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Hovertravel Sandown press copyPlans to operate a direct Hovercraft service between the mainland and Sandown Bay, bringing vital tourists into the seaside town, have been scuppered by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

As revealed by Island Echo back in February, cross-Solent travel operator Hovertravel were looking to expand their service to customers by operating a new crossing to and from Sandown from as early as Summer this year. The new operation, which would travel past Bembridge and Culver Down, would have allowed holidaymakers and locals alike to travel directly to and from The Bay two days a week, with two crossings each day.

Despite massive support from locals, the Community Partnership and Sandown Business Association, the exciting plans have been cancelled after the MCA deemed that improvements would have to be made to Hovertravel’s safety equipment, something the company say they are unwilling to do due to the financial implications.

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Due to the Sandown landing site being situated on the English Channel, which has a more rigorous set of health and safety regulations, the level of emergency equipment required to be carried on board would have to be increased and as a result, the increased cost of having to buy new and more specialised equipment has made the Sandown proposal unviable.

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