Old English ferry gets more than a facelift for pleasure boat role in Ireland

The completed 'Barrow Princess' on the Quays ready for launch.

Boats and their on-board equipment and systems may need repair or modernisation at some point in their lifetime.  Obviously much of this is due to general wear and tear, engine failure or other mechanical issues.  But boats have to deal with the additional challenges of salt water corrosion and storm damage.

 Isles of Scilly Penzance ferry Voyager of St Martin’s before it's make over

Arklow Marine Services in Wicklow, with a long history of refitting vessels, were recently engaged to apply their skills and experience to a boat with an interesting back story.  This vessel had originally plied the waters in the far south west of the Britain as a ferry between the Isles of Scilly and Penzance and Cornwall.  It was built by Toms Boatyard in Polruan in Cornwall 25 years ago and launched as the ‘Voyager of St Martin’s’

The boat at Kilmore Quay, Co. Waterford

A buyer from Kilmore Quay, Co. Waterford acquired the vessel with the aim of operating it on the River Barrow carrying passengers and hosting events.  It will be renamed the ‘Barrow Princess’ and it will use New Ross, Co. Wexford as a base.  In its new form it will be licensed to carry up to 75 people. This vessel will have a Class 5 passenger license which means it will be able to provide light meals and have a full bar.  To provide this service to groups and parties it will have a lounge and bar services.  There will also seating on the upper deck for passengers to sit outside, take the air and get a great view.

The boat going through a refit at Arklow Marine Services

At 25 years old it has been exposed to the elements in the outer reaches of the Celtic Seas for a long time.  As a result it was in need of major refurbishing work when it arrived at Arklow Marine Services.  Boat building and repair has a long history in Arklow starting out hundreds of years ago focused on wooden boats.  These ancient crafts have been brought into the 21st century by the skills and experience of working in steel and the more specialized aluminium.

A new deckhouse and wheelhouse was fabricated and installed 

To insure the vessel complies with the Marine Survey Office requirements it has undergone a complete re-fit particularly as it is a passenger carrying vessel.  This has included the removal of the existing deckhouse and wheelhouse.  This required the fabrication and installation of a new aluminium replacements. These were then fitted out with windows, doors, electrics and a bar.  Also new electronic equipment was fitted together with and to enhance existing equipment.  As the final touch, new floor coverings were laid for the interior and exterior deck.

Engines were removed, completely overhauled and refitted. 

Down below deck the main engines were removed, completely overhauled and refitted.  A new auxiliary (30 KV) power supply was also purchased and fitted.  This was to insure that the extra demands of event related equipment such as the ice machine, dish washer, fridge and Burco hot water boiler were reliably powered.  Finally the hull and all new structure were completely washed down, undercoated and finished in the owners colours.

Marine Survey Office inspector checking stability 

It is important to note once a vessel is carrying passengers a specific passenger licence is required.  As a result the vessel needs to comply on hull integrity and electrical requirements.  Also on stability requirements including the issuing of a ‘stability booklet’ for safe operation with carrying passengers. These are all areas Arklow Marine Services is extensive experienced in over many years.

The Barrow Princess in the process of being craned into place before basin & sea trails

The boat was launched in late June 2021 and following that basin and sea trials took place.  The it is now operating happily at it's home port of New Ross.

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