The annual event encourages travellers to experience the advantages of starting a short break or holiday by boat

The Channel Tunnel is now rated an unqualified success, no-frills airlines are finally attempting to become passenger-friendly but British ferries, those workhorses plying across the English Channel, the North Sea, the Irish Sea and beyond, are attracting more and more travellers.

The reasons are easy to understand: ferries offer flexible and comfortable travel, very seldom suffer delays and make the journey an enjoyable part of any holiday. Also, the majority are no longer workhorses but fine beasts with cosy seating, pleasant bars, first class lounges and, on some vessels, spas and fine dining restaurants. And they are exceptionally stable.


Last year, 38 million passengers travelled on Britain’s ferries, an increase of almost one million, and more cars and coaches were carried. To highlight the ease, value and variety of routes, today sees the launch of National Ferry Fortnight, the sixth consecutive year of the campaign.

Supported by the 12 operator members of Discover Ferries, this year’s event urges everyone to “join our ferry family” and encourages travellers to experience the advantages of starting a short break or holiday by boat. One notable slogan — in a dig at the airlines — is that “baggage goes free with ferries”, which will appear on thousands of luggage labels.

The aim is to remind families that they can take multiple suitcases, buggies, golf clubs, guitars, even giant teddy bears with them at no extra cost and with no hassle.

Bill Gibbons, director of Discover Ferries, says: “We have chosen these themes to help even more people realise how family-friendly ferry travel is. Having sailed once, we are sure they will see the many benefits which include no hidden costs, is stress-free and great facilities for families.”