Cowes, the Solent’s Capital

…perfectly centrally location…

Sailing to Cowes

At the mouth of the Medina River Cowes is the Isle of Wight’s main port.

Cowes harbour offers all tide access, and berths are relatively easy to obtain and reasonably priced. Although during peak events including Cowes Week and Round The Island Race it can become very crowded.

The town is split into two East and West and connected by a chain ferry, with West Cowes being the yachting centre.

The narrow streets and numerous pubs and restaurants gives West Cowes an almost carnival atmosphere even when the regatta is not on.

Shopping in the narrow pedestrian High Street is a delight with an array of fashionable clothing shops, gift shops, delicatessens, cafes, restaurants and lively pubs.

There are two main marina’s in West Cowes, Cowes Yacht Haven and Shepherds Wharf. Cowes Yacht Haven can get quite rolly especially on the outside berths.

East Cowes Marina offers excellent facilities and is noticeably more relaxed and friendly with a superb on site restaurant & bar.

Further up the River Medina

The river is well marked by buoyage and moorings and it is quite easy to find your way as far as the Folly Inn.

Vessels drawing upto 1.5 m can normally access the Folly Inn at most states of the tide and despite of the depths shown on the chart can remain afloat here at all times, although touching the soft mud bottom is a possibility at LWS.

Whilst there are a couple of alongside berths with walk ashore access on the Folly side these are seldom free. There are additional river pontoons although not connected to the shore & none are provided with power or water.

The Folly Inn welcomes visiting yachtsman and provides showering facilities. Lifts ashore are offered by the Folly Waterbus.


General Access Info:

  • Double HW occurs at or near Springs, otherwise the stand lasts for up to 2 hrs
  • The west going Spring tide can run unto 4 knots across the entrance of Cowes
  • The approach to Cowes is straight forward and can be access at all states of the tide and in all conditions
  • HW Springs are 15 mins before and Neaps 15 mins after HW Portsmouth
  • LW Neaps are 20 mins before and Springs the same as LW Portsmouth
  • MHWS: 4.2m; MHWN:3.5m; MLWN: 1.8m; MLWS: 0.8m

Berthing Options:


  • Cowes Yacht Haven – Good showers and toilets plus all the amenities you would expect.
  • Centrally located within Cowes town.
  • Fuel can be obtained from Lallows Pontoon or the fuel jetty south of the chain ferry
  • Shepards Wharf – A short walk into town the marina, offers all the same excellent facilities
  • East Cowes Marina – Full marina facilities with excellent showers and on site restaurant. 20 min walk into town via the chain ferry.
  • Folly Inn – The pontoons are not equipped with water or electricity. The Folly Inn provides showers, provisioning facilitates are limited.

Contact Info:

Lallows Boatyard Fuel Jetty – 01983 292112

Marine Support Bunkering Fuel Barge – VHF Ch 69 – 01983 200716 / 07860 297633

Folly Inn Pub / Restaurant – 01983 297171



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