|Headquarters||Southsea, United Kingdom|
Hovertravel is a ferry company operating from Southsea, Portsmouth to Ryde, Isle of Wight, UK. It is the only passenger hovercraft company currently operating in Britain since Hoverspeed stopped using its craft in favour of catamarans. Hovertravel is now the world's oldest hovercraft operator.
The service operates between Southsea Common on the English mainland and Ryde Transport Interchange on the Isle of Wight: the crossing time of less than 10 minutes makes it the fastest route across The Solent from land to land.
On 4 March 1972 Hovertravel's SR-N6 012 capsized off Southsea with a loss of five lives, including one person missing presumed drowned. This was the world's first fatal accident involving a commercially operated hovercraft, and the first fatal accident involving a hovercraft in the United Kingdom.
The craft en route from Ryde to Southsea was hit by an unusually large wave. The hovercraft capsized about quarter of a mile (400 metres) offshore. After rescuing all visible survivors, the hovercraft was towed ashore at Southsea.
Hovertravel suspend the timetable when the wind reaches gale force 8 and above. The service was suspended on 18 November 2011 after an incident on 30 October 2011 in which the hovercraft Solent Express suffered a propeller failure. Services resumed with one craft on the afternoon of 21 November 2011.
The service was again suspended after a second incident on the 27th June 2015, when during the 21:45 crossing the Freedom 90 Hovercraft experienced a major fault with the port propeller, with the loss of all four propeller blades and one of the three rudder blades.
The Past and current fleet
- SRN6-025 (1968–1980)
- SRN6-026 (1966)
- SRN6-130 (1965–1980)
- Freedom (19??-1982)
- Sea Hawk' (19??–1983)
- Tenacity (1983–1990)
- Resolution (1983–1987)
- Perseverance (1985–1988)
- Double-O-Seven (1989–2003)
- Courier (1990–2000)
- Idun Viking (1998–2002)
- BHT130 – Solent Express (2007–2011 )
Hovertravel has confirmed plans for two new craft of completely new design, with the first one to enter in 2015 and the second in 2016.
Hovertravel hovercraft have occasionally been chartered to operate temporary services across the Firth of Tay between Carnoustie and St Andrews in connection with major golf tournaments (due to Carnoustie's relative lack of hotel accommodation). Also, the Solent Express was chartered to operate an experimental service across the Firth of Forth (marketed as "Forthfast") between Portobello (Edinburgh) and Kirkcaldy between 16–28 July 2007.
- "BBC – Hovercraft on the Isle of Wight". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 25 September 2008.
- "Hovertravel – Homepage". www.hovertravel.co.uk. Retrieved 13 September 2008.
|chapter-url=missing title (help). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons. 6 March 1972. col. 1029–1030.
|chapter-url=missing title (help). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons. 20 December 1972. col. 380W–381W.
- [http://homepage.ntlworld.com/graham.alland/mypage2.htm "1972, The Hovercraft"]. Thirty Two Years in the Ambulance Service. Portsmouth and Hampshire (UK). Retrieved 17 September 2009.
- "Hovertravel operations suspended". Maritime and Coastguard Agency. 18 November 2011.
- "Stagecoach – Fife – forthfast". www.stagecoachbus.com. Retrieved 13 September 2008.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hovertravel.|
- Hovertravels official website
- History and current details of Hovertravel and hovercraft used
- Account and pictures of the 1972 accident