05 Jun 2017

Floating bridge back in service

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) surveyed the floating bridge on Friday, confirming that it is now able to re-enter service. The floating bridge will return to service on Wednesday 7 June, from 5am.

The MCA said: “Maritime and Coastguard Agency surveyors attended the Cowes floating bridge on Friday morning (2 June). The outstanding corrective action has been completed to the satisfaction of the surveyors and the vessel’s certificate has been reinstated.”

Over the past couple of weeks while the vessel has been out of service, further extensive staff training and additional practice has been undertaken.

On Thursday evening, further vehicle testing was undertaken to ensure that the modelling that took place during the design of the floating bridge, was practicable with the actual bridge and following the teething issues experienced when the new bridge began its live testing period.

Councillor Ian Ward, Cabinet member for transport, said: “Now that the floating bridge crew have had more time to use the floating bridge and have had more time to get used to it, they are confident and able to bring the bridge closer to the shore. This has mitigated the issues experienced during the first day of its service, as was seen during vehicle testing of embarkation and disembarkation recently.

“In order to further improve the access to the floating bridge, we have been working with the naval architects/designers to add longer ‘fingers’ to the end of the prows at either end. These will lessen yet further, the angle by which vehicles embark and disembark the floating bridge and improve the ease of access.”

It is anticipated that the new ‘fingers’ will be replaced during July, which will require minimal impact to service at this time.

It had always been anticipated that, as with any new vehicle, there would be a period of time for staff and users to become used to its operation. We would encourage all vehicle users to continue to drive slowly onto and off of the floating bridge, as has always been the case.

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Floating bridge returning to service
Floating bridge returning to service
  • The floating bridge will return to service on 7 June.
East Cowes Isle of Wight