In addition to running the marina, moorings and boatyard, we also provide transport to and from the island 363 days of the year. Can we afford to do this?
Ferries, Deliveries and Logistics
We run a foot passenger service from Oban town centre to the Marina 363 days of the year. In the summer this is an hourly service from 8am to 10 pm capable of taking up to 34 passengers at a time.
To run a reliable boat service 7 days a week from just 8 in the morning to 5pm, we need a minimum of two drivers and two vessels. To operate our ferry service to its current level we need a minimum of 3 drivers, suitably qualified, plus crew and receptionists to administer the service.
This transport is of vital importance to marina users, resident islanders and casual visitors alike. But it costs the business a huge amount of money. We estimate the ferries are a net cost to the business of approximately £70,000 per year. In 2018 the total income for the ferries was £15,000.
You can find out more about the costs and how we are planning to support the continued operation of the ferry service here, but for now you can help us manage our service better by doing the following:
Manage your own bookings online, saving us admin time.
Always book with as much notice as possible. This helps us organise the most efficient use staffing and vessels to meet the demand.
Pay for your tickets well in advance and buy multiple journeys at once if you know you need them.
Remember, like every other resource on the island, the ferries are a shared resource. This facility is only viable when its users recognise and understand that it has to be shared by dozens of other families, boats and visitors.
Read the facts about the ferries here.
We can manage to get most things to the island, but it is not always easy. This is how things work at this end of the island.
The passenger ferries
Run hourly in the summer
Typically carries people, mail, parcels, food, wine, bicycles, dogs, pushchairs, pig food, logs.
Cannot carry - Dangerous Goods (hay, petrol, gas bottles, etc) and anything too heavy or too large to be lifted manually over the sides.
Can carry up to 2.5tons and objects up to about 3m x 7m x 2m.
Can be run ashore, has a loading ramp and can be used as a working platform
Typically carries furniture, quad bikes, machinery, building materials, empty beer barrels.
We have two main other ways of bringing things to the island.
The Cavoria is a public ferry operated by Calmac for the use of the whole island. We use it to bring things to the island that cannot go on our own vessels, typically in a transit type van. It will only come to the North of the island twice day and we cannot use it if it is already booked by someone else, or if the conditions are poor.
We are very grateful that this service exists. However to use it - for example to bring a supply of gas bottles to the island - it takes 24 hour’s notice, 4 hours labour, and £30 in car parking and ferry charges.
The Heavy freight option
Fergusons’ Heavy Freight Vessels - the Carly and the Harvest Anne - are used for:
HGV goods - e.g. diesel, heating oils, building supplies, animal feed and bedding.
Septic tank pumping and other vehicle-based services
Removal of scrap metals, arrival of heavy plant machinery