Covid 19 Response | Harbour Life Magazine | Latest Blog

Covid 19 Response

Issued 18 May 2020

Recreational Boating

On Wednesday 13 May, advice was issued by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirming that all forms of water sport are now permitted under the latest Covid-19 advice issued by the Government.

DEFRA have stated that:

all forms of water sports practiced on open waterways, including sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, rowing, kayaking, surfing, paddle-boarding and the use of privately-owned motorised craft (in line with the guidance issued by the relevant navigation authority) are allowed. You can continue to use towpaths for walking, running and cycling, being mindful of other users and people living in boats along the water”

Chichester Harbour Conservancy confirm that Chichester Harbour is open for recreational boating.

Social distancing is still playing a huge part in everyone’s daily lives and will continue to do so for the immediate future. The current Government advice under the Stay Alert campaign is to ‘Stay at home where possible’ and we would encourage all harbour users to be judicious in planning their recreation.

The harbour is likely to become busy as people take to the water, especially while schools remain closed. Government advice on social distancing remains in place and we would urge people to adhere to the rules prohibiting large gatherings of people and to stick to social distancing guidelines

It is incumbent on the Conservancy and other operators of marine facilities in Chichester Harbour to look after the safety of users and importantly the safety of their staff:

  • Please follow social distancing guidance (stay 2 metres apart where possible). 
  • Conservancy jetties at Itchenor and Emsworth are marked with direction of travel and 2m spacing on the ‘T’ Head.
  • Please wash your hands regularly.
  • Please confirm that any facilities you intend to travel to are open and have agreed to receive you, both in Chichester Harbour and beyond.
  • Rescues pose a risk to both the casualty and the rescuer and there is likely to be reduced rescue response capacity in the Harbour.  Please ensure that your craft is well maintained and that you sail within the limits of your abilities.   
  • If social distancing requirements cannot be maintained, facilities may need more intrusive management or to be closed

Please continue to take action to prevent the potential spread of infection. Recreational boating by its very nature can be an act of social distancing if some basic guidelines are followed:

  • No guests on your boat. Only boat with those in your immediate household.
  • Maintain your distance from others at carparks and launching sites. Make as many preparations as you can at home so that you can launch as quickly as possible.
  • Do not beach your boat right next to someone else. The East Head anchorage in particular is very popular and if you cannot find clear space then consider moving elsewhere.
  • Do not raft up, keep your distance on the water.
  • Go straight from your house to your boat and back, minimising unnecessary contact.

A Q&A was produced by DEFRA on Wednesday 13 May detailing further Dos and Don'ts for recreational boaters. 

The Department for Transport have formally requested that through the British Ports Association (BPA), the UK Harbour Masters Association (UKHMA) and the Solent & Southern Harbour Masters Association (SASHMA) this information is passed on to their members.

To get in touch with our patrol team call CHICHESTER HARBOUR PATROL on VHF Channel 14, or telephone the Harbour Office on 01243 512301. In an emergency please call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Overnight Stays on Vessels Not Permitted

Mariners are reminded that current Government guidance for staying at your primary residence still applies. No overnight visits to private boats or for extended stays are permitted.

Harbour Dues 2020 - 2021

Harbour Dues are payable on all vessels and craft using Chichester Harbour, from the largest motor-yachts to canoes, kayaks and paddle boards. Please contact the Harbour Office at Itchenor on 01243 512301 to have your Harbour Dues plaque posted to you.

Risk Assessment

Chichester Harbour Conservancy have carried out a full Risk Assessment into all aspect of operations carried out by harbour staff and the management of Conservancy owned facilities within the harbour during the Coronavirus pandemic. To try and protect our employees and customers a full range of measures have been implemented in order to comply with current Government guidance. To view the Risk Assessment please click here. Please contact the Harbour Office, preferably by email to, if you have any questions.

Further Measures

The launching hard at Itchenor is open for people to launch and recover vessels. Following advice from DEFRA, the Itchenor ferry will remain closed. 

We would ask people to be patient and to use the one-way system that have been put in place on the jetty. If the jetty, hard and car park become busy, our staff may be required to actively manage these areas and we would ask for everyone’s co-operation and understanding during this time.

The Maintenance Piles at Itchenor are available, however usage will be closely monitored and booking in advance is mandatory.

The carpark at Itchenor is open however we would encourage people to pay by card or through the MiPermit app (which is available for both Apple and Android devices) wherever possible.

Visitor facilities at Itchenor and Emsworth are closed for overnight stays and no rafting of vessels will be permitted.

The showers at Itchenor currently remain closed.

The Harbour Office at Itchenor is now open during office hours. To protect our staff and customers, a 'one person at a time' policy is strictly in effect and social distance markings have been put down outside the office so that people can queue safely. Where at all possible we would encourage customers to conduct business by phone or email. If you wish to renew harbour dues or other charges, please refer to the online payment instructions in your renewal email. If you need to make changes or pay new charges, please contact the Harbour Office preferably by email to If you have a general enquiry, please check the information on our website first or call 01243 512301.

The Harbour Office at Emsworth is currently closed.

The Conservancy team remains operational and we are working hard to minimise any effect this has on the level of service for Harbour users, on our responsibilities as Statutory Harbour Authority and for the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

We will keep all Government advice under review and any further information or changes to our operation will be published on our website as the situation evolves.

Walking, Running and Cycling in Chichester Harbour AONB

The footpaths and Salterns Way cycle path have remained open throughout the Covid-19 crisis but while out and about please maintain a distance of 2 metres from any other people you encounter. Some of the more popular footpaths have become increasingly busy recently, particularly between Fishbourne and West Wittering and also Prinsted to Cobnor Point.

Please do not cycle on public footpaths. There has been a rise in cyclists using waterside footpaths which are designed for walkers only. Cycling on these footpaths is causing damage which is difficult and costly to repair. Please stick to roads, cycle paths or bridleways, the Salterns Way cycle path is the best route from Chichester to West Wittering with great viewpoints along the way.

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