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Dover: Lock and Key of the Kingdom

Jetfoils and Seacats


In 1981 the Royal Belgian Marine (RMT) introduced two  jetfoils, the 'Prinses Clementine' and the 'Prinses Stephanie',  on the Dover to Ostend service.  The Boeing jetfoils reduced  the crossing time between England and Belgium to 100  minutes, as opposed to about four hours by ship.  In 1993 the  jetfoils left Dover and started operating from Ramsgate to  Ostend and were finally withdrawn in 1997.  


Hoverspeed started operating fast catamarans, known as  seacats from Dover in July 1991. The craft initially operated  from the Eastern Docks until June 1993, when a special berth  was constructed for them alongside the Prince of Wales Pier at  the Hoverport.  In late 1993 the Dover based seacats were withdrawn and  transferred to the Folkestone - Boulogne route but returned to  the Dover to Calais service the following summer. In March  1998 seacat services between Dover and Ostend were  introduced. In October 2000 Hoverspeed withdrew its ageing hovercraft,  replacing them on the Dover to Calais route with seacats.  The  hoverport terminal building remained in use for seacat  passengers. In late 2002 Hoverspeed announced that the summer only  service to Ostend would not be reintroduced for the Summer  2003 timetables. The Dover to Calais route closed on 7  November 2005, the Seacat ‘Diamant’ operating the last  crossing.
Jefoil 'Prinses Stephanie'. Seacat 'France' moored alongside the Pince of Wales Pier. Seacat 'France' at sea. Back to Ferries and Shipping Index