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Positive feedback for Lowestoft water taxi at official unveiling

The official launch of Lowestoft's new water taxi.

The official launch of Lowestoft's new water taxi.

Archant

Passengers got their first taste of Lowestoft's new water taxi after being taken out for one of its first journeys along Lake Lothing following its official unveiling.

The official launch of Lowestoft's new water taxi.The official launch of Lowestoft's new water taxi.

Around 60 people including Waveney MP Peter Aldous and Lowestoft mayor Stephen Ardley gathered at the International Boatbuilding Training College (IBTC), in Oulton Broad, for the launch on Saturday (May 6).

They were taken out in turns for short trips from IBTC’s base in Sea Lake Road to Brooke Marine or towards Oulton Broad, with people reacting “very positively” to the ride.

David Savill, project manager for the Shipshape East Anglia project – which is running the water taxi – said: “People seemed to enjoy it and we got a positive response all round.

“Some people went to look at where we’re going to go at the Oulton Broad end, whereas other people went down towards Brooke Marine for a 10-minute trip.

The official launch of Lowestoft's new water taxi.The official launch of Lowestoft's new water taxi.

“We had a spell with electric and diesel power to show them what the boat could do and we had a very good response.”

The former 1954 Glaswegian workboat has been restored by a team at IBTC over the past year after the Shipshape project was given a £631,060 government grant.

Last week an independent surveyor cleared the boat to carry up to 12 passengers on board following a “tip test”, where everyone stands on one side of the boat to check its balance.

The team is now arranging pontoons, to allow people to get safely on and off the boat, ahead of its expected launch date in early July.

It has advertised for a skipper and a mate – which is a skipper’s assistant – and is set to interview for the positions in the near future.

When everything is ready, the water taxi will run hourly trips from Bridge Road in Oulton Broad to Royal Plain in Lowestoft.

It was originally intended as a different way for people to see the town.

However some have even raised the prospect that, on a bad traffic day, it could be quicker than negotiating either the Oulton Broad North level crossing or the Bascule bridge.

What do you think of Lowestoft’s new water taxi? Write, giving your full contact details, to: Journal Postbox, 147 London Road North, Lowestoft NR32 1NB or email andrew.papworth@archant.co.uk

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