Cowes Harbour Commission Newsletter
October 2014
Shaping the future of Cowes Harbour 
Yesterday we launched CHC's first ever e-survey giving all those with an interest in the future of Cowes Harbour a chance to have their say. I believe it is very important for us to listen to you, our customers, and to consider your vision for the harbour, so I hope that many of you will take part in our online consultation. Your answers, comments and ideas will feed into CHC's strategic review.

We are almost at the end of the 2014 breakwater works, which have proceeded according to plan and therefore we will shortly be moving into a phase of monitoring over the winter. Do read our construction update opposite, and view the full article online for more information and explanatory diagrams.

Best regards,
Captain Stuart McIntosh
Cowes Harbour Master
New National Coastwatch Institution VHF Channel

NCI has announced that it has been allocated a national licence by OFCOM to use VHF Channel 65, strongly supported by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). Use of VHF Channel 65 will facilitate communications between an NCI station and seafarers.

Dredge Licence Application 03/2014 East Cowes Marina
An application has been received for a maintenance dredge licence at East Cowes Marina. Hard copies of supporting drawings and method statements can be viewed at the Harbour Office, Town Quay, Cowes between 0900-1700 Monday to Friday. The deadline for comments or objections is 1st November 2014; these should be submitted to the Harbour Office in writing.
Weather and live tide info for Cowes Harbour
The Weather and Tides section of CHC's website provides a valuable one-stop source of tidal and meteorological information for Cowes. Bookmark the page so you always have quick and easy access to the live tide gauge in Cowes Harbour, Cowes tide tables, Met Office forecasts, Windfinder, Bramblemet, and more!
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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:

Sign up to receive notification of all Local Notices to Mariners by emailing us and including 'LNTM subscription' in the subject line.
CHC Strategic Review - The vision for Cowes Harbour in 2020 and beyond

Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) has launched an online consultation aimed at assisting the Commission during a major review of the vision, strategic objectives, plans and policies for Cowes Harbour on the Isle of Wight. The consultation, designed to give stakeholders the chance to have their say on the future of the harbour, can be accessed via:



Capt. Stuart McIntosh, Cowes Harbour Master, said: "My Commissioners and I would like to invite and encourage input to our e-survey from as many stakeholders and harbour users as possible and all those who are interested in creating a widely supported and sustainable long-term vision for Cowes Harbour.


"The key question we are asking at this point is, what do you want Cowes Harbour to look like in 2020 and beyond? This, along with other leading questions and topics will form part of our strategic review taking place up until next February. We intend to consult and involve harbour users and stakeholders throughout, and will also be holding a series of direct consultation meetings with the main Cowes Harbour stakeholder groups."


A new CHC strategy covering the period 2015 to 2020 and beyond will be developed by April 2015 and promoted at the next CHC Annual Public Meeting on 21st May 2015.


CHC's Strategic Review online survey, entitled "The vision for Cowes Harbour in 2020 and beyond!", should take around 10-15 minutes to complete, depending on the amount of information you may wish to provide. To allow CHC sufficient time to evaluate results, the online consultation will close on Monday, 1st December 2014.


Read the full article at
2014 Cowes Breakwater Project Construction Round-Up

CHC is pleased to report that completion on the 2014 phases of the Cowes breakwater construction programme is imminent with contractors Boskalis Westminster now finalising the reshaping of the 350 metre long breakwater core in advance of a winter settlement period.

Capt. Stuart McIntosh said: "Progress on construction of the new detached breakwater has proceeded as planned and completion by Boskalis Westminster of the first six months of works is on schedule. CHC's top priority is always safety and despite Cowes being a very busy harbour, the Exclusion Zone around the breakwater construction site has been successfully managed throughout the season."


Paul Datson, Head of Capital and Coastal Projects at Boskalis Westminster, added: "'The execution of the project has taken place safely and is on schedule. We have successfully achieved our intermediate objectives this year to allow the breakwater construction to continue as planned. The settlement being observed is in line with our design and everything is on course for us to return in the spring to continue with the rock placement works."


Following a review by Boskalis Westminster and the breakwater's designers of data collected during an initial one month settlement period in September, the planned reshaping of the gravel core commenced in mid-October. Excess gravel that had originally been deposited along the slopes of the breakwater was used to reshape and raise the gravel core to around 4.6 metres above chart datum.


A consolidation process will take place over the autumn and winter of 2014-2015, to allow for settlement of the gravel core along the breakwater footprint and increased load bearing capacity of the subsoil. Monitoring of the breakwater gravel core will take place on a monthly basis over the winter period, more often in the case of any severe weather conditions. It should be noted that the breakwater will resemble a gravel spit during the winter of 2014-15 and will only begin to take its final finished appearance during the 2015 works.


Read the full article at
Harbour navigation information

New Cowes fairway buoyage
New Cowes fairway buoyage
All harbour users are advised that new Cowes fairway buoyage has been established with the addition on 16th October of two red port lateral marks, 2A and 4A, in the Inner Fairway. The laying of these two marks, which are fitted with radar reflectors and lights, reduces the distance between the red lateral marks to a maximum of 1 cable and will assist mariners further in conditions of reduced visibility. Please see Local Notice to Mariners No 29 of 2014 for mark positions and light characteristics.


As mentioned in last month's E-newsletter and detailed in Local Notice to Mariners 25 of 2014, during the last three hours of the flood tide a cross current may be experienced between the Watch House Beacon and the Small Craft Channel with rates of up to 1.25 knots on a mean high water spring tide. Small craft of less than 20 metres in length are reminded of their obligation to not impede the passage of large vessels that can only safely navigate within the fairway.


Following completion of the 2014 phase of breakwater construction, CHC and ABPmer will carry out further detailed monitoring of tidal flows in the harbour. Results from this monitoring, which will include actual flow directions and strengths, will be reviewed against pre-construction flow rates and modelling predictions, and facilitate the model's further calibration and adjustment with the latest post-construction tidal data. The updated model will then be used for the planned review of the design and construction for phases 2 and 3, the dredging of the eastern channel and extension to the Shrape breakwater.

Medina estuary winter watch!

As winter approaches, it may be a quieter time for sailing but it is a very busy and important time for the estuary's wildlife. This time of year sees the arrival of our overwintering birds as well as those that stop off to feed and rest whilst on their long journeys.


The birds that feed here throughout the winter are building up the vital energy supplies that they will need to power their onward migration at the end of the season. If you are out and about over the autumn and winter months, see how many of our visitors you can spot, but please do your best not to disturb them.


From October to March, groups of overwintering waterbirds such as Black-tailed Godwit, Wigeon and Teal depend on the estuary's mud and saltmarsh for feeding, roosting and refuge. The most noticeable of the winter visitors are probably the noisy flocks of Dark-bellied brent geese. Dozens of these pretty, compact black and white geese feed on the green algae and roost on the saltmarsh and nearby fields at high water. The saltmarsh is an important coastal habitat made up of plants that are specially adapted to the salt water and tidal conditions. They contain nutrients that support a range of special invertebrates and act as nursery areas for fish and crustaceans which all provide food for the many species of birds.


The River Medina is home to some of Europe's rarest and most vulnerable migratory birds. Its mudflats, saltmarsh and surrounding land forms part of a network of wetland sites around the Solent that has the highest level of European nature conservation protection. By ensuring a balance between our activities and the conservation and enhancement of our natural resources we will be able to continue to welcome our special winter visitors for many years to come.


Read the full article at
Shepards Wharf twins with Town Quay Southampton

Shepards Wharf Marina has teamed up with Town Quay marina over in Southampton to offer a range of exciting RYA Active Marina events. Shepards Wharf Marina and Cowes Harbour Moorings customers are very welcome to attend any or all of Town Quay's forthcoming events; click to view the full programme.


The Town Quay RYA Active Marina Events and Christmas Dinner will take place on Friday, 28th and Saturday, 29th November. The programme includes for example, an ABP Southampton 'History of the Port and VTS Tour', talks on securing and winterising your boat, as well as Christmas songs, mulled wine and mince pies!


Please make sure you contact Shepards Wharf as soon as possible to book your places for the various activities as space is limited.


Read the full article at
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