People have been asking how much the floating bridge barge costs: OnTheWight has the numbers

People have been wondering how much the large work boat that stops the new Floating Bridge 6 from floating down the Medina when tides are strong has been costing. Here are the details … and where the money to pay for it come from.

floating bridge using MV seaclear

Six weeks ago OnTheWight asked the Isle of Wight council whether the costs of using MV Seaclear – the barge used to hold the floating bridge in place during certain tides – had been included in the list of Floating Bridge costs that are shown in the Revised Business Case published by the Solent LEP.

This afternoon they wrote back to us. Unfortunately not answering the specific question we’d asked, but letting us know that the cost of using MV Seaclear works out at £192 per hour.

Over £10,000 per month
The cost, IWC say, is met from the floating bridge’s revenue budget.

Local residents say the MV Seaclear has at its busiest been in use approximately 14 days a month, around four hours a day. On that basis the cost would be approximately £10,000 for that month.

Stewart: “Maintaining a good and reliable service”
Leader of the Isle of Wight council, Cllr Dave Stewart,

“By using MV Seaclear on a short-term basis, we’ve been able to keep the floating bridge running in all tides, maintaining a good and reliable service.

“The cost of using MV Seaclear is offset by our ability to keep the service running and the income that generates.”

Tender for ‘push boat’ service
The leader goes on to explain that the IWC will be putting out a tender for the use of a ‘push boat’ next year.

“We know we have an issue with the chain depth during the fast flowing ebb tides and we’re exploring all options to find a more efficient and effective long-term solution.

“In the meantime, we’re investigating the future use of a ‘push boat’ and will be issuing a tender for this service in 2019.”

With this news in mind, it’s hard not to see that the IWC believe it will be an ongoing issue.

Finally get an answer
Despite an initial six week wait for the answer to our question, since asking it again this afternoon, happily within half an hour, the answer relating to the Revised Business Case published by the Solent LEP, was supplied.

“They [the costs] were not included in that report. However, the report did highlight a contingency spend, which would have covered this cost.”

Update 15:44 Residents tell us 14 day/month is a busy month.

Friday, 21st December, 2018 2:53pm



Filed under: Cowes, East Cowes, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Roads, Top story

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11 Comments on "People have been asking how much the floating bridge barge costs: OnTheWight has the numbers"

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If the ‘Floating Bridge’ had been correctly built for the job intended we wouldn’t need a PUSH BOAT.

It’s way past time for Cowes Harbour Master and Commissioners to be called to account for the utter debacle that is the new breakwater. They will claim, backed up by expensive but less than independent tidal modelling, that it has had no effect on the river flow but that is of scant help to those boat owners who have had to watch the East Cowes moorings progressively… Read more »

And exacerbated by the CHC regularly moving silt from Medina Wharf to the middle of the river which then moves across to East Cowes Marina whose berthholders have to pay for proper dredging to keep it operational.

Actually, Cowes Harbour Commission expressed concern about the length of the floating bridge and the water over the chains BEFORE it was built. There are minutes on the IW council website from 1 December 2015 designer’s meeting where the CHC said they were worried and predicted the problems that happened. The question is, why didn’t the designer (and presumably the Council) agree to change the design?
….In fact, the designer (BCTQ) said in those December 2015 minutes that they were worried about lengthening the chains with the length and width of the floating bridge etc as well…so all of this was all being discussed BEFORE it was built! The designer did mention something about how changing the design now might cause costs and delays. But they were concerned about the water over the… Read more »
Very interesting ‘east cowes!’ The IW Council Chief Executive’s procurement team engaged professional Naval Architects to design the replacement Floating Bridge FB6 for them so why didn’t they accept their advice which was provided to them and design-out these potential problems whiich are now causing so much trouble? Why did they insist that the design for an unnecessarily longer, taller and heavier FB6 was to be based… Read more »

So, it would appear that IWC have no intention of doing anything to remedy the problem, having asked for push boat tenders for 2019. Are they never going to admit that FB6 is not suitable for the job.


Why did the IWC opt for a longer, beamier and therefore heavier vessel? Because you can get more vehicles on it, and make more profit !!!! Ha Ha, Ha Ha, Ha Ha, YUK!


This bridge is fast becoming a floating joke. Why don’t they just admit it’s not fit for purpose and then get it sorted.


Because if they did, someone high up would have to lose their important job and we couldn’t have that, could we ?


I wonder how many tender response they will receive. I mean there are 100s of push boats/tugs on the Medina aren’t there?