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COWES CHAIN FERRY - Clearance Depths and Further Commissioning Works
08 December 2017

(LNTM 26(T) of 2017 is hereby cancelled)

Notice is hereby given that further commissioning works have been carried out by the Isle of Wight Council, to re-establish a continual service throughout the tidal cycle whilst minimising the effect on the safety of navigation.

Hydrographic surveys to measure clearance over the chains have been undertaken and the following temporary restrictions are in place:

Maximum Permissible Draught = Actual Tide Height + 1.0 metres

Mariners are advised that this is a ‘worst case’ (mid-ebb spring tide) when the ferry is berthed on the west bank and is being set to the north. Mariners are advised that increased clearances are available during this mid-ebb period when the ferry is berthed on the east bank. If your vessel is deep drafted and you have the need to transit the chain ferry crossing during this mid-ebb spring period, CHC strongly suggest that you allow the chain ferry to cross and be moored on the east bank before proceeding with caution.

Greater clearances are possible during other stages of the tidal cycle, particularly at High Water. Please see the indicative survey diagrams below.

All mariners are reminded that the greatest clearance depths are achieved at the mid-point between the prow of the Chain Ferry and the opposite shore. Vessels should avoid passing close to the prows of the ferry due to the obstruction of the chains as they slope down to the riverbed.

Any deep draught vessel or any other vessel requiring an unimpeded passage should contact the Chain Ferry, providing as much notice as possible, on VHF Channel 69.
Further chain adjustments and survey checks will be carried out in the near future, with the aim of increasing depths over the chains throughout all tidal cycles whilst maintaining a normal ferry service. The aim of these scheduled works will be to restore navigation clearance depths over the chains to previous reported depths for the previous ferry. Further surveys will be carried out as works require and all mariners will be advised of any changes to clearance depths via Cowes Harbour Local Notice to Mariners.

All mariners are advised that Cowes Harbour LNTM 15 of 2016 remains in force and all vessels should navigate with particular caution when approaching the Chain Ferry, especially with a following tide.

The following diagram depicts how to calculate the clearance over the chains.

Clearance basics

The first image below shows the ‘worst case’ scenario with the vessel on the West bank and when it is being set to the North by the spring ebb tide. 

MW West

MW East

LW West

LW East

HW West

HW East

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