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LNTM - 19/04/24


Cowes Chain Ferry – Safety Advice

(This notice replaces Local Notice to Mariners 08 of 2022, which is 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 is situated on a blind bend at the narrowest stretch of the river.
  2. 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.
  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 if travelling in the direction of tide, especially during spring tide cycles, and be prepared to give way to the Chain Ferry in plenty of time.
  6. Once the Chain Ferry is berthed, please pass at slow speed. 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. This provides the best clearance over the chains.

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.

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