Cowes Harbour Handbook 2019-2020 2019-2020 - Page 79

HARBOUR INFORMATION CHAIN FERRY A chain ferry has operated between Cowes and East Cowes since 1859 e Cowes Chain Ferry or Floating Bridge is operated by the Isle of Wight Council. Floating Bridge No. 6 was introduced in 2017. Designed as a drive through, roll-on roll-off Chain Ferry with hydraulically operated ramps at each end of the vessel, the deck has four lanes for vehicles, with additional space for the stowage of motorbikes, scooters and bicycles. • e Chain Ferry carries vehicles, bikes and foot passengers between Cowes and East Cowes, seven days a week, all year round. e short trip across the River Medina only takes a few minutes. At the time of going to press the Chain Ferry is operating a full service, please check the Isle of Wight Council website for full details. • e Chain Ferry displays flashing yellow lights to indicate its intention to begin crossing, and the lights remain illuminated until it reaches the opposite bank. • e Chain Ferry hauls on two chains that are permanently attached to both river banks. • e Chain Ferry has right of way over all river traffic, however, any vessel requiring an unimpeded passage is required to establish early contact (call sign ‘Cowes Chain Ferry’) and agree on VHF Ch 69 which side the Chain Ferry will hold for your passage. • e Chain Ferry is situated on a blind bend at the narrowest stretch of the River; you are strongly advised to navigate with caution, particularly with a following tide. e tidal flow generally accelerates as you approach the Chain Ferry. Give way in good time. During all tides, especially spring tides, there are strong currents associated with this area. e ebb tide is accentuated towards the eastern side of the river where the spring ebb may be in excess of 4 knots and cause the unwary to be set towards the eastern bank, especially in the area of the Trinity House Wharf and the vehicle ferry terminal (East Cowes). e ebb tide runs at its strongest in the 3hrs before Low Water. e least depth over the chains should be checked by viewing the Chain Ferry Local Notice to Mariners on the Cowes Harbour Commission website. The Chain Ferry light starts flashing 10 seconds before it moves COWES 2019 – 2020 79