Bristol Ferry Boats

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Coordinates: 51°27′01″N 2°35′32″W / 51.450292°N 2.59216°W / 51.450292; -2.59216

A yellow water taxi on the water between stone quaysides. The far bank has large buildings and in the distance is a three arch bridge.
A ferry boat passes the Welsh Back landing stage, with Bristol Bridge in the background

Bristol Ferry Boats, formerly known as the Bristol Ferry Boat Company, operates water bus services around Bristol Harbour in the centre of the English city of Bristol. Services operate for the leisure market to and from both the city centre and Bristol Temple Meads railway station, and serve 15 landing stages throughout the length of the harbour. Services are provided by a fleet of yellow and blue painted ferry boats.

City Docks Ventures, a non-profit making conservation group in Bristol, started the initiative in 1977, with the purchase of the ferry boat "Margaret", to be skippered by Ian Bungard. In 1980 that 25 seater was joined by Independence with 35 seats.[1]

The ferry service offered all year round leisure, sightseeing, and commuting, as well as private hire, and typified the transformation of Bristol's Floating Harbour from cargo trading vessels to leisure.

In 1984 Royal Mail chose an image of Margaret to feature on one of its special edition 'Urban Renewal' stamps. The yellow and blue painted boats had become a well known brand.

In 2002 Ian Bungard sold the business to Rob and Jane Salvidge.

In 2005 the fifth boat in the fleet, Brigantia, was launched. Brigantia was designed and built in Bristol specially for the company.

In late 2012, service was briefly interrupted due to financial causes until the original team, with supporters, bought back the fleet at the receivers' auction with a plan to quickly transform it into a Community Benefit Society.[2]

In 2013, the campaign to transform the company into public ownership was well oversubscribed.[1] Bristol Community Ferry Boats Limited is the result, now owned by its 871 shareholders from all around Bristol.[3]

Full scheduled services now operate 364 days a year, for the leisure, commuter, and educational markets to and from Bristol city centre and Temple Meads railway station, including Brunel's SS Great Britain, and 15 landing stages throughout the length of the harbour.

Landing stages served[edit]

Ferry Boat passing former Lime Kiln Dock

The Bristol Ferry Boat serves the following landing stages:[4]


The fleet of the Bristol Ferry Boat Company includes the following vessels:[5]

  • Brigantia - Purpose built in 2006 for work on the Bristol Ferry.
  • Emily - Built in the mid-1920s and has been in service in Bristol since 1992, carrying up to 45 passengers.
  • Independence - Built in 1926 and has been in service in Bristol since 1981, carrying up to 45 passengers.
  • Margaret - Built in 1952 and has been in service in Bristol since 1977, carrying up to 25 passengers.
  • Matilda - Purpose built for work on the Bristol Ferry, carries up to 45 passengers.


  1. ^ a b Staff (31 December 2012). "Group steps in to rescue bust ferry boat company". This Is Bristol. Retrieved 15 April 2013. 
  2. ^ "Bristol Ferry Boat Company goes out of business". This is Bristol. Retrieved 23 November 2012. 
  3. ^ Staff (28 January 2013). "'Sunk' Bristol Ferry Boat Company back in business again". This Is Bristol. Retrieved 15 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "Ferry Service". Bristol Ferry Boats. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "Our boats". Bristol Ferry Boats. Retrieved 13 April 2013. 

External links[edit]