BOATS will be allowed to stay overnight from Saturday, July 4, at Cowes Harbour following confirmation from government guidance.

Latest advice from the government, in line with lockdown restrictions easing, has meant Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) can accommodate pre-booked stays overnight on boats, allowing guests from off the Island to stay longer.

Visitor moorings will be available in Cowes Harbour, on the River Medina and at Shepards Marina.

Full guidance has yet to be issued but CHC has said it is working towards certain standards including informing all pre-booked overnight visitors in advance about guidelines, ensuring frequent cleaning in areas that receive higher usage with overnight stays, recommend visitors use facilities onboard their own boats where possible otherwise measures in shared washrooms have been introduced.

Shower facilities will be closed for the first week following the welcoming of overnight visitors but will be kept under review.

Short stays will also be returning to the normal 'up to four hour' stays from Saturday.

CHC said safety remains the top priority in the harbour and while the tourism sector on the Island prepares for the return of summer visitors, it is focused on keeping Cowes Harbour safe, protected and Covid-19 secure - making changes to best mitigate the risk to visitors that are 'unique to a port and marina environment.'

Other adaptations taken to keep people safe include protective screens in reception and hand sanitisers available at Shepards Marina.

Two metre social distancing is advised between the visitors of the different boats, although one metre is acceptable, where two is not possible, with other protective measure such as wearing facemasks in communal spaces.

Customers' contact details will be held in case needed for tracking and tracing.

CHC said: "As a result of the current Covid-19 restrictions on some holidays abroad, this is a good opportunity to take a Great British summer staycation in support of British tourism.

"CHC aims to offer the best berthing experience we can in the circumstances and to safely share the best of Cowes Harbour with all overnight visiting boats."

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