The River Medina can be an excellent place to row, canoe or kayak and it is a great way to explore the more tranquil sections of the river, particularly at High Water when the many creeks and inlets can be accessed.
However, users should be aware of the hazards that exist in the river. It is not recommended to operate rowing skulls, canoes or kayaks in the fairways north of the commercial wharves at Kingston due to the density of river traffic and the presence of the Red Funnel vehicle and Red Jet high-speed passenger ferries. The water can also get very choppy and the tide can flow in excess of 3 knots on a falling spring tide.
There were two incidents in 2014-2015 where a kayaker has capsized and been swept under Trinity Wharf in the vicinity of the Chain Ferry. Fortunately, on both occasions the incident was witnessed and harbour patrol staff were available to rescue the casualty.
Care should also be taken when passing across the entrances to marinas or gaps between pontoon moorings as leisure craft entering the fairway may not be able to see you approaching due to your low profile and you are likely to be hidden behind vessels moored alongside the pontoons.
Paddle boarding is prohibited north of No. 8 fairway buoy which is located south of Kingston Power Station. The Power Station is easily identified by its two large chimney stacks.
Tides can run up to 4 knots in the river and are strongest on a falling tide in the vicinity of the Chain Ferry; the further upriver you go the weaker the flow tends to be. For more information on the tidal flow experienced in Cowes Harbour, including the River Medina, please view the section on Local Tide Flows.
The launching of canoes and kayaks can be carried out from almost any location due to their small size; rowing skulls are more restricted and can be launched from the following locations:
The Folly Inn Slip
The White Hart slipway at East Cowes (but not during an ebb tide which can run up to 4 knots or when the vehicle ferries are manoeuvring).
The slipway on the north side of the Shrape breakwater at East Cowes Esplanade.
For more information, see Slipways and Public Landings.
Rowing clubs operating locally include:
Newport Rowing Club
Ryde Rowing Club