Cowes Harbour Commission Newsletter
September 2014
The 'big picture' for Cowes
As you can see from our lead story, we are starting to carry out a strategic review of our plans and policies for Cowes Harbour. This will take place with the full involvement of all Commissioners and include detailed consultation between CHC and all our stakeholders. I believe it is very important that we carry out a proper strategic review and not just a tactical review of our current statutory responsibilities and delivery of marine services.

We have delivered much of what we said we would do for Cowes Harbour in our existing strategy document, including the breakwater which is underway, the purchase and upgrading of Kingston Wharf, the Trinity Landing pontoons, and the purchase of the fuel berth. However, it is important for us to consider what the balance should be between the delivery of our statutory responsibilities, providing marine services, and delivering stakeholder benefits.

I do hope that you will contribute to our consultation process, which aims to look at the 'big picture' as well as improvements to current services, port development, stakeholder projects, and much more.

Best regards,
Captain Stuart McIntosh
Cowes Harbour Master
Chain Ferry temporary service changes

The Cowes Chain Ferry will be running a pedestrian only service between 2000 and 0030 on four nights this week. On the evenings of 24th to 29th September inclusive (2000 to 0030), vehicles will not be able to gain access to the Chain Ferry on the Cowes side, due to road resurfacing works in Medina Road.

ASTO Small Ships Regatta
Saturday, 4th October will see the ASTO Small Ships Regatta, starting from the Royal London Yacht Club's shoreline in Cowes. The ASTO Small Ships Races are a youth event open to any sail training vessels of which at least half the crew is under 25.
Photographs of Cowes
The majority of the photographs in our monthly newsletters and on the Cowes Harbour Commission website have been taken by CHC staff and local marine photographers. If you would like to see your photographs showcased by CHC, then please read the full story on the CHC website for more information.
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Please keep in touch!
Cowes Harbour Commission is always glad to receive 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, 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 us.
Marine services
Cowes Harbour Commission also owns and operates the following commercial services: 
Shepards Wharf Marina 
Kingston Marine Boatyard
Kingston Marine Services
Cowes Harbour Moorings
Cowes Harbour Fuels
Local Notices to Mariners
Sailors and boaters using Cowes Harbour are advised to regularly check Local Notices to Mariners.

Links to recent Notices:

All current Local Notices to Mariners are available at:

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Cowes Harbour to carry out major strategic review

What do we want Cowes Harbour to look like in 2020? This and other significant questions are to form part of a far-reaching review of CHC's current Strategic Framework document and policies, which is due to take place over the autumn/winter of 2014-2015. The existing five year Strategic Framework document was revised in May 2011. With the new breakwater funded and construction well underway, and most of the principle objectives in the current document completed, Commissioners believe that now is the right time to carry out a major objectives and policy review. This strategic review will look to 2020 and beyond, to identify CHC's vision for the next 10 plus years. Cowes Harbour's Advisory Committee, other key stakeholder groups and all harbour users will shortly be invited to contribute to the review process by submitting comments and recommendations for consideration.


Harbour Master Capt. Stuart McIntosh, said: "It is vitally important for CHC to consult with all Cowes Harbour stakeholders on the vision to carry us forward for the next five years; therefore, we have set up a working group to prepare a detailed strategic questionnaire for circulation. I very much look forward to receiving your ideas for improvements, indications as to what issues we need to deal with, and also, for harbour users to take a look at the overall 'big picture' of what they would like to see for Cowes Harbour by the year 2020 and beyond."


We will keep you informed via our E-newsletters and notify stakeholders as soon as consultation is due to commence.


Read the full article at
September breakwater build update

Stage 6 Exclusion Zone
Construction news: CHC's contractors Boskalis Westminster have completed installation of the gravel pre-load on the new breakwater as scheduled, having deposited a total of 51,000m3 to bring the crest of the gravel core up to between 3.7 and 4.4 metres above chart datum.


Five settlement beacons were also installed on the breakwater for on-going monitoring during a four to six week initial resting period prior to the gravel pre-load being reshaped up to 5.0m above chart datum this autumn; the settlement beacons will remain in place until spring 2015.


Boskalis plan to return on 6th October, for approximately two weeks, to reshape the breakwater core using gravel stored on the breakwater sides; this will be achieved using an excavator and a floating spud-legged barge.


The breakwater is already proving a popular spot for wildlife, especially birds, as can be seen in a few of our latest photos of the new Cowes breakwater.


Navigation information: All vessels and plant associated with the breakwater build have been removed from the Construction Zone for the time being; this has enabled CHC to further reduce the size of the Exclusion Zone as detailed in Local Notice to Mariners No 26(T) of 2014. The breakwater is now marked with five yellow lights on the gravel core, plus two additional buoys marking the western and eastern ends.


Tidal flow modelling carried out before construction of the breakwater predicted certain changes to tidal rates and directions within the harbour. Local Notice to Mariners No 25 of 2014 provides the latest observed changes to the tidal system at Mean High Water Springs (4.2m). All harbour users should take these tide flows into account when navigating in the harbour. Further detailed tidal flow monitoring will be carried out in November to ascertain precise flow rates and directions.


Read the full article at
The Medina estuary environment

Water quality: CHC continues to work in partnership with the Isle of Wight Estuaries Project, Environment Agency (EA) and Southern Water to investigate and address water quality issues in the Medina estuary. After concerns were raised by Cowes Harbour Commission's Advisory Committee, CHC has discussed the issues with the responsible organisations and is working to improve baseline knowledge about the water quality in the estuary.


Ben Willows, Chairman of the Advisory Committee, said:" In response to stakeholder concerns over the quality of river water, the CHCAC has worked with CHC and the Estuaries Officer in order to meet with Southern Water and the EA to better understand the water quality issues that Cowes is facing."


The Environment Agency is the regulator and responsible for issuing discharge consents that allow a certain amount of wastewater into the estuary. There are a number of private discharge consents into the estuary as well as those monitored and controlled by Southern Water. Southern Water are responsible for maintaining as well as upgrading the system, and ensuring that the service delivered is 'fit-for-purpose' and meets regulatory requirements.


A key role for stakeholders will be to report any incidents of pollution through the Environment Agency's incident hotline number 0800 80 70 60, which is open 24/7. This will ensure that incidents are recorded systematically and any problem areas can then be identified.


"It is really important," Ben continued, "that anyone who witnesses a water quality issue in the river reports it to the EA, via the hotline, as soon as possible so that it is recorded and investigated by the EA. This will be a big help in creating a picture for the EA as to where and when issues arise."


Speed and wash: CHC has also been working with the Estuaries Project to produce additional signage to remind river users about speed and wash in the sensitive areas of the estuary. Ben added: "The Advisory Committee is very pleased to see there are new signs to help control speed and wash going up in the Folly area."


First and foremost however, CHC's remit is to provide education on speeding and control of wash for all users of Cowes Harbour and the River Medina, but the Commission will prosecute for serious speeding offences or repeat offences if absolutely necessary and indeed, one prosecution for speeding and related infringements of Cowes Harbour General Directions is currently underway.


All mariners should proceed at a safe speed and not produce wake or wash that could cause a nuisance to other river users. The harbour is not only used by ships and yachts, but also by tenders and dinghies, many of which have a low freeboard and could easily be swamped.


Read the full article at
Multi-Cat Seaclear undergoes refit

The main workhorse at CHC's Kingston Marine Services (KMS) is the 16m Multi-Cat vessel Seaclear, which is operated under the Code of Practice for the 'Safety of Small Workboats and Pilot Boats' and is annually surveyed for compliance. Every three years Seaclear is examined out of the water for her SCV (small commercial vessel) certification. Currently, Seaclear is spending three weeks ashore for a full refit. This will involve a major overhaul of the hull coatings; inspection of all underwater systems, including propellors, shafts and stern glands; and servicing of the hydraulic systems on the crane.


CHC are investing 8k into the refit project with the KMS team carrying out some of the required works to Seaclear, and South Boats IOW undertaking the rest of the repairs.


Read the full article at
The Shackleton Epic Expedition at Cowes Literary Festival

The awe-inspiring story of Sir Ernest Shackleton's perilous journey across land and sea is well known as one of the greatest feats of leadership, courage and survival. Shackleton and his small crew navigated the 22.5 foot James Caird from Elephant Island through the immense waves of the Southern Ocean before scaling the icy mountains of South Georgia to find help for the crew of the Endurance.


Re-enacting that incredible journey using authentic equipment seems an impossible task but in 2013 the explorer Tim Jarvis AM led an expedition called 'Shackleton Epic', which was the first to complete that challenge. A replica of the James Caird was built at the International Boatbuilding College at Lowestoft and named Alexandra Shackleton after Shackleton's granddaughter. Tim Jarvis AM is a veteran of multiple polar expeditions but believes this was the most challenging expedition of his life. He will be speaking at the Cowes Literary Festival on 18th October and recreating this extraordinary adventure.


Read the full article at
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