Despite the lockdown, Cowes Harbour is still open and ‘cannot refuse entry’ to vessels who need to go through or use the harbour unless the government orders it to close. However, harbour users have been asked to follow government guidance and stay at home and avoid any movements on the river during the coronavirus epidemic.
Access could be restricted to the port and operations suspended but only as a last resort, due to the emergency Covid-19 Bill passed recently.
In a newsletter, Cowes Harbourmaster, Captain Stuart McIntosh, said: “We are all having to get used to these very unusual, challenging and worrying times, and as a result, are having to find new ways of working and endeavouring to make the right decisions to ensure we manage the crisis for the benefit and welfare of us all.”
Now, boats arriving in Cowes from outside the UK are having to divert to Trinity Landing and provide information about their crew and last port of call.
Water patrols are still being carried out twice a day, through the harbour and River Medina including at Shepards Marina and Kingston Wharf. Pilots, helping bigger ships to navigate the Cowes pilotage area, are practicing social distancing.
The fuel berth will open twice a week to supply essential customers and vessels only, incluing the harbour patrol, pilot boats and emgergency service boats.
Harbour taxis have been stopped until further notice and Cowes Water Taxis, which were due to start operating this week, will not be running.