County link foot ferry saved by Austrian businessman

Former owner Alan Sage on the Essex/Suffolk foot ferry

Former owner Alan Sage on the Essex/Suffolk foot ferry

An under-threat foot ferry that has linked Suffolk to Essex for over a century has been saved.

The deal was finalised on Monday and from Good Friday the vessel will be run by Suffolk-based entrepreneur, Christian Zemann.

Mr Zemann, who currently runs Austrian Wine & Spirits, said: “I have a passion for boats and thought it was a good opportunity to buy a business.”

The 33-year-old has previously run enterprises in Germany and Vienna and he now lives in Kettleburgh, near Framlingham, with his wife and two-year-old son.

He will sail the boat for the first time from Harwich to Shotley on April 3 with the company of former owner, Alan Sage, who will show him the ropes for the first two days.

The Austria-born tycoon said it was too soon to make future plans, but one day he hoped to buy another ferry to add to the business.

Almost 15,000 people use the ferry, which can carry 12 passengers, every year to travel from Harwich, Felixstowe and the Shotley Peninsula.

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Mr Zemann was a kite surfing instructor for a number for years and he said it was at that point that his love for boats started.

The timetable and prices of the ferry will stay the same until the end of the season, at which point Mr Zemann said he will make a decision about changes.

With one sailor already recruited, the new owner is still looking for a captain and crew members to join him on board.

For information call 07919 911440.