A NEW team has been appointed to operate the re-launched Windermere Ferry and they have a wealth of maritime experience.

Extensive repairs have been carried out on the ferry and a new engine installed following the fire last May which put the boat out of action for six months.

While the ferry was not operating, CCC recruited a new team to operate the vessel which runs from Bowness to Sawrey. The new recruits include captains, first mates and ferry hosts who will be running the service seven days a week throughout the year.

Among the new captains is Nicola Forth, who has seven years of experience working on sea-going vessels. She is a qualified chief mate and officer of the watch. She was previously a deck officer for a range of vessels including nuclear transport.

Nicola is familiar with Windermere, having also worked for Windermere Lake Cruisers as boat crew member and ticket clerk.

Richard Rhodes has spent time working on cruise ships for Royal Caribbean Cruises, visiting no fewer than 67 countries. He has extensive experience in coaching, training and managing crew. Most recently he has worked on Thames high speed clippers dealing with high numbers of passengers and maintaining tight timetables.

And Peter Gaukroger, who has extensive experience in seagoing and maritime work, has been first skipper on the Steam Yacht Gondola, working for the National Trust on Coniston Water.

Several of the newly-appointed ferry first mates also have first-hand experience of working on water, including Simon Matthews who has spent more than eight years on sea going vessels. He has worked on cargo vessels and super yachts as navigation and security officer, previously based in the Mediterranean.

Michael Wills has previously worked on the ferry and Joe Wojcik, who has spent much of his life on or around boats, has been responsible for leading on training in the sea cadets and the inshore rescue team at Ulverston.

Andrew Kidd, Lindsay Woodbridge, Stephen Kenwright, Thomas Cherry, Dan Martin, Geoff Bray and Michael Ball have been appointed as ferry hosts.

Most of the previous ferry crew were agency staff and not employed by CCC. Others were re-deployed within the local authority.