Although the water can look extremely inviting on a hot summer’s day, we would like to remind all harbour users and members of the public that swimming is prohibited in Cowes Harbour. There are two main reasons why you should not deliberately enter the water within the harbour:
• There are a lot of vessels using the harbour and they may not be able to see you, particularly the larger ferries and commercial ships. There is a very real risk of being hit and run over by a vessel.
• Strong tides run in and out of the harbour. Even the strongest swimmers would not be able to swim against the tide when it is flowing at its fastest. There is a very real risk of being carried away with the tide.
Just last week, a young girl of no more than 8 years old had to be rescued by a quick thinking member of the public. She had entered the water with a group of friends at the Watch House slipway on Cowes Parade. The ebb tide had started to run and she was quickly swept off the slipway and towards the harbour entrance.
Thankfully, a gentleman on Trinity Landing spotted the girl in distress and threw a life-ring. A harbour patrol vessel was quickly on scene and the girl was taken to safety ashore, shaken but unharmed. Had the girl not been spotted, she would have been swept out into the Solent and there could have been a very different end to this tale.
Although swimming is not permitted in the harbour, you can swim from Cowes Beach, a pebble and shell covered beach to the west of the town centre along the Esplanade and in front of Prince’s Green, and from East Cowes Beach, a quiet shingle and sand beach with fantastic views out across the Solent. There are also many other beautiful beaches on the Isle of Wight that are safe for swimming; you can find out more about these on the Visit Isle of Wight website.
Top photo: Cowes seafront – Credit visitisleofwight.co.uk