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National Ferry Fortnight Launches in UK to Showcase Benefits of Sea Travel

6th May 2017
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FERRY APPEALING: Peel Castle on St. Patrick's Isle off the Isle of Man FERRY APPEALING: Peel Castle on St. Patrick's Isle off the Isle of Man Photo: Wikipedia

#FerryFortnight - The annual National Ferry Fortnight in the UK launches today, 6 May and continues to the 20 May. Now in its ninth year, National Ferry Fortnight is run by Discover Ferries, the industry body for the ferry industry that showcases the benefits of sea travel.

Afloat adds that among the members of Discover Ferries are operators on the Irish Sea. They are represented from an overall 75-plus ferry routes running between the UK and Ireland and continental Europe. In addition to those serving islands off Britain, chiefly the Isle of Man, Channel Islands and the Scottish Western Isles. 

This 2017 Discover Ferries’ National Ferry Fortnight campaign theme is Ferry Together – encouraging family and friends to spend more time together. Research undertaken by Discover Ferries at the beginning of 2017 highlights how little quality time families are spending together due to the hectic nature of modern life. Results showed that the average family spends just three weeks of real quality time together each year, and just 36 minutes on the average week day. In comparison, adults spend almost four times as long – one hour and 55 minutes per day – watching TV or playing on their gadgets. Children are also staring at a screen of some kind for around two hours and 22 minutes a day.

As a result, two thirds of parents say holidays and trips away from home are the only real time they get together. Going out for meals together was found to be the best way of spending quality time together on holiday, followed by doing activities together, the evening entertainment and the journey there. And almost half of those surveyed said the entire holiday counts as quality time.
Bill Gibbons, Discover Ferries director said: “Our research has shown just how incredibly important every second of holiday time is in our busy lives. Almost half of the people we surveyed said their whole holiday counts as quality time together. Our members do their utmost to make the ferry journey the very start of the family holiday experience. Unlike an airplane where you’re strapped in alongside each other in front of computer screens, a ferry journey gives people time to stretch their legs, eat a meal together or watch wildlife together. National Ferry Fortnight will be a celebration of ways to spend that treasured time together.”

Members of Discover Ferries 

The 11 members of Discover Ferries are Brittany Ferries, Caledonian MacBrayne, DFDS Seaways, Irish Ferries, Isle Of Man Steam Packet Company, Isles of Scilly Steamship Group, NorthLink Ferries, P&O Ferries, Red Funnel, Stena Line and Wightlink.

During National Ferry Fortnight 2017 Discover Ferries’ members will be publishing holiday ideas and added-value offers on ferry routes to France, Belgium, Holland, Spain, Ireland, Isle of Wight, Isle of Man, Isles of Scilly and Scottish islands.

To keep in touch with #ferrytogether #NFF2017 please follow @discoverferries on Twitter, like Discover Ferries on Facebook and sign up to our newsletter.

Published in Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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