As well as a crabbing competition, the pirates made and raced scrapheap boats, learned to row and had a go with a teaching VHF set.  

The scrapheap boats were a particular success; made from waste cardboard, newspaper, string and plastic cups to whatever design sprang to mind, they varied from simple origami to complex cup-catamarans and even a rigged two-master with a bowsprit. 

These were sailed across the marina with prizes awarded for the most imaginative and fastest designs.  This activity fired the imagination of the Dads, who got quite competitive with the sticky tape.  

There was serious intent behind the fun and games: East Cowes Marina assistant manager Rachel Hibberd said "We organised the fun day to give boat-owning families a chance to get to know each other - having other families to meet-up with makes boating more enjoyable for children and parents.  There's a lot of pressure on families, so making boats more fun is a great way to keep the children interested." 

The youngest participant, Harry (aged three and three quarters) said that it was the best fun he'd had, and showed his appreciation by falling soundly asleep.  

The Family Fun Day was the latest in a number of activities that East Cowes Marina has organised since joining the RYA Active Marina scheme at the end of 2013.  These have included a hands-on flare demonstration, talk on Solent weather patterns, own boat tuition, RYA courses as well as a party and social barbecues.   

The Isle of Wight is a popular holiday destination, and one of the sunniest places in England.  Many visitors come to East Cowes Marina and use it as a base to explore the Island by bus or bike.  

Sandy beaches, amusement parks, castles and quiet villages are all within a bus ride of the marina, turning the family cruiser into a holiday home for a few days.  

East Cowes is the largest marina on the Isle of Wight, with 200 berth holders and space for 100 visitors.  East Cowes Marina 01983 293983