Boat firms join forces to enhance St Martin's boating
Three Isles of Scilly boat companies have joined together to provide an enhanced inter-island boat service for St Martin’s.
From this season, St Mary’s Boatmen’s Association, Tresco Boat Services and St Agnes Boating will collaborate to provide a more "comprehensive, frequent and sustainable boat service" for the island.
"St Mary’s Boatmen’s Association will operate all scheduled boating for St Martin’s during the main season, including scheduled transfers for guests arriving and departing by air or Scillonian ferry. Tresco Boat Services will continue to provide all special hire boating all year round, whilst St Agnes Boating will provide a limited scheduled service in the winter.
During the season visitors and islanders of St Martin’s will benefit from a greater choice of scheduled boats to St Mary’s. From there, passengers can explore, shop or join any of the Boatmen’s Association trips throughout the islands. A new “through ticket” will mean these trips will be included in the return fare from St Martin’s, providing excellent choice and value for money. For 2019 this fare is expected to be £10 return.
St Martin’s Councillor Jonathan Smith said: “The community on St Martin’s had a constructive meeting with all the boating providers about service provision in 2019 and beyond.
“Boating is a critical part of island life for both locals and our visitors, whether for locals going to St Mary’s for shopping or medical appointments, or visitors spending a relaxed day enjoying one of the other off islands.
“We look forward to the new arrangements being in place soon, and thank the different boating companies for collaborating to provide a quality service for us.”
St Mary’s Boatmen’s Association has provided tripper boat services for the islands for nearly 50 years and today comprises of ten vessels, each owned and operated by its Skipper. The boats operate an impressive range of daily trips to each island, as well as sightseeing and wildlife trips, which will now be opened up to St Martin’s residents and visitors.
Joe Pender, skipper of Sapphire and member of St Mary’s Boatmen’s Association said: “We’re looking forward to providing a really comprehensive boat service for St Martin’s during the season. Working with the other boat companies in this way makes sense, ensuring the visitors and residents of St Martin’s can benefit from a greater variety of trips and more frequent boats.”
Tresco Boat Services will continue to provide special hire boats throughout the year using high speed jetboats, allowing passengers to book a boat at a time to suit them. Boating for St Martin’s school children, early years and other essential services will also continue to be provided by Tresco Boat Services.
Since St Martin’s boatman Terry Perkins retired in 2015, all boating for St Martin’s has been provided by Tresco Boat Services, which also serves Tresco and Bryher. Boat services for those islands will be unaffected by these changes.
Diana Mompoloki from Tresco Island said: “We are delighted to be working with St Mary’s Boatmen’s Association and St Agnes Boating to provide a better service for St Martin’s.
“In these islands, partnership and working together has long helped the islands thrive, and this new approach will enhance the frequency, choice and value of boating for St Martin’s throughout the year.”
In the winter months, St Agnes Boating will also provide a limited schedule of weekly boating. These boats – commonly referred to as “shopping boats” – will enable islanders to access essential services on St Mary’s without having to pay for special hire boats.
John Peacock, owner of St Agnes Boating, said: “We look forward to working with St Martin's residents to provide a winter lifeline link.”
The new joint initiative will begin operating from mid-March and further information will shortly be available at www.tresco.co.uk/boats as well as www.stagnesboating.co.uk and www.scillyboating.co.uk.