing forward or delaying their arrival or departure, often with cost implications. A high level of support from Solent harbour masters and shipping companies each year contributes to making RTIR a fantastic yachting event.


Looking ahead, Cowes will hold a host of major events in July, including the IRC Nationals, Panerai British Classic Week, the Swan European Regatta, Quarter Ton Cup, and Cowes Classics Week; providing a wonderful spectacle for those ashore and hopefully great racing for those competing. 


I hope you will find our June newsletter interesting and informative, and may I encourage you to forward this email onto anyone you know who is equally interested in Cowes Harbour.

Best regards,

blue sig

Captain Stuart McIntosh,

Cowes Harbour Master


Ground investigations

As reported in our May E-newsletter, ground investigation work is required to support the tender details for the Cowes Breakwater Project.

CHC can now confirm that this work has been scheduled to commence on Saturday, 17 August, for a period of around 10 to 13 days, and will entail a jack-up barge working 24 hours a day in Cowes Harbour.


A temporary General Direction and Local Notice to Mariners will be issued implementing a 100 metre exclusion zone around the jack-up rig platform.


In addition, a number of main harbour annual mooring holders in the vicinity of the works will be requested by CHC to relocate to another mooring for the duration of the works.


Signage for the River

Please read our story below on Hampshire Police's 'Operation Wash and Slow', and take note of the improved signage that CHC has recently installed:

- a floating '6 knots no wash' sign has been deployed in the Folly Reach.

- new '6 knots no wash' speed limit signs have been placed on the Small Craft Channel buoyage.


At work in the harbour

As the commercial gateway to the Isle of Wight, Cowes Harbour handles over 330,000 tons of cargo per annum which is imported and exported on commercial ships.


One such commercial ship is the 1749 GT (gross tonnage) Jan V, a general cargo vessel built in 1985 that works the Baltic for much of the time but is also a regular visitor to Cowes Harbour.


When yachtsmen could fly into Cowes

Before joining their yachts in Cowes for a weekend's racing, crews living on the mainland have the task of reaching the Isle of Wight port.

One option denied to them, however, is to be a passenger aboard a Cowes-bound aircraft on a scheduled air service.


But it was not always the case; in the 1930's there was indeed a regular air service, linking several mainland airports with Somerton on the outskirts of Cowes.



By George Chastney, Vice Chairman, Cowes Heritage.


Sign up for Cowes news

We would like to encourage all our readers to share this newsletter with family and friends via the "Forward email" link at the foot of this email.

Alternatively, just scan the above QR code with a smart phone to register for free CHC E-newsletters. 

Please keep in touch!

Cowes Harbour Commission is always happy to gain feedback on its services and on the issues it is tackling on behalf of all harbour users and stakeholders. If you would like 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 email: [email protected]. 
CHC also owns and operates the following commercial services: Shepards Wharf Marina, Kingston Marine Services & Boatyard, Cowes Harbour Moorings, and Cowes Harbour Fuels. 

You can keep up-to-date with all CHC 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. 19 of 2013: Use of 'Kill Cords' On-Board Powered Craft

No. 17(T) of 2013: Eastern Pair of Yellow Lateral Buoys Marking the Small Craft Channel are Reported as Extinguished

No. 15 of 2013: New Cowes General Directions Come into Force on the 2nd of April 2013

No. 14 of 2013: Navigation within the Cowes Harbour Fairway

No. 13 of 2013: Use of Engines by Sailing Vessels in the Inner and Outer Fairways

No. 12 of 2013: Small Craft Channel

No. 11 of 2013: Approaches to Cowes Harbour

No. 10 of 2013: Cowes Roads and Main Harbour Areas Restricted Areas

All current Notices are available on the CHC website.
Above: Morning sunlight behind the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race fleet, 1 June 2013.
Cruise market opportunities for Cowes

The lucrative cruise industry has seen a clear increase in demand in recent years, and continues to grow even with the backdrop of poor economic conditions. As reported on 7 June in the Isle of Wight County Press, "visiting cruise liners could generate an extra 1m a year to the economies of Cowes and East Cowes by 2016".

This potential for Cowes to actively pursue an expansion in the luxury cruise market is one of the opportunities outlined in a report, commissioned by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), to investigate the business case for a Cowes Outer Harbour breakwater.


The "Business Case" report, carried out by ARUP of London, looks at the strategic, economic, commercial, financial and management cases in relation to the proposed Cowes Breakwater Project, and is now available to view on the CHC website.


According to the report, the construction of an Outer Harbour breakwater would provide sufficient stability to allow Cowes Harbour to promote itself as a destination for small visiting cruise ships - and thereby take advantage of strong growth in the northern European five star boutique cruise market.


The ARUP report also highlights other potential economic and employment spin-offs for Cowes, East Cowes and the wider Island community, as a result of a permanent breakwater, and these include:


- The estimated additional gross expenditure per annum as a result of the breakwater could be over 3.5 million.

- Additional employment is estimated at 76 full time jobs.

- The impacts of an outer breakwater, in terms of extending the yachting season and reducing the seasonality of tourism, will be positive and help the Isle of Wight realise its economic potential.

CHC Advisory Committee wishes to hear your views

The Cowes Harbour Commission Advisory Committee (CHCAC) is looking to improve communications between the committee representatives and their stakeholder groups so that the Advisory Committee can gain more feedback and comments from stakeholders to take forward to CHC.

Who are the Cowes Harbour stakeholders?

If you are a harbour user, have an interest or concern in Cowes Harbour, work, live in or visit Cowes, then the Cowes Harbour stakeholder groups are of interest to you because they are the instruments by which your views and concerns can be represented and communicated to the Cowes Harbour Commissioners.


Invitation from CHCAC Chairman Ben Willows

Director of Operations at UKSA, Ben Willows, is the current Chairman of CHCAC and has this message for the Cowes Harbour community: "I believe that the main area of focus for the Advisory Committee, over the next six to 12 months, should be to gain wider stakeholder input so that more local issues get onto our agenda for discussion with CHC.


"If you have a view or issue that you think CHC should be aware of, then I'd like to encourage you to contact the representative of the stakeholder group you feel you are part of and that representative will ensure that your view is taken forward, considered, and reported back to you."


Value of the Advisory Committee to Cowes Harbour

It is important for the long-term sustainability of Cowes Harbour that stakeholder views and opinions are listened to, and that all views are on the table and considered when decisions are being taken within the port. This is where the CHCAC has value and can continue to be a real asset to Cowes as a port, now and in the future.


Meetings of the Advisory Committee

The CHCAC currently meets four times a year: in March, May, September and December. The representatives meet with the Harbour Master/Chief Executive and one or two of the Commissioners are also in attendance. The discussions and content of those meetings are always summarised and made public to read on the CHC website. In addition, the meeting reports are communicated via the representatives to their stakeholder group through their own publications and forums.


Read the full article on

Operation Wash and Slow

The Hampshire Police Marine Branch are regular and welcome visitors to Cowes Harbour. They work closely with CHC's own staff, particularly our Berthing Masters afloat, to promote safe navigation and combat anti-social behaviour and crime on the River Medina. This spring, Hampshire Police initiated 'Operation Wash and Slow' which focuses on encouraging vessels to adhere to a safe speed on the water. Full details are in Project Kraken's April Newsletter.


The degree of wash caused by any vessel is a direct product of speed through the water. This was one of the driving factors behind the change on 2 April this year of the Cowes Harbour speed limit from 6 knots over the ground to 6 knots through the water.


The problem with wash is that it is generated to the side and astern of your vessel. Too often skippers are oblivious to the damage and inconvenience they are causing by excessive speed. New Cowes General Directions 3.2 and 3.3 address the issue.


Sergeant Tony Birr, of the Hampshire Constabulary Marine Unit, said: "Our Marine Unit is committed to supporting harbour masters as they work to maintain a safe environment for everyone to enjoy. Harbour Byelaws and Directions are in place in all our harbour authority areas; it's important that people adhere to them when using the harbours for the safety of themselves and others. The Police, the MCA and the harbour masters will be working as one team across the Solent this summer to enforce the regulations in place and target persistent offenders."


Please adhere to our speed limits in Cowes Harbour - and remember to check astern to ensure that the wash your vessel is generating is insignificant and not causing annoyance, damage, or danger to other persons and property.

Read the rest of this informative article on


By Peter Jackson, Commissioner for Safety, Security & the Environment.

IW Estuaries Project on water quality

Cowes Harbour Commission is working with the Isle of Wight Estuaries Project to investigate and address water quality issues in the River Medina, in partnership with the Environment Agency, Southern Water, and The Green Blue (a joint RYA and BMF initiative).

The key priority for CHC this year is to establish baseline information on the number of combined sewer overflow discharges of storm water into the River Medina as a result of torrential rain, flash floods and large storm events. We will also raise awareness of the issue of discharges from recreational boats and encourage best practice.


CHC is working with all parties concerned to pull the necessary information together, to enable an accurate assessment to be made, so that potential recommendations can be put forward for improving the management, monitoring, and water quality of the Medina.


The project will involve both long and short-term initiatives and the collation of existing information about discharges into the estuary. The Environment Agency and Southern Water are investigating point source discharges which will enable us to better identify those that require improvement and seek appropriate solutions. This work involves installing monitoring equipment at certain discharges, recording flows and using the data to improve sewer network models.


The IW Estuaries Project will assist on a local level by starting to record and monitor any pollution events and observations. This will help the Environment Agency and Southern Water by providing a local perspective and flagging up any problem areas.


The Green Blue will highlight the issue of discharges from recreational boats at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week (3-10 August) to help raise awareness of faecal contamination issues. They will be working with Cowes Week Limited, the IW Estuaries Project, CHC, and local marinas.


On a more positive note, the Cowes 'Designated Bathing Water' received a 'Seaside Award' (previously called Quality Coast Awards), a Marine Conservation Society 'Recommended Beach Award' and a 'Solent Water Quality Award'. The Seaside Award is a higher level award than was achieved in 2012 and takes into account water quality, the beach facilities and cleanliness.


Read the full article on


By Sue Hawley, Estuaries Officer, IW Estuaries Project.

Social media links