Cowes Harbor Commission (CHC) has completed the delivery of a new, dredged Eastern Channel, in line with the Commission’s priority and overriding responsibility for navigational safety and strategic objective to deliver improvements to harbor access.
According to the CHC, the harbor is a Trust Port, designated and recognized by the Department for Transport, and as such, these dredging works are considered a stakeholder dividend project under the Government’s guidance.
The dredging works to construct the Eastern Channel were initiated in January 2019 by CHC’s contractor Jenkins Marine, and the project completed on time and as planned, before the close of the MMO (Marine Management Organisation) consented window that runs to the end of March.
The dredging could only be done over the winter due to the presence of eel grass beds off East Cowes.
Capt. Stuart McIntosh, Cowes Harbor Master, said: “The dredged Eastern Channel provides a more direct, all tide route to the Solent than the previous Small Craft Channel, and allows smaller vessels safe access to and egress from Cowes Harbor, reducing potential conflict with the ferry and commercial traffic movements.”
Small craft, up to 20m in length, approaching from or departing to the north or east can now use the Cowes Harbor Eastern Channel and avoid the busy main harbor entrance, thereby de-conflicting small craft from the larger commercial vessels.
The 35 meter wide Eastern Channel is dredged to 2.25 meters below chart datum, therefore the minimum depth of water in the Channel is equal to the height of tide plus 2.25 meters.