Cowes Harbour and the River Medina is always busy, no matter what the time of year. The area is used by pleasure craft plus fast catamaran ferries, car ferries and larger commercial vessels. To ensure the safety of all Harbour users, there is an enforceable 6 knot speed limit within the Inner Harbour.
All vessels navigating within the Inner Harbour or within 100m of the high-water mark should not exceed 6 knots through the water. The Inner Harbour is broadly the area south of a line connecting Egypt Point, No 1 and No 2 buoys and the Shrape Beacon – more details in the General Directions Chapter 2.4.
We have a policy of education in the first instance, so anyone found to be exceeding the speed limit will be spoken to by one of our Patrol Officers. Further action may then be taken depending on the circumstances or for repeat offences.
Tidal flows can affect your speed
There are strong tidal flows within the Harbour, especially near the Chain Ferry during spring tides. All mariners should be aware of the rate of tide to ensure that they are still complying with the 6 knots through the water speed limit. More information on the speed limit can be found in the General Directions Chapter 3.2 and 3.5.
Remember – 6 knots is the maximum, not a target to aim for!
In addition to the speed limit, it is important to minimise your wash. Our General Directions also state that ‘within the Inner Harbour a vessel shall not be navigated in such a manner as to create a wash that could damage property or risk the safety of other harbour users’.
Excessive wash can potentially damage moored yachts, pontoons or other structures, and could even cause injury to anyone on a yacht or pontoon who is affected by the sudden motion caused by excessive wake. Further information regarding wash can be found in the General Directions Chapter 3.3.