Approaching Cowes from Spithead and the east, look for the Shrape Beacon, about 300 metres northwest of Old Castle Point. The tide gauge on the Shrape Beacon will indicate if use of the Small Craft Channel is practicable; if not, head for Egypt Point to the west, leaving any small craft moorings to port before entering the Inner Fairway north of the Royal Yacht Squadron.
Vessels approaching from the west need to keep a close lookout for unlit mooring buoys inside the large Gurnard north cardinal buoy, and where possible, yachts starting and finishing races off the harbour entrance.
All vessels approaching Cowes should do so at a safe speed, maintain a good lookout and give full consideration to other vessels, many of which are manned by inexperienced crews.
There is a nearby fuel berth, just 200 metres south of the Chain Ferry underneath the large hammerhead crane. The Cowes Harbour Services Fuel Berth is open seven days a week, providing easy, deep water access and competitively priced fuel.