It is recommended that swimming activities are restricted to the beaches at Cowes and East Cowes. There are also many other beautiful beaches on the Isle of Wight that are safe for swimming; you can find out about these on the Visit Isle of Wight website.
Swimming within the fairways in Cowes Harbour and in any surrounding areas, or from mooring or berthing facilities, is prohibited, as is jumping or diving into the water from any structure, pile, pontoon, jetty, pier or buoy within the harbour and is legislated under General Direction 4.4.
A person who fails to comply with this direction shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine of up to £2,500.
No person shall undertake any underwater or diving activities of any kind within the harbour without a valid permit to dive from the Cowes Harbour Master or the manager of the marina you wish to dive at. Companies wishing to conduct underwater diving operations within Cowes harbour must submit evidence of their compliance with the HSE Diving at Work regulations 1997 and the appropriate approved code of practise to Cowes Harbour Commission.
Permits can be downloaded here and should be submitted to the Cowes Harbour Office or the appropriate marina manager:
• Cowes Harbour Diving and Swimming Request Form
HSE Guidance can be downloaded here:
• HSE Diving at Work Regulations 1997
• A brief guide to complying with health and safety law
• Guidance Note NERC Divers at Work 2006