Portsmouth welcomes ‘Victoria of Wight’

The new Wightlink ferry for the Portsmouth-Fishbourne route arrived in Portsmouth Harbour today having left the shipyard in Turkey on Monday July 16. She’s been towed through the Mediterranean and north across the Bay of Biscay by the specialist offshore support vessel Amber II. ‘Victoria of Wight‘ can carry up to 178 cars and more than 1,000 passengers. Powered by ‘hybrid energy’ from a combination of batteries and conventional engines.



New Cowes Harbour restrictions

The following guidance has been received from Cowes Harbour

A breakwater Exclusion Zone marked by IALA buoyage will be established off Cowes during the construction period from May 2014 and will vary in size and shape from time to time.  Boats, whether racing or preparing to race or have finished racing and in whatever direction they are sailing, shall always remain outside of the  breakwater Exclusion Zone, passing to the north of the red No 2 fairway buoy and the North Cardinal Marks.The diagram below shows the maximum extent of the Exclusion Zone.”



RYA Launches safety campaign

The RYA, following its long established policy that “education is better than regulation” has launched a major new safety campaign at the London Boat Sow

The new campaign features four main themes:-

  • Look after Yourself
  • Gave a Plan
  • Keep in Touch
  • Know your Limits

Click here to view the introductory video

Click here to see the first safety notice of the new programme

Cowes General Directions and Harbour Byelaws 2014

Not that anyone would ever argue with it, but the chain ferry has now been given formal right of way in the new General Directions for Cowes Harbour.  as explained in the forward:-

“One of the major changes will be the introduction of General Direction No. 6. Cowes Chain Ferry. This General Direction governs the navigation of the Chain Ferry and includes giving the Chain Ferry right of way over most vessels.

“There are downloadable  PDF’s of the full set of 2014 General Directions, with the changes from the April 2013 issue highlighted in yellow and also a clean full set of General Direction . This set also includes General Directions Nos. 3.17 and 10.1 which relate to the construction of the new detached breakwater.”

Note also that there is a requirement for a sailing boat fited with an engine to have it running and ready for use in the Inner Harbour area.

Code of Conduct for harbour directions published

Making harbour byelaws has been painfully slow in the past, and cutbacks in central government have made delays even more likely. To counter this, government has extended the powers of ports to make their own harbour directions.  This caused great concern to some users, including the RYA. While RYA was unable to secure full consultation provisions in the regulations, they have succeeded in getting agreement to a code of conduct which is now published.

For the Solent, some ports, including Southampton, already had such powers, but as the Harbourmaster points out, there has always been full consultation and he believes the Port already complies with the new Code

ABP appoints Boskalis Westminster as dredge contractor

ABP has announced that Boskalis Westminster have been appointed to carry out the major dredging works in Southampton Water and the Nab Channel. Click here to see the announcement.

3 million cubic metres of spoil will be dumped off the Nab. SPS has expressed its concern at a recent habitat creation conference that this could  represent a loss of material some of which could otherwise be used to offset the loss of saltmarsh in the Solent area. It  is good to report that discussions involving Boskalis and the SPS  arranged by ABP Mer are to take place in the New Year, though it must be accepted that any change in existing plans, which have taken six years to secure necessary consents, cannot delay the dredge programme

Cornelis Zanen

.ABP has proposed a series of measures to minimise the effects of the works on the environment. As well as managing water quality and monitoring sediment levels, a compensatory intertidal habitat scheme has been created at Cobnor Point in Chichester Harbour. The scheme will also provide a new home for water voles, a protected species native to Britain’s coast and inland waterways.

ABP Southampton has recently completed the implementation of a managed retreat scheme at Cobnor Point in Chichester Harbour. The scheme offsets the potential impacts of the capital dredge of the main channel to the port – primarily for the larger container vessels in service between Europe and the Far East.

The aim of the Cobnor scheme is to transform an area of pasture land into intertidal habitat. Works comprised breaching the existing sea wall of the 6.5 hectare site in two places to create intertidal mudflat saltmarsh commenced in the summer and a few weeks ago, the sea wall was breached to allow the sea to inundate the site.

 Works to transform the site have comprised the removal of existing scrub and vegetation; improvement of drainage channels; provision of replacement water vole habitat; re-profiling of the site to desired levels; and breaching of existing sea defences. The new habitats created by the managed realignment will be subject to regular monitoring to ensure that they are delivering the targets for habitat areas.

Now we await news on the contract to deepen the approaches to Portsmouth to accommodate the new aircraft carriers. One is forced to wonder if all this dredging could have an effect on tidal streams throughout the Solent.