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Speed Limit and Wash Cowes Harbour

Speed Limit and Wash


The speed limit in the Inner Harbour at Cowes is 6 knots through the water. All craft must comply with the speed limit and wash regulations in Cowes Harbour.

The Inner Harbour 6 knot speed limit applies in the Cowes Harbour jurisdiction and within 100m of the Mean High Water Mark west and east of the harbour entrance as far as Egypt Point and Old Castle Point.

Navigate with care and caution and keep a good lookout for other vessels and swimmers in the water off the beach at Prince’s Green in Cowes.

Do not create wash in the Inner Harbour and within 100m of the shore from Egypt Point to Old Castle Point.

The CHS special mark has been repositioned to mark the northwestern extent of the 6 knots speed limit off The Green, as shown in the diagram below:

Speed limit and wash diagram
Inner Harbour speed limit - 6 knots no wash - south of red line

Harbour users are reminded to proceed at a safe speed at all times. Do not to produce wake or wash that could cause a nuisance to other harbour/river users. The harbour is not only used by ships and well founded boats; tenders and dinghies are also commonplace, many of which have a low freeboard and could easily be swamped.

The marinas and pontoons lining the fairway accommodate a range of vessels that are susceptible to damage from excessive wash and wake. Be considerate; 6 knots through the water is a limit and not a target. Remember to look behind you and check your wash; a motor boat or RIB may well produce more wash at 6 knots than it does on the plane, so reduce your speed even further if necessary.

Users are reminded of General Directions 3.2 and 3.3, which are the regulations for speed limit and wash in Cowes Harbour. A vessel found to be in breach of a General Direction, or which causes damage or injury may find themselves in court and on summary conviction could be fined up to £2,500.

General Direction 3.2. Speed Limit
3.2.1. Every vessel navigating the Inner Harbour of Cowes or within 100 metres of the Mean High Water Mark shall unless otherwise authorised by the Harbour Master in writing, subject to the requirements of maintaining adequate steerage way and control, be navigated at a speed not exceeding 6 knots through the water.

3.2.2. Complying with the maximum permitted speed will not exonerate the Master of any vessel from the responsibility of reducing speed as necessary in the observance of normal practice of safe seamanship. This includes, but is not limited to, when passing mooring trots, pontoons, vessels alongside quays, jetties or pontoons, vessels engaged in maritime works and when approaching the Cowes Chain Ferry. Vessels shall at all times be navigated with care and caution and in such a manner so as not to endanger the safety of other persons or cause nuisance to the occupants of any other vessel, person or property.

General Direction 3.3. Wash - A vessel shall not be navigated or manoeuvred in any part of the Inner Harbour or within 100 metres of the shore in a manner or at a speed so as to cause wash to be generated that may cause damage to or endanger the safety of other persons, vessels or property.


Know your local harbour speed limits
Download the Hampshire Constabulary "Wash and Slow" information leaflet

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