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Mark Southwell is the Advisory Committee chair

Mark Southwell is the Advisory Committee chair

17 May 2022
Mark Southwell, Cowes RNLI lifeboat operations manager, is the new chair of the Cowes Harbour Advisory Committee, succeeding John Corby, owner of Corby Yachts.

Mark has a vision for a safe and vibrant harbour benefitting locals and visitors. He said: “I came to Cowes for six months as a relief customs officer in 1982 and loved the place so much I’m still here. I feel strongly the harbour should always be managed for the benefit of all - being a safe stretch of water for us locals and the thousands of visitors who come every year, with successful marine businesses flourishing on both sides of the river and the two towns being places people love to visit. All these elements bring jobs and investment, and we shouldn’t forget the harbour is a precious natural asset for the Isle of Wight.”

Mark concluded: “I share John Corby’s drive for and pride in the harbour and aim to ensure the Advisory Committee membership remains relevant and that we offer encouragement and good advice to the Harbour Commission.”

Gary Hall, Cowes Harbour chief executive said: “We are pleased that Mark will be leading the Advisory Committee for the next three years. His role as lifeboat operations manager for Cowes RNLI, and prior to that as a long-serving Customs Officer gives him a wide range of experiences within the harbour community.”

He added: “We thank John Corby for his work in leading the Advisory Committee through the pandemic, and are pleased that John will continue to contribute as an active committee member.”

The Advisory Committee is a key element of good governance for the harbour, creating a two-way point of contact between the Harbour Commission and harbour stakeholders. This enables the Commission to consult with stakeholders, and for stakeholders to table ideas, raise concerns and comment on proposed changes to the operation of the harbour. 

The Committee is made up of representatives from stakeholder groups across the Medina, including the RNLI, Red Funnel, UKSA, Cowes and East Cowes Town Councils, marina operators, sailing clubs, Cowes Week and other events, shipyards and commercial vessel operators. Gary Hall and Ed Walker represent the executive, and commissioner Clive Blount is the link to the board.

The Committee meets three times a year, usually in January, April and September. The agenda at each Advisory Committee meeting will cover the following topics:
Marine industry
Commercial vessels
Leisure activity
Marinas, moorings & berths
Regattas and racing
Public use and access

If you want to raise a question or have a comment on any of these topics, please contact a member of the Advisory Committee or send an email to

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