Chain ferry right of way
The Harbour Commissioners have enacted a byelaw that gives the chain ferry right of way over all craft except those under pilotage. Basically, this means that all craft under 50 metres in length will be required to give way to the chain ferry.
The chain ferry byelaw came into force on 3rd September 2005 and was fully promulgated by the issue of a Local Notice to Mariners (No. 14/2005), a notice on the PHC website and publicity to all marine authorities, clubs and organisations within the harbour. Craft should keep well clear of passing astern and should never attempt to pass close ahead.
Be extremely careful where the chain ferry crosses at the harbour entrance. When approaching the ferry crossing point, anticipate its direction of movement and plan your course of action well in advance.
Take particular note of the tide strength and direction because it is at its strongest in the harbour entrance and can often have a greater effect than the wind upon vessels under sail alone.
There is a very real danger of being swept down onto the ferry under these conditions. Remember, the ferry can do very little to get out of your way.
As a guide, ferry crossing times are on the hour from the Haven Hotel (north) side and every twenty minutes from thereon from 07.00 hours to 23.00 hours all the year, except Christmas Day. From the Studland (south) side, crossing times start at 07.10 hours and then every twenty minutes until 23.10 hours. At peak periods, this schedule may change when a continuous shuttle is normally run.
Chain ferry byelaw
Priority between chain ferry and other vessels. All vessels navigating in the Harbour which are not subject to compulsory pilotage shall give way to the chain ferry.