Cowes Pontoon

The Club's Cowes moorings are located upstream of the chain ferry and the refuelling barge, on the western (starboard hand going upstream) side of the river opposite the GBR compound. We have a 45 metre continuous pontoon run between three piles within a longer pontoon run adjacent to the main fairway. The northern (downstream) end of the full run comprises private and Harbour Master-operated visitor berthing, then comes the run of RYS pontoons, then RTYC, then the Royal London pontoons. Our own section of pontoons is clearly marked, both with signs on the piles themselves and with signs on the pontoons.
The rules regarding the use of the Cowes pontoon are straightforward and contained in the Yachting Byelaws. In summary:
The pontoons are strictly private and for the use of Royal Thames Member's yachts only; the pontoons are not available to members of other clubs, including reciprocal clubs.
Any member's yacht may secure to and remain on the pontoon for up to 14 days in any period of 30 days without charge. As the pontoons are not supervised on a daily basis, there is no booking system - it's first-come, first-served. Yachts may raft two deep on the inside of the pontoon (rafting more blocks the channel) and three deep on the main fairway side.
RIBs on the pontoon.
To assist arriving yachts get alongside the pontoon, RIBs may be left unattended only on the inside of the pontoon, not on the outboard, fairway side of the pontoon.
Display of Burgee and Club Badge.
All craft using the Cowes pontoon must fly the club burgee from the masthead if they have a mast, from the highest part of the craft if without a mast. The burgee should be on a staff, as befits the burgee of the oldest yacht club in the UK, and not left hanging like an item of laundry.
In addition, yachts using the Cowes pontoon must display the club badge and initials on the transom, in such a position that they may be seen both from the water and from the pontoon.

The reason for these two rules is to ensure not only that only bona fide RTYC yachts use the pontoon, but also to let other users of the pontoon and the Cowes Harbour Master see that the yacht in question has every right to be on the pontoon. These rules thus apply as equally to RIBs and smaller craft as they do to larger yachts.
Given that both the burgee and badge must be worn when on the pontoon, it follows that the privilege of using the Club's pontoon is not available to non-members to whom a member's yacht might have been loaned or chartered.

The Secretary of the Royal London YC now holds a small stock of RTYC burgees for those in dire need, more normally burgees, ensigns, ensign permits et al may be obtained from the Knightsbridge Secretariat. Transom graphics and transfers are obtainable through Tribune Graphics at

Tribune Graphics Ltd.
Unit 11, Phase 2
New Road Industrial Estate
Sheerness, Kent
ME12 1DB

Telephone : +44 (0)1795 580261

Alternatively you may e-mail them at

This excellent company can produce for you, very quickly, a simple transom transfer as specified in the Club byelaws in any colour, size or style that you require. Transom graphics are no longer held by the Secretariat.

Extended stays (more than 14 days in any 30 days).
Should a member wish to leave a yacht on the Cowes pontoon for more than the permitted 14 days, this is possible provided that: the Chief Sailing Officer agrees, the temporary mooring fee is paid (see below), the burgee and Club initials are displayed and there is room.


The rules governing charges for extended use of the Cowes pontoon are set by the Sailing Committee in accordance with Byelaw Y15.9 and are as follows:
14 days in any period of 30 free of charge; extended berthing on inside only limited to 30 days in any period of 45 days during the months of June, July, August.

No unattended berthing during Cumberland Regatta weekend and Cowes Week.

Extended berthing rates: 1st April - 31 October £250 per 30 days, 1st November to 31st March £150, both plus VAT. Minimum charge 30 days, charge payable as soon as 14 days is exceeded.

Given the pressures on berthing spaces during Cowes Week, the Cowes pontoon during this time is by common consent reserved for members doing The Week. Yachts not being used during Cowes Week are expected to move off the pontoon (even if the temporary mooring fee has been paid) during the Week to make room for members who are. Given these pressures and the fact that some yachts are lived aboard during the Week and others come and go for racing, it is particularly inconsiderate to leave yachts unattended for any period if berthed outboard of others. At the least, a mobile phone number for the key holder should be left where it may be seen and used by other members who might be inconvenienced, or for some other reason need to contact the yacht's key holder. Yachts berthed outboard of others are to be attended between 0830 and 1100 each morning, unless specific arrangements have been made with all craft inboard.

The full byelaw in relation to the Cowes pontoon:

Y15.8 At Cowes the Club has two adjacent pontoons located upstream of the chain ferry. A yacht using these pontoons, whether on a temporary or permanent basis, must display the Club initials on the transom in such a manner that they can be seen from both the pontoon and from the seaward side and, in addition, fly the Club Burgee.
Y15.9 The inshore side of these pontoons may be let out to members on a monthly basis at a rent determined from time to time by the Sailing Committee, save that for the first three days of Cowes Week the inshore side of the northern (downstream) pontoon shall be reserved for the use of Flag Officers.  Members may berth a yacht on the Cowes pontoon free of charge for up to fourteen days in any period of thirty days.  If the yacht remains on the pontoon for more than fourteen days in any period of thirty days, the monthly charge shall become due. The Cowes pontoon may not be used as a yacht's prime mooring.