PLANNED maintenance is set to keep the Sandbanks Ferry out of action for four weeks starting from Monday.

Ahead of undergoing a major refit, the last service will be on Sunday, October 30, before the vessel is towed to Falmouth on Monday, October 31, for a period of four weeks.

Operators have previously said they hope the service will be back by early December and an exact date will be released nearer to then.

Every two years, the chain ferry undergoes a refit, alternating between major and minor refits.

Jason du Toit, the ferry’s managing director, said: “As with everything, the better we care for the ferry, the fewer disruptions to service we will have. I understand that during this time there may be an inconvenience and for that I apologise. However, refits are a time for us to ensure the vessel is safe and ready to carry passengers for the next few years.”

Bournemouth Echo: Sandbanks Ferry to close for maintenance workSandbanks Ferry to close for maintenance work

The maintenance work also spells service changes for Morebus, which has altered its Purbeck Breezer route for the duration of the closure.

A Morebus spokesperson said: “Due to the closure of Sandbanks Ferry from the 31st October for five weeks, the Purbeck Breezer route and timetable will be changed during this time period.

“While this work is being carried out, we are splitting our Purbeck Breezer 50 into two separate routes. Routes X50 and 51.

“Route X50 will run two hourly through Studland, Swanage and Poole for connections to Sandbanks on route 60. It will run non-stop between Swanage & Poole, then non-stop to Westbourne then serving all stops to Bournemouth Square. It will do the same coming back.

Bournemouth Echo: Diversions for B3351 Studland Road amid water works and Sandbanks Ferry closureDiversions for B3351 Studland Road amid water works and Sandbanks Ferry closure (Image: Newsquest)

“There will be no service between Studland, Heath Green Road and Shell Bay Ferry offices or between Bournemouth Square and Bournemouth Rail Station during the ferry closure.

“Customers wishing to travel between Bournemouth Square and Bournemouth Rail Station will need to connect at Bournemouth Square with an m1, 4, 5, 5a, 6, 6a, 13 or 17.

“Route 51, from Bournemouth to Sandbanks, will run hourly.”

The work on Sandbanks Ferry also falls in conjunction with the major £500k water main replacement project, which will see sections of the B3351 near Corfe Castle closed for five weeks.