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News - 23/06/14

Annual Report – Marine Services

Policy and investment: Cowes Harbour Commission is self-financing and has a policy to invest in marine services and facilities for the long-term benefit of the harbour and its stakeholders. 

The Commission’s policy is to invest in developing marine services that are strategically important for the harbour and where it is evident that other private sector parties are reticent to invest. Surpluses from these marine service activities are then ploughed back to support the provision of harbour services and development of the harbour. They are also important in reducing the reliance on harbour dues. 

The Commission operates the following marine services:

– Kingston Wharf
– Kingston Marine Services
– Kingston Marine Boatyard
– Shepards Wharf Marina
– Cowes Harbour Moorings
– Cowes Harbour Fuels


Investment & Marine Services Development
Kingston Wharf is of strategic importance to Cowes as it facilitates the import of bulk oil by ship to the adjacent oil distribution site operated by Isle of Wight Fuels and the aggregate facility operated by Isle of Wight Aggregates. These two important wharves are now secured in the custody of Cowes Harbour Commission and CHC has lease arrangements with both operators for their use of the wharf.

In addition, the Kingston site comprises 8.7 acres of marine industrial land, which includes 1,300 sqm of buildings and additional workshops, boatyard facilities, and commercial wharves.

Since the acquisition in April 2012, CHC has been developing an investment and management plan that is aimed at maximising the potential of the site as a marine service centre with full boatyard and maintenance facilities. The aim of the Kingston development plan is to create a facility that will enable CHC to continue to invest in developing its service operations of Kingston Boatyard and Kingston Marine Services as well as providing the right environment and conditions to continue to attract other marine service companies to re-locate to the Kingston site. During the last 12 months CHC has been consulting on this plan, including discussions with the Isle of Wight Council development teams and the HCA, to ensure that our plans fit within the overall employment/development plans for the Medina Valley.

Marine Employment Hub
The Kingston Wharf site now accommodates 13 companies including CHC and the main wharf tenants Isle of Wight Fuels and Isle of Wight Aggregates, and the boatyard facilitates a further 15 regular marine sub-contracting companies. The Kingston site now provides employment facilities and work for 46 people and the plans are to continue the investment and growth of this important wharf and marine service facility.

Wharf Repairs & Upgrades
As part of CHC’s due diligence prior to the acquisition of the Kingston site in 2012, a structural survey of the concrete piled and decked wharf was carried out and confirmed that extensive structural repairs were required to the wharf structure due to deterioration of the internal steel reinforcement and cement caused by water ingress and corrosion. The majority of the financial repair liability will be borne by the two main wharf tenants under their long term lease agreements, and therefore, CHC has worked in partnership with tenants to manage this important project. (Details of the project management are contained in the Harbour Developments chapter of the Annual Report.)

The 20 week repair programme is due to be completed in July and will ensure that the wharf is structurally sound and fit for purpose to continue its long-term vital role of facilitating the import of 99% of the Island’s oil fuel requirements and also providing a strategic import facility for the Island’s aggregate requirements.


Kingston Marine Services (KMS) carries out the majority of CHC’s harbour, mooring and pontoon maintenance with their small and skilled team. The versatile multi-cat Seaclear, backed up by Seamark, give KMS the ability of carrying out a wide range of harbour and marine related contracts, including buoy laying, bed levelling, towing and salvage. The Commission has been successfully marketing KMS as the marine contractor of choice in the Medina for these types of contract and is also continuing to build on their customer base throughout the Solent with other harbour authorities.

The KMS service team have worked closely with the boatyard team over the last six months on the challenging project of removing and storing the Trinity Landing pontoons in the boatyard site and assisting the sub-contractors with the repair and refurbishment works. The KMS service team had lead responsibility for the pontoon reinstatement which was completed, as planned, in time for the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race. It is a testament to the acquisition and investment in the Kingston site that these types of projects can now be delivered in Cowes Harbour and by Island-based companies.


Kingston Marine Boatyard (KMB) has a strong and growing customer base that is built on KMB providing an all year round facility where owners can either choose the D.I.Y. option or have KMB carry out the work on their boats by our experienced team.

The  Commission’s ‘open yard’ policy and proactive approach to encouraging other marine service providers to re-locate or operate from the site is building the yard’s reputation and further increasing its capability and offer.


Shepards Wharf continues to be one of the key marina sites in Cowes and specialises in providing dry sailing packages to both dayboat and RIB owners.

A new fixed electric/hydraulic crane has been installed in time for the 2014 dry sailing season. The crane can lift vessels up to 6 tonnes; it is extremely quiet and is operated by a wireless remote control system. A new dedicated Manager, Jock Rafferty, was appointed in October 2013, taking on direct responsibility for the marina and dry sailing operation as well as Cowes Harbour Moorings.


CHC acquired Cowes Harbour Fuels in 2008 in order to maintain this important marine refuelling facility for the harbour. The steady increase in the price of fuel, combined with the current economic climate, resulted in a continuing downturn in the volume of sales in 2013, which is comparable to other Solent marine refuelling facilities. CHC is committed to maintaining this service for the benefit of the harbour users, and it is good to report that to date this year, fuel sales have improved slightly on 2013.

CHC also manage the harbour moorings, including pontoons, swinging buoys and pile moorings for both residents and visitors. These include the temporary moorings laid for the season and event moorings such as Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week and the Charles Stanley Cowes Classic Week. In 2013, the Commission invested in the installation of a new row of pontoons opposite East Cowes Sailing Club, which replaced a row of pile moorings that had reached the end of their usable life.

Trinity Landing has proved to be an excellent eventing and berthing facility for special vessels such as sail training vessels, superyachts, visiting foreign VIP vessels, and also a dedicated landing facility for cruise ships to tender their passengers ashore. The Landing has had problems with the designed joints between the pontoons since its installation, which have been compounded by the exposed position in the harbour. CHC, after extensive discussions with the build contractors, agreed to repairs and refurbishment of Trinity Landing, changing the joints from fixed to flexible and also taking the opportunity to apply new paint coatings. Unfortunately, these negotiations and repairs resulted in the landing being ashore for about three months longer than anticipated, but the facility has just been re-installed and is now back in commission.

Extract from the Cowes Harbour Commission Annual Report for 2013-2014.

• Cowes Harbour Commission Annual Report 2013-2014