New Whitianga ferry due to launch

By: Media Release

The launch of a new ferry for Whitianga is set to make a big splash on Saturday 29 August 2015.

"There will be a naming ceremony at 12 noon, we'll smash some champagne across the bow and put her in the water," says Fred Acke, the owner of Whitianga Ferries Ltd.

There will also be a sausage sizzle, entertainment and guest speakers.

The new vessel has 63 seats, is 12 metres long and is configured to move people on and off more quickly so it can make more trips between the Whitianga wharf and Ferry Landing.

It's flat-sided so can sit flush against the dock, making it easier for wheelchairs, prams and bikes to get on and off.

The aluminium boat cost $350,000 and was made in Tauranga. Mr Acke promises it will be warmer, quieter and drier than his other two ferries, the Stella B and the Mercury Star.

The new boat was delivered to Mercury Bay in July and underwent sea trials.

"She performed in every way better than hoped," says Mr Acke. "We think she'll be a great addition to the town."

Paul Kelly, Chair of the Mercury Bay Community Board agrees.

"The ferry service is a lifeline across the harbour and is an iconic part of Whitianga," he says. "The new boat should relieve a lot of the pressure in the busy summer months."

The new boat enters regular service on Sunday in good time to work out any problems before the Scallop Festival on Saturday 19 September.

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