The ferry that links Studland to Sandbanks in Dorset is to receive a full maintenance overhaul and refit which means it won’t be operational for about five weeks.
The maintenance is scheduled to take place from Monday 31st October 2022 to approximately Sunday 4th December 2022.
Alternative route via Corfe Castle and Wareham
During this time, commuters, students, shoppers and anyone else who wishes to get over to Poole and Bournemouth from Purbeck will have to travel via Corfe Castle and Wareham.
Equally, those from Poole and Bournemouth wishing to visit Purbeck will also have to go ‘the long way round’ as it is often referred to.
The period that the ferry is out of action will include the first two weekends of the Artisans on the Beach market in Swanage, the Swanage Christmas Lights Switch-on and the Rotary Christmas Market in Swanage.
It’s expected that the number 50 Purbeck Breezer bus that usually travels between Swanage and Bournemouth via the ferry, will divert via Wareham for the duration that the ferry is out of service.
“Back in service approximately five weeks later.”
A spokesperson for the Sandbanks Ferry Company confirmed:
“The ferry will come off the chains on Monday the 31st of October 2022 and we anticipate being back in service approximately five weeks later.”
It is usual for the ferry to be taken out of service for a few weeks every two years to ensure that it passes all the statutory service and safety checks, however recently the schedule has been disrupted by a number of incidents.
Ferry service disruption
Over the last three years, the ferry service has been hit by a number of stoppages, leaving it out of operation for months.
In 2019, it developed a major mechanical fault when its driveshaft broke. To fix it, the company had to wait months for the specialist part to arrive, leaving ferry users without a service from July to October that year.
In 2020, the covid pandemic and the subsequent government travel restricts meant that the ferry stopped operating from April to June.
From the second lockdown in November 2020 and through much of the third lockdown to April 2021, the ferry service kept going but reduced its operating hours, ending at 9 pm.
This is the first scheduled maintenance stoppage for the ferry since 2018, when the refit took seven weeks from the end of October to mid December 2018.