Perth boating trips hailed a success

More than 1,000 people have got on board with a new maritime initiative which aims to transform the River Tay into a bustling passage for leisure boats and water taxis.

The ambitious project was launched in Perth earlier this summer.

Maritime training charity Taymara — Tay Maritime Action — teamed up with Perth and Kinross Council and the Tay and Earn Trust to offer regular boat trips until October.

Vessels carry passengers from new pontoons at Willowgate, near the Friarton Bridge, and Tay Street, by the Fergusson Gallery, and sail past Elcho Castle and Kinnoull Hill.

And three weeks ago, the scheme was extended along the Tay with regular trips from Broughty Ferry to Perth.

Since its launch in July, the service has only been cancelled twice. Once because of weather, and another time earlier this week when a berthing point at Perth Harbour was being used by a large commercial craft.

Trips for the rest of the month have now sold out, and outings in September are booking up fast.

A council spokeswoman said: “Over 1,000 people have so far taken to the river to enjoy one of a programme of boating trips using Perth’s new pontoons on the Tay.

“The pontoons have provided an added attraction for city residents and visitors since they launched back in July. It’s been great to see people taking the opportunity to view the city, and local tourism sights like Kinnoull Hill and Elcho Castle, from a completely different perspective.”

She added: “We’ve been very fortunate that despite some challenging periods of weather this summer there have only been two occasions where trips have had to be cancelled.

“Most recently this was because of a timing clash with a large commercial vessel coming into the harbour, which mean that there wasn’t a suitable berth available for the boat on that occasion.

While we are sorry for the disappointment caused to passengers when these two trips were cancelled, we have refunded tickets, and given them a discount on a future booking so that they can take an alternative trip between now and the end of the 2017 programme in October.”

The boating plan was launched thanks to £700,000 of funding from the Big Lottery’s Coastal Communities Fund.

Due to tide times, trips need to operate during restricted hours and will be weather dependent.

The pontoons represent the first major project to be carried out as part of the Perth City Plan, a vision of improvements to be rolled out over the next 20 years.

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