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News - 21/08/17

Floating Bridge – Cowes Chain Ferry – news update

The Isle of Wight Council (IWC), in consultation with their marine engineering consultants Burness Corlett Three Quays (BCTQ), have carried out further surveys and adjustments to the Floating Bridge ebb tide check chains over a 3-day period of the current large spring tides. These works and surveys were carried out in consultation and with the assistance of Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC). Regrettably, the surveys have confirmed that there is still a significant reduction in navigable depth over the chains in the centre of the river on the mid ebb situation when the Floating Bridge is being set to the north. 

The IWC have confirmed today, Friday 25th August, that they will be suspending the operation of the Floating Bridge during the ebb tide periods over the Bank Holiday weekend and will be reviewing the issues and ongoing situation with their marine engineering consultants BCTQ, and the builders of the Floating Bridge, Mainstay Marine, to determine the way forward. 

CHC has responsibility for maintaining navigational safety and an open port and therefore has already lodged a formal protest to the Isle of Wight Council in regard to the reduction in navigable depth and restriction of access to the Medina River caused by the new Floating Bridge. This protest was followed up today with a letter from CHC to the Chief Executive and Leader of the Council requesting confirmation on the IWC’s proposals and timescales for restoration of the navigable depths over the chains that restrict access for commercial ships and leisure craft. CHC has asked for a formal response by 1st September, so that it can be considered by the Commissioners and used to inform harbour users and provide our stakeholders with an update at their Cowes Harbour Advisory Committee meeting.

All harbour users are advised that Local Notice to Mariners No. 24(T) of 2017 – Cowes Chain Ferry Clearance Depths and Further Commissioning Works, issued on 14th August, is still current. Additionally, the latest survey diagrams may be viewed for further clarification. As stated in LNTM No. 24(T), the maximum permissible draught over the chains = actual tide height + 1.1 metres. All mariners will be advised of any changes to Chain Ferry clearance depths via a Cowes Local Notice to Mariners.