Historic ferry service stays afloat with support from NatWest

Historic ferry service stays afloat with support from NatWest

A ferry service that has carried passengers for eight centuries is being helped to weather the effects of recent storms with funding from NatWest.

The Cremyll Ferry was first documented in the 13th century

The Cremyll Ferry normally sails across the River Tamar between the counties of Cornwall and Devon up to 46 times a day, but high winds forced the boat’s skipper to cancel crossings for five days during February.

Supporting cashflow

NatWest is supporting the business cashflow needs  with an extension to its overdraft facility.

Ferry operators Jean and Francis Knight say the extra money has helped ensure the continuance of the service. Jean said: “Winters are always very lean times because we’re a seasonal business, but this year the passenger numbers are even lower than normal.

“The weather has on occasion been horrendous – 80 to 90mph winds. It’s the skipper’s decision: if he feels it’s too dangerous, the ferry stops. But takings are down and we still have to pay our crew members.”

Essential service

The Cremyll Ferry was first documented in the 13th century and although a rowing boat was used until late in the 19th century, it carried horses, other farm animals and carriages as well human passengers to Admirals Hard in  Plymouth and back.

Nowadays the ferry is used by foot passengers only - commuters going to school and work or tourists wanting to take in the views of Mount Edgcumbe, the Royal William Yard and the Plymouth Sound.

Bradley Bryant, Relationship Manager for NatWest Business Banking in Plymouth, said: “It’s a fantastic service normally undertaken on a ferry that’s over 80 years old.

“It is great that as a Bank we can help businesses in such adverse and unusual conditions carry on trading and providing an essential service to the community.”

Storm damage to part of the slipway leading to the ferry has not affected the service, and passengers are able to access the ferry as normal.

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