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Motorboats

We see all kinds of motorboats in Cowes Harbour. From small day boats and medium-sized cruisers capable of speeds in excess of 25 knots to large vessels over 20 metres in length with a professional crew. All are subject to the Inner Harbour speed limit of 6 knots through the water, which also applies within 100m of the shore.

Passage on the Solent from Lymington, Hamble, or Portsmouth at 25 knots on a fine, sunny day can be exhilarating. The faster planing vessels are often more comfortable at this speed. However, reducing speed on approaching Cowes Harbour, much like reducing speed on a motorway slip road after long periods at 70mph, can be deceiving. Hence, on approaching Cowes Harbour reduce speed in good time, in consideration of the many other boats manoeuvring at the harbour entrance.

The Eastern Channel is part of the Inner Harbour and is subject to the 6-knot speed limit. Double check speed with your GPS, remembering to correct for speed through the water. Always make a visual check of your wash. Ensure you are well clear of the designated moorings areas, and if possible, detail a crew member to keep a good all-round lookout, especially astern, while the helmsman concentrates on negotiating the river traffic.

Complying with the maximum permitted speed will not exonerate the owner, Master or crew of any vessel from the responsibility of reducing speed as necessary in the observance of the normal practice of safe seamanship. This includes but is not limited to, when passing mooring trots, pontoons, vessels alongside quays, jetties or pontoons, vessels engaged in maritime works and when approaching the Cowes Floating Bridge.

General Direction (No. 3.2.2) Explains the expectations placed on all harbour users.