Sandbanks Ferry returns to service after major delay

Following 17 weeks out of action, the ferry that operates between Studland and Sandbanks in Dorset has resumed service.

The Sandbanks Ferry service was suspended on Monday 31st October 2022 for planned maintenance which was estimated to take about six weeks, however an incident meant its return to service was delayed.

Sandbanks ferry with damaged prow arm
Poole Maritime Trust

The damage to the ferry was revealed when it eventually reached dry dock in Falmouth

Southern prow of the vessel was severely damaged

First the ferry was delayed from being towed from Poole Harbour to Falmouth in Cornwall for the scheduled refit work to take place, due to bad weather.

Then on its way to Falmouth, the southern prow of the vessel was severely damaged, meaning weeks more of delays while new parts were ordered from Poland and refitted.

At the time, the Sandbanks Ferry company said that although for legal reasons it was unable to go into any more detail about the incident, it had sent a letter to the tug company holding them fully responsible.

Eventually the ferry, the Bramble Bush Bay was towed back to Poole Harbour on Tuesday 7th February 2023 for the repair work to be completed.

Sandbanks ferry

Service resumed at 11 am on Monday 27th February 2023 from the Sandbanks side

“Various teams involved have worked tirelessly”

Following testing and a final inspection the ferry company said it was resuming service on Monday 27th February 2023:

“We are delighted to announce that Bramble Bush Bay is returning to service this morning at 11 am, starting from the Poole side and resuming our normal schedule.

“As everyone is no doubt aware we have had numerous delays, the various teams involved have worked tirelessly to ensure that the ferry is ready for service. We have received all the certifications we require to return to service.”

Sandbanks ferry

The chain ferry operates between Studland and Sandbanks – an important link for the local economy

Crucial trading period for local businesses

As well as being an inconvenience to commuters and other people trying to get between Swanage and Poole, the ferry was out of action over the run up to Christmas 2022, a crucial trading period for local businesses.

The Purbeck Breezer number 50 bus between Swanage and Bournemouth had to be diverted via Wareham, which made it harder for those relying on the bus to get to work or to those wishing to visit Purbeck.

This resulted in less daytrippers and a downturn in trade for cafes, restaurants and shops across Studland and Swanage.

The tollbooths are back in operation

“It has been a long and challenging road”

Sandbanks Ferry company’s managing director, Jason du Toit said

“We would like to thank all of our staff and contractors for the work that they have put in and our customers for their patience.

“We understand and share the frustrations of the ferry being out of service. It has been a long and challenging road and we are pleased that we are now returning to service”.

Further information

  • The Sandbanks Ferry timetable is on its website

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