Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Hayling Island ferry suspended over safety concerns

Hayling Island ferry
Image caption The Hayling Island ferry is used by schoolchildren and commuters

A passenger ferry has been deemed unsafe to sail after inspectors found a number of defects.

The Pride of Hayling, which travels between Portsmouth and Hayling Island, had been inspected by the coastguard as part of its annual checks.

Life-jackets were "defective" and staff members were not "able to cope" with a set of emergency scenarios put to them.

Operator Edwards and Co said crew were working to address the concerns and hoped to be running by Tuesday.

The service has been running for more than 200 years linking Hayling Island to the mainland.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said once the operator had addressed concerns it would be reinspected.

Winch aboard

The ferry is used by 70 children to get to school each day and can travel up to 30 times a day during the week.

The only alternative to the three-minute ferry ride is a 32-mile round trip by road.

Derrick Thorrington, marine surveyor, said: "We found a number of physical defects on the vessel that need to be addressed before the vessel can continue in service.

"Also we found that the crew weren't really able to cope with a set of emergency scenarios that we expect vessel crews to deal with, so they need to add that and also the physical defects and then we can reassess and go from there."

Owner Freda Edwards said the ferry needed to install equipment to winch aboard objects found floating in the harbour.

She said she hoped the service would be restored by Tuesday at the latest, depending on when the MCA could reassess.

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