Harbour Information (use the icons to find out more)

Cowes Harbour

Your Comments: 12 Read or add your comments

Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign


Harbour Entrance 50:46'.08N 001:17'.93W


Admiralty 2036, 2793, SC5600

Rules & Regulations

6 Knts Speed Limit in Channel, Yachts use engines esp. Near Chain Ferry


Frequent Ferries, Fast and Slow, Narrow Busy Channel. 2016 New Breakwater finished, disturbed tidal streams in entrance.

Tidal Data Times & Range

2 Hour Stand at HW Neaps, Double HW at Springs...HW +0021 Dover (approx.) MHWS 4.2m MHWN 3.5M MLWN 1.8m MLWS 0.8m NOTE: VMH Tide tables shows the estimated top of a very flat curve around HW. Some tables show the start of the stand. VMH Tide Tables:   (links)

This site is designed for slower, roaming broadband connections, like you would get at sea, so it needs JavaScript enabled to expand the text.


Any kind of approach to Cowes from a northerly direction needs a thorough study of Central Solent chart. ... read more

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

For the yachtsman or motorboater,  Cowes offers a large choice of visitors moorings,  many of which are under the control of the harbour authority. ... read more

Your Ratings & Comments

Further Update March 2022
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 29th Mar 2022
The Cowes Water Taxi covers the whole of the Medina River these days. Their web site is given in the notes. Basically, although we have given tel numbers various for the various water taxis up river, they all operate under the one umbrella
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Update March 2022
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 23rd Mar 2022
I reviewed these notes in March 2022. The buoyage covering the Eastern channel in has been established and I have edited the info on that. The Chain Ferry has a newer hull and is out of service until mid April (locals tend to add "When it's working" when they mention it all!!) Prices have increased but, outside Cowes week, have stayed slightly lower than the equivalent on the South Coast opposite.
Cowes marinas - a personal view
Written by Tyro Sailor | 12th Sep 2021
Cowes Yacht Haven
More sheltered than before the breakwater was built but can still be bumpy in a northerly or when the Red Jet is manoeuvring. Tends to be busy with rallies, corporate events etc, especially at weekends and can therefore be noisy. Heads OK. Showers poor. Very handy for the town centre, including Sainsbury's round the corner.

Shepards Marina (formerly Shepard's Wharf)
Run by the Harbour Authority but not noticeably less expensive for that. More sheltered than the Yacht Haven, and smaller, therefore quieter. Heads and showers good. Five minute walk into town via the Duke of York (pub rather than dodgy Royal) and Beken of Cowes, the long established photographers who always have a spectacular display in the window.

East Cowes Marina
Across the river and further up, so very sheltered. Lots of visitors' berths but a long way from the office and heads/showers, which are excellent - among the best around. Co-op and other shops (including an old-fashioned hardware shop) half a mile to the north in East Cowes town centre.
Also, the offices of a well-known and much-respected website are nearby. (Is that alright chaps?)

All the marinas are expensive. I tend to go to the Folly or Newport.
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 9th Mar 2020
These notes were reviewed in early March 2020. Where known, the prices for this season have been edited and we are awaiting the prices of the water taxi which is run for CHC by Foleys water Taxis. The final report and recommendations on the collision of the Red Funnel Line and a moored yacht (Graylag) in October 2018 were published in February 2020. There are new regulations re manoeuvring in reduced vis which you should familiarise yourself with. We have uploaded the latest chart of Cowes but there will be amendments due on that quite soon.
Written by Don Thomson | 19th Mar 2018
The chain ferry is back in action after some hiccoughs over the winter and still very much requires vigilance when being passed. Everything else is pretty much the same. Prices have gone up everywhere except on the Harbour Commissioners moorings and pontoons. New charts have been uploaded - watch out for that buoyage direction change at Egypt Point
1 of 1 people found this helpful
New Chain Ferry
Written by Bryant | 31st May 2017
The new chain ferry is in place, and is undergoing technical difficulties... On it's first day of work.. it broke and people had to wade ashore !

It's bigger than the old one and has already had a small yacht crash into it, and get tangled in the chains. The tide can run REALLY STRONGLY where it crosses..I'd estimate up to 5knts outgoing.

Extreme caution advised in the area
Update Spring 2016
Written by dononshytalk | 10th Mar 2016
These notes were reviewed by Don in March 2016. The prices for 2016 have been researched and noted. The biggest change is the New Breakwater; Those of you who are familiar with these waters will have witnessed the massive engineering project that has been ongoing since 2014; that is now pretty well complete; there is no longer a no go zone around the breakwater and the new buoyage is all in place.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
New shingle breakwater
Written by George Metcalfe | 6th Sep 2014
A new shingle breakwater has been created in the mouth of the Medina in the last few months. Extending from the Eastern edge of the main NNW/SSE channel pretty much due East of the Royal Yacht Squadron in an ESE direction to close to the NW edge of the small craft channel (NE/SW). So there's no longer the option of going straight in in the shallower water between the marked channels. It is not complete yet (won't be until some time in 2015). There are still (September 2014) working boats there and It is currently marked with an exclusion zone. See the following link for more info.
Editors Note: See "Approach" section on this page for chartlet and info, also see "Navigation Images" for diagram showing how tidal stream behaviour has changed.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Update March 2014
Written by dononshytalk | 27th Mar 2014
These notes were reviewed March 2014. The main change to take note of is the change of the Harbour Directions pertaining to the Chain Ferry. It used to have to give way and that has now been reversed - it has right of way over all vessels apart from large vessels unable etc... Our text has been altered to reflect this.

The provision of visitor berths at Venture Quays has ceased almost before it has gotten off the ground.

Prices seem to have been held by most of the marinas to 2013 prices but we have updated where necessary.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Update January 2013
Written by dononshytalk | 10th Jan 2013
The Cowes Harbour notes were updated by Don T on the 10th January 2013. Directions for approaching from the East have been ammended to take account of the new Small Craft East Channel. Prices have been adjusted to show the 2013 rates.
1 of 1 people found this helpful

View all 12 feedback items

© visitMyHarbour.com | website design created by Black Culm Ltd