It is not just your boat speed but also the wake from your vessel that can have an impact within the harbour. Excessive wake from vessels creates an unsafe environment for all harbour users and too much wake can cause damage.
Whilst CHC works hard to ensure effective promulgation of the rules on speed and wash within our jurisdiction, there continue to be some vessels flaunting them. The sections from our General Directions highlighted in blue below are sometimes forgotten by harbour users but are a very important aspect of maintaining a safe harbour environment for all. CHC educates mariners wherever we can, although some claim that they are completely unaware of the rules. However, there is no excuse for not observing the practice of good seamanship.
Please note, the phrase “within 100m of the shore” is included in the Cowes General Directions that limit speed and prohibit wash in order to provide a safety barrier for people wishing to enjoy the beaches, to help protect the beach itself and the wildlife that inhabits our shores, and to reduce coastal erosion. By reducing your speed and staying further from the shore, you reduce the risk to adults and children who may be in the water, for example on the steeply banked foreshore off Prince’s Green in Cowes.
3.1. Speed Limit:
3.1.1. Every vessel navigating the Inner Harbour of Cowes or within 100 metres of the Mean High Water Mark shall unless otherwise authorised by the Harbour Master in writing, subject to the requirements of maintaining adequate steerage way and control, be navigated at a speed not exceeding 6 knots through the water.
3.1.2. Complying with the maximum permitted speed will not exonerate the Master of any vessel from the responsibility of reducing speed as necessary in the observance of normal practice of safe seamanship. This includes, but is not limited to, when passing mooring trots, pontoons, vessels alongside quays, jetties or pontoons, vessels engaged in maritime works and when approaching the Cowes Chain Ferry. Vessels shall at all times be navigated with care and caution and in such a manner so as not to endanger the safety of other persons or cause nuisance to the occupants of any other vessel, person or property.
3.2. Wash – A vessel shall not be navigated or manoeuvred in any part of the Inner Harbour or within 100 metres of the shore in a manner or at a speed so as to cause wash to be generated that may cause damage to or endanger the safety of other persons, vessels or property.
See also Local Notice to Mariners No. 14 of 2018 – Speed Limit and Wash in Cowes.