WINDERMERE’S newest vessel is ship shape and ready for passengers once again following routine safety checks.

Windermere Lake Cruises has undertaken a complex operation to return MV ‘Swift’ back to the water after she spent ten days on the slipway at Lakeside for a boat ‘MoT’.

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

The 328-tonne boat became the biggest to be launched onto England’s longest lake in 80 years when she made her maiden voyage on Windermere in October.

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’, which can be likened to a car’s service and MOT.

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

“We had to wait for perfect weather conditions to put MV Swift on the slipway,” he said.

“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.”