A brand new 300-seat vessel is set to begin service on Windermere, making it the largest craft to be launched on the lake for more than 80 years.

Windermere Lake Cruises has signed a contract to make a multi-million pound investment in the brand-new craft MV Swift.

The new vessel is expected to be in action from the mid-2020 season and has been designed to operate in all seasons, 364 days a year.

Like Windermere Lake Cruises’ existing flagship ‘steamers’ MV Swan and MV Teal, the new vessel will boast three decks but will be slightly shorter in length to enable it to access smaller jetties to help support other businesses in the area.

The first cutting of the steel took place on April 9, with construction expected to be complete in approximately 17 months.

Chairman of Windermere Lake Cruises Bill Bewley said: “It’s not only an opportunity to ensure our passengers continue to enjoy comfortable journeys with us but will also help visitors experience the full 10.5-mile length of the lake, its surrounding countryside and attractions.

“Without having to rely on their cars to accomplish that, it forms an important part of the sustainable transport network.

“We also wanted to make other existing stop-off points along the lake more accessible to our passengers. Swift has therefore been designed to easily access piers such as private jetties at hotels including Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa, which until now have been unable to accommodate our larger vessels.

“As well as being fully accessible and designed to operate all year round, MV Swift will also be equipped with a number of features not present on our existing fleet."

The vessel is being built by Netherlands-based company, Damen.

The size of the vessel means it is necessary to build it in smaller sections off site before being transported to Lakeside for final assembly.

Bill said: “This significant investment is being made at a time of economic uncertainty, however following the designation of the Lake District National Park as a World Heritage Site, we believe that the Lake District’s visitor economy has a bright future.

“We are pleased to report that the arrival of the new vessel will create additional employment opportunities for both permanent and seasonal staff and we look forward to welcoming passengers onboard.”

Damen sales manager Arjen van Elk said: “We are proud of the trust they have placed in us to build for them a unique boat that reflects the heritage of the company while providing customers with the comfort and safety of modern sailing.”