Approaching Cowes from the west, restrictions apply north of the line between Gurnard buoy and Prince Consort buoy, where there is a Precautionary Area for large commercial vessels. Be aware of strong cross currents up to 3 knots in the Outer Fairway. The main entrance into the Inner Harbour is marked by the No. 1 Q.G and No. 2 Q.R buoys. Col. Reg. 9 – Navigation in Narrow Channels – applies. The channel is well-marked with lit port-hand buoys as far as the Red Funnel car ferry terminal in East Cowes.
If coming from the east, keep 200m north of Old Castle Point leaving Shrape Beacon to port. Go north of the swinging moorings and the Cowes breakwater before turning to port into the Inner Fairway. Alternatively, use the Small Craft Channel from Shrape Beacon, which connects to the Inner Fairway opposite Town Quay. There is a limited depth of 0.2m below chart data. Avoid the channel if your draught is more than the current tide height. The channel is marked with lateral buoys. Again, there can be strong tidal streams. It is advisable to check the Cowes Harbour Commission’s website for the latest notices before arriving. There is a 6-knot speed limit within the harbour and River Medina up to the Folly. The chain ferry has right of way over all traffic. The Medina is buoyed and dries upstream of the Folly. Boats up to 2m draught can navigate to Island Harbour. Newport Harbour can be reached up to 2hr before and 3hr after High Water, depending on tide and draft.
the royal Yacht squadron is one of nine clubs based in cowes and east cowes