Calls made for river to be dredged after ferry drama

The Fleetwood to Knott End ferry
The Fleetwood to Knott End ferry
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A skipper whose ferry ran aground today said the incident was caused by unusual water levels.

Seventeen people were stranded on the Fleetwood to Knott End vessel for more than three hours on Saturday when it hit a sandbank.

The Wyre Rose got into difficulty at 1.45pm during a journey to Knott End and was unable to move until the tide came in at 5pm.

Knott End coastguard was called out to the scene to ensure the people on board, including three crew, were safe and well – and to determine any damage to the ferry.

Tony Cowell, skipper of the Wyre Rose, said high pressure weather patterns had affected the tide.

He said: “The tide would normally have been over three metres but it was less than two metres.

“I even left Fleetwood early before it got any lower but we still got stuck.”

However, the skipper said he kept up the spirits of the passengers by serving them tea and coffee, Quality Street chocolates and having a sing-a-long to songs on Smooth FM radio. He said: “The passengers understood and some of them said it would give them something to tell their friends and relatives about.”

Bob Boal, secretary of Fleetwood Development Partnership, called for the sandbanks to be dredged more often to prevent such incidents from happening again.

He said: “This is a consequence of boats leaving the port and something that is inevitable because nothing is done about the sand.

“The ferry is a lifeline from Fleetwood to Knott End and it’s going to happen more and more if the sand is building up.

“It must have been a frightening experience for those on board to be stuck like that.

“It’s obviously a popular service which saves people going all the way around and something needs to be done.”

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