May Queen, the iconic St Mawes summer ferry that has plied the waters between Falmouth and St Mawes for the past 40 years is up for sale along with the Trelissick ferry Kingsley II as market forces dictate a change of direction for the owners Cornwall Ferries Ltd.

General manager of the ferry company, Caroline Harvey, said: “Cornwall Ferries Ltd, which operates Enterprise Boats, St Mawes Ferry and the Place Ferry, is withdrawing several services in the 2020 season as a result of market changes.

"This will result in the retirement and sale of two vessels and a number of job losses to adapt to the new circumstances.”

The Kingsley II, which introduced the green hybrid engine ‘silent running’ service this year running between St Mawes and Trelissick, is also in jeopardy as the research programme which supported this highly innovative green vessel operating on the River Fal has now come to an end.

Green transport solutions, which use the river to convey visitors to destinations on the River Fal, receive no public funding and must therefore operate at break even or a profit.

Caroline said: “There is currently not enough support for the continuance of the service.

"The new and successful project supported four jobs in 2019 during its testing phase. The project has given us a valuable insight in to hybrid technology, we hope to utilise this knowledge in the future.”

The May Queen, whose 80th birthday and 40th anniversary of operating between Custom House quay and St Mawes was celebrated this year, is being retired from the present fleet and sold.

Caroline said: “We are reviewing the size and scale of our fleet in the light of the changes announced here. So, we are looking for new owners for this historic vessel.

"To ensure the long-term future and prosperity of boat trips and ferry services on the River Fal, it has been necessary to ensure the company is on a sustainable footing.”

Cornwall Ferries will continue next year, employing up to 40 local skippers, crew, shipwrights and staff.

The company said: “We are proud custodians of some of the very historic routes on the river and we take it as our duty to keep these routes running on a firm footing for many years to come.”

Ferries have provided an important service for the port for more than 100 years, with the Prince of Wales Pier being a terminus. The river links are a major tourist attraction geared up to the local economy in many ways.

Caroline said: “Locals can help support these great traditional Cornish services by recommending a trip on the River Fal to visitors and using the discount Mussel Card Local and Mussel Card Visitor to get out on the water with friends and family."

The St Mawes Ferry runs all year round from Prince of Wales Pier in Falmouth and is one of the great winter sea experiences in Cornwall for the visitor and local families alike.

See for timetables and ticket offers.