Sandbanks Ferry return to service update following damage

The ferry that normally operates between Studland and Sandbanks in Dorset will be out of service for a few more months as it’s waiting on new parts from Poland, after receiving damage while being towed to Cornwall for maintenance.

The Sandbanks Ferry company says the planned refit work has progressed well at the dry dock in Falmouth, however the repair work to the ferry’s southern prow is now expected to delay its return to service until the end of February 2023.

Sandbanks ferry with damaged prow arm
Poole Maritime Trust

The ferry arrived in Falmouth in Cornwall with one of its prow arms visibly bent

First delayed and then damaged while on tow

The ferry service was suspended on Monday 31st October 2022 with the expectation that the maintenance work would be completed and the ferry towed back to Poole by early December 2022.

Firstly, the ferry was delayed leaving Poole Harbour for Falmouth until Friday 11th November 2022 due to bad weather. Then while being towed along the English Channel it received severe damage to one of the prow arms and two prow ramps.

The exact cause of the damage has yet to be made public.

Sandbanks Ferry damage
Sandbanks Ferry

The ferry company released this photo showing the damaged prow arm and ramps removed

Ferry at Studland

In happier times – the southern prow of the ferry before the damage

New ramps are being manufactured in Poland

A replacement prow arm is planned to be fitted by mid December 2022 but the two new ramps are currently being manufactured in Poland by the original makers so aren’t expected to be delivered until early February 2023.

The company says that this was the quickest option available and not the cheapest. When the new prow ramps arrive in the UK they will need to be fitted and once that is complete, pre-service checks and sea trials will have to be completed.

The company expects the ferry service will recommence by the end of February 2023.

Sandbanks Ferry in Poole Harbour
Caroline Abbott

The ferry in Poole Harbour pictured in November 2022 waiting for a break in the bad weather to be towed to Falmouth

“We are going as fast as we are able”

Sandbanks Ferry Company’s managing director, Jason du Toit said:

“We are going as fast as we are able so as to minimise time out of service. The repairs we are undertaking are subject to various time consuming approvals for safety reasons.

“I share all our customers’ frustration at the extended absence of the service and can once again only apologise.”

Sandbanks Ferry closed sign

Expiry date for prepaid card tickets extended

In an earlier statement, the company said that it held the tug company fully responsible for the damage to the ferry while it was under tow.

The company says that all prepaid Sandbanks Ferry ticket card passes will automatically have their expiry date extended by three months. However the time the ferry will be out of service is currently estimated to be four months.

All paper tickets remain valid and have no expiry date.

Further information

More details are on the ferry website

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