Windermere Lake Cruises has undertaken a complex operation to return its newest vessel MV ‘Swift’ back to the water after undergoing routine checks to ensure she is shipshape for the new visitor season.

Swift became the biggest boat to be launched onto England’s longest lake in 80 years when she made her maiden voyage on Windermere in October, but she has spent the last ten days on the slipway at Lakeside.

While on dry land, Swift’s hull was painted and she was inspected by engineers and a ship surveyor from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to look carefully at the underwater equipment and check it continues to function correctly.

Staff from the vessel’s shipbuilder Damen worked alongside the Windermere Lake Cruises team to co-ordinate the process known in the maritime world as ‘slipping’.

Operations Director at Windermere Lake Cruises, John Woodburn was part of the team who helped carefully ease Swift onto the slipway.

He says, “We had to wait for perfect weather conditions to put Swift on the slipway. That operation could only be carried out when the lake was like a mirror and the wind in a calm state. We did it in the early morning because that’s when the lake is at its calmest.

“This is a year of firsts for this magnificent vessel. It’s similar to purchasing a new car, as we need to check that all Swift’s equipment and systems are working properly and in essence, this was her very first service.

“It was a massive task to haul the 328-tonne vessel out of the water, but the whole crew did an amazing job. We are now delighted she’s back on the water again to re-join the full sailing fleet of 17 passenger vessels for her first full season on Windermere.”

Windermere Lake Cruises scheduled services can be pre-booked online, with pre-allocated seats to maintain social distancing.

Passengers can download the current timetable and find out more about all the Covid-safe measures on board at: www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk.

Self-drive boat hire is also available for households to independently explore the lake in electric motor boats, with allocated timeslots available to book online.