• Liam Carroll

7 Manly Ferry Tidbits to Ponder

1. Pragmatic, Transparent Leadership

The NSW State Government has a strong history of consulting widely with the community to outline clear, logical, bulletproof reasoning before hastily making any major decisions. Just ask amalgamated councils, Crown Casino developers, inner city hospitality entrepreneurs and the greyhound industry, they’ll all back me up.

2. Safe, Reliable, Purpose-Built

The Freshwater class Ferries are ocean-going vessels, built in Australia, able to cross the seven seas, and specifically designed for the Manly run, a treacherous and dangerous run on many an occasion. Their single hull design allows for safe dispersion of swell, able to cut through waves instead of glide on them, something anyone who’s crossed the heads when Mother Nature’s having a rough day knows all too well. It’s unclear how the new Emerald class Chinese built catamarans that “have strengthened hulls that will allow them to handle swells of up to 4.5 metres” will cope, particularly when the aquatic abyss between North and South Head is prone to swells far bigger than 4.5m which also rage close together with short periods. An inability to cut through waves, a reliance on riding on them, will make for one hell of a risky journey knowing that if a stray mountain of water hits your new Emerald Cat head on, you’re toast, strengthened hull or not. Everyone who’s ridden the Fast Ferry knows that sinking feeling when you hit swell head-on; the monster thud sends the fear of meeting your maker straight through you as your loins dance upside down on the ceiling and the Acker Dacker Thunderstruck shock careers through the vessel’s structure to the core. Can you imagine that in a Chinese Cat twice as big and half as manoeuvrable? I hope you like catching the bus from Manly to the big smoke because you’ll be riding it a lot more frequently when the safety experts deem the Emerald replacements a disaster in the making anytime the ocean flares up a tad.

3. Boat Engines Seize Up If You Don’t Use Them

The proposal to simply keep one Manly Ferry sitting in the docks, resting up nicely for use on weekends and summer holidays is like that mate we all have who thinks he can just flick the switch on his boat whenever he likes, and she’ll be right mate. Ah no, she won’t buddy. Juxtapose any antique tinny marching back and forth twice daily between Church Point and Scotland Island, dependable as death and taxes, with the silly Billy overpaid bonehead whose rare use of his marine craft is matched with perfect reciprocity to how often said craft needs expensive repairs and maintenance. The Manly Ferries either march back and forth all day every day like stoic ANZAC soldiers we love so dearly, or they die. To think one lone vessel running on weekends is a viable plan is utter lunacy. That one Ferry given a stay of execution will die in a flood of endless repairs and maintenance work in no time. You may as well just sink the lot of ‘em for dive sites now, Constance, you sage purveyor of transport wisdom.

4. You Can’t Rush Perfection

The iconic Freshwater class Ferries provide a half hour harbour crossing ‘experience’, a thousand carefree light years beyond serving as a mere means of commuting 7miles from A to B or CQ to MW, as the case may be. This journey is ranked in the Top 5 Ferry Trips on Earth for good reason, it’s spectacular, life-affirming, and a proven drawcard to millions upon millions of happy ocean crossers. The classic double-ended, green and gold, ocean-going beauties are unlike any other ferry on the harbour or in the world. To set in motion a poorly thought out plan that will all but kill these icons is an ophthalmic lesson in frightful myopia that 2020 should never be affiliated with.

5. It’s about the Economy, Jobs ‘n’ Growth

The NSW Government has not provided any business case to back their Ferry Burial decision while the Northern Beaches Council estimates the tourist economy is worth over $500M a year to Manly and the Northern Beaches with 12% of Northern Beaches local jobs dependent on tourists. If the classic Ferries go, will we still see the same mammoth numbers of tourists coming here? Doubtful, seeing as 98% of visitors travelling to Manly by ferry choose the classic Large Ferry. Over 2.8 million people travelled to Manly by ferry in 2019, the busiest route in Sydney, with one million of those being international tourists. If you own a local business, employ local people, would you risk turning away 2.8 million customers a year?

6. The Grace and Efficiency of Double -Enders

The Freshwater class Ferries are big, able to carry 1,100 passengers, providing gangways for huge swathes of people to hop on and off in a way the Fast Ferries and the Emerald Cats can only dream of. The Government logic appears to be the Emerald Cats will be faster, a 20minute journey instead of 30, and more frequent, 300 more services each week, thereby overcoming the disparity of their 400 passenger capacity versus Manly Ferry’s 1,100. But how many back-and-forth, high-frequency boats can a Quay handle? Do we really want more ferries doing U-Turns to get in and out of a tight loch? The wonder of Manly Ferries is not only their single-hull design to cut through pounding swells, but their double-ended grace to pull in, drop off, pick up, pull out, saving time, saving hassle. Supreme efficiency. Impeccable design. Worth holding on to.

7. History and Respect for Your Elders

On Saturday July 28, 1906, The Manly Daily’s founding founder, Edward Lincoln, unveiled the first ever Manly Daily publication, subtitled ‘A Present from Manly’, with his distribution, as stated in the first ever Manly Daily, “delivered by boys to adult passengers on the Manly Steamers before the boats leave the Sydney wharf for Manly, so that visitors have a comfortable opportunity on the passage of seeing what is ahead of them in the most favourite, favoured, and frequented watering place in the Southern Hemisphere.” Do Edward Lincoln proud. Rupert’s already cocked up his Manly Daily. We can’t let Constance cock up Ed’s beloved Manly Steamer aka Ferry.

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