Cowes Chain Ferry – Safety Advice
04 January 2022
(This notice replaces Local Notice to Mariners 04 of 2021 and 09 of 2021 which are hereby cancelled)
Notice is hereby given that all mariners should be aware of the following safety information when navigating in the vicinity of the Cowes Chain Ferry.
All mariners are reminded of the contents of Cowes Harbour General Directions Section 6 with specific reference to paragraphs 6.1 and 6.5 which refer to the right of way.
All mariners are advised that when passing the Cowes Chain Ferry, they shall navigate with particular caution. The following points shall be borne in mind when planning your passage and making your approach:
1. The Chain Ferry has right of way over all river traffic, unless you contact them on VHF Ch. 69 to arrange an unimpeded passage, which must be done in advance and acknowledged by the Chain Ferry,
2. The Chain Ferry is situated on a blind bend at the narrowest stretch of the river,
3. If the yellow lights are flashing, the ferry is about to move or is already moving, therefore you must give way,
4. Do not pass the Chain Ferry when it is in motion as clearances over the chains are reduced,
5. Be aware of strong tidal flows, especially spring tides, if travelling in the direction of tide and be prepared to give way to the Chain Ferry in plenty of time,
6. If you must pass the Chain Ferry on strong ebb tides, please do so at slow speed and pass in the centre of the gap between the ferry and the shore.
7. Do not pass too close to the Chain Ferry or too close to the shore
Calculating clearance over the chains
For calculating your clearance over the chains please use the following diagram:
When within 0.8 metres of the maximum permissible draught, the Chain Ferry with adequate notice shall be instructed to wait on the EAST bank for the transit of the vessel
To assist you in calculating your clearance over the Chain Ferry, Cowes Harbour Commission website displays daily tidal information as well as monthly tide tables.
In addition, there are numerous tide boards located around the harbour where the height of tide can be found:
• Shrape Beacon
• Watchhouse Beacon
• 4A Beacon
• North Outer Wall of Cowes Yacht Haven
• North end of Medina Wharf
This local notice to mariners will remain in force until further notice.