Sailing to Cowes
Cowes is directly across the Solent from Southampton.
As well as recreational craft, there are a large number of commercial movements with high-speed ferries, vehicle ferries, and commercial shipping up to 100m in length moving in and out of the harbour and river. In this busy marine environment it is essential for everyone's safety and enjoyment that all water users understand how to navigate safely in a crowded river and harbour, and know the local regulations. In addition to checking out the key Local Notices to Mariners highlighted in our documents area, we recommend you refer to the Cowes Harbour Commission website ››.
Arriving on the Isle of Wight with Red Funnel to Cowes
Passenger Vehicle Ferry Service
The Red Funnel Car Ferry Service operates an hourly crossing between Southampton and East Cowes, Isle of Wight, journey time approximately 55 minutes.
The Red Jet Hi-Speed Passenger Service operates half-hourly between Southampton Town Quay and West Cowes, Isle of Wight. The catamarans carry foot-passengers only, and the crossing takes under 25 minutes.
Alternative travel to Fishbourne or Yarmouth
Passenger Vehicle Ferry Services are operated by Wightlink from Lymington to Yarmouth and from Portsmouth to Fishbourne.
Crossing from Cowes to East Cowes and back again
The towns are connected by the "floating bridge", a Chain Ferry that operates 365 days a year and is in service to convey passengers and vehicles on the short crossing between Cowes and East Cowes. The ferry only takes a couple of minutes, across the fast flowing tides in the narrow mouth of the River Medina estuary. It is in operation for approx 18 hours each day.
Arriving by public transport
The Isle of Wight's bus company Southern Vectis operates a regular sevice to Cowes and East Cowes from various parts of the Island. It's also a great way to see more of the Island if you have arrived in Cowes or East Cowes.
You can fly to Cowes via Southampton International Airport which is only 50 minutes away from the Island and offers a range of services to the UK and worldwide. Cowes is also reached easily via the international airports at Bournemouth, Gatwick and Heathrow. All airports are served by excellent rail, coach and taxi services from the Isle of Wight.