The Duchess of Cornwall: Diary Entry 10

22 June — 14 August 2008

Stage 10: Sea trials for the new wooden ferry

Now the new St Mawes Ferry is in the water, two weeks of stringent will be carried out to ensure the boat is safe and seaworthy.

The 60ft wooden ferry, which will have it’s official-naming ceremony in July, is the result of two and a half year’s work by its owners – Cornwall Ferries Limited – and will carry 100 passengers on the 30 minute crossing from Falmouth to St Mawes 364 days a year.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) will oversee all the tests run by Cockwells Modern and Classic Boatbuilders of Penryn – the builders of the boat – before issuing a certificate enabling Cornwall Ferries to begin using the ferry for the crossing.

Garrick Royle, operations manager for Cornwall Ferries, said he is looking forward to seeing the ferry fully operational and taking visitors across the Carrick Roads.

“I am very keen to get her working and am sure these two weeks of trials will go smoothly. The main things we need to test are the stability, systems and engines, everything related to safety, and all the nivigational equipment.

“The stability of the ferry will be tested by our own personal surveyor witnessed by the MCA and will be carried out using weights. The weights are moved around the boat and the degree of inclination towards the water is tested,” he explained.

Nigel Sharp, general manager at Cockwells, added: “We have already carried out a short sea trials ourselves but over the next couple of weeks we will be carrying out a series of formal trials with the MCA. Initially this will take place alongside the pontoon when, amongst other things, the bilge pumping systems, fire alarms, navigation lights, horn and public address system will all be tested.

“The MCA will also check that all lifesaving appliances are on board. There will then be a sea trial during which the MCA will check that they are satisfied with all aspects of the installation of the two engines as well as the steering system, and all other safety-related aspects of the vessel,” he added.

 Once satisfied that everything is in order, the MCA will issue the ferry with a certificate saying she is fit to begin service. Cornwall Ferries is hoping the new ferry will go into service early July with the official naming ceremony taking place later in the month.