The river is a great place to explore – especially to those places inaccessible at any time except high tide The river can be hazardous though. It is not recommended to operate any of these small leisure vessels in the fairways north of the commercial wharves at Kingston due to the density of river traffic and the presence of the Red Funnel vehicle and freight ferries, as well as Red Jet high-speed passenger ferries. The water can also get very choppy, and the tide can flow in excess of 3 knots.
Windsurfing and paddle boarding are prohibited north of No. 8 fairway buoy, which is located south of Kingston Power Station. The Power Station is easily identified by its two large chimney stacks. Further information can be found in the General Directions.
Care should also be taken when crossing entrances to marinas and gaps between pontoon moorings, as craft entering the fairway may not be able to see you and you may be hidden from view by vessels moored alongside the pontoons.
Tides can run up to 4 knots in the river and are strongest on a falling tide in the vicinity of the Chain Ferry; the further upriver you go the weaker the flow tends to be. For more information on the tidal flow experienced in Cowes Harbour, including the River Medina, please view the section on Local Tide Flows.
The launching of canoes and kayaks can be carried out from almost any location due to their small size; rowing skulls are more restricted and can be launched from the following locations:
- The Folly Inn Slip
- The White Hart slipway at East Cowes (but not during an ebb tide which can run up to 4 knots or when the vehicle ferries are manoeuvring).
- The slipway on the north side of the Shrape breakwater at East Cowes Esplanade.For more information, see Slipways and Public Landings.
Rowing clubs operating locally include:
Newport Rowing Club
Ryde Rowing Club