With the relaxation of some of the Covid restrictions we have been able to plan trips on Solar Heritage from 22 May 2021.
Our May timetable is available for booking now!!
There will be a reduced number of passengers on each trip and other Covid prevention measures in place to help protect our patrons.
Check the timetable here.
Discover Chichester Harbour, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, on Solar Heritage, our solar powered catamaran:
- slip through the waters of beautiful Chichester Harbour on our virtually silent boat
- get up close to many of the birds and habitats that make this place so special - with an expert on board - Bird Watching (to be scheduled later) and Seal Safari trips
- learn about the Harbour from our on-board experts
- charter the boat for a private trip for a celebration or group outing— contact the office on: 01243 513275 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Please book in advance online here.
Bookings close three hours before the sailing, but some tickets may be available to buy on the boat on the day depending on bookings. Please note cash and cheques only accepted on the boat.
A child is up to 16 years of age (children under 2 years are free of charge but need to be booked on as numbers are limited and we must account for all passengers). Folding pushchairs can accommodated.
Friends of Chichester Harbour members get a discount of £1 per ticket - please phone the office to book.
Trips from Itchenor:
- Harbour Discovery: Adult: £10, child £5 (duration 1½ hours)
- Bird Watching: Adult: £13, child: £5 (duration up to 2 hours depending on weather conditions)
- Seal Safari: Adult: £18, child: £7 (duration 3 hours)
Trips from Emsworth (summer season):
- Harbour Discovery: Adult: £10, child £5 (duration 1 hour)
If the trip is cancelled and you have booked you will receive a phone call or email notification and a full refund. For the live timetable please check here.
If you are unable to go on your trip you may be able to transfer to another date. Please phone the office on 01243 513275 during office hours.
Itchenor - Leave the A27 at the Stockbridge roundabout, taking the A286 towards the Witterings, then follow signs to Itchenor. Meet on the viewing platform in front of the Harbour Office at the end of the road, West Itchenor, 15 minutes before departure time. Parking is available in the pay and display car park signposted just before the Ship Inn. The boat will depart from the public jetty. Download a map and directions here.
Emsworth (summer season only) - Meet on the sea wall at the top of the public jetty from where Solar Heritage departs 15 minutes before departure time. Please wait until you collected by the crew. There are pay and display car parks in South Street and North Street and free parking in Bridge Road car park. Download and map and directions here.
Solar Heritage is open sided so dress for the weather conditions. It is always cooler on the water, even on sunny days, so it's a good idea to bring an extra layer.
Unfortunately we are unable to offer refreshments at this time. . You are most welcome to bring your own refreshments - please use environmentally friendly cups and containers.
No dogs please, except guide dogs.
Solar Heritage has a passenger lift for those requiring assistance to access the boat. The deck is level and spacious. Please select the appropriate ticket when booking so that the skipper can bring the correct side of the boat up to the jetty.
Why not bring your club, community group or group of friends for a unique trip aboard Solar Heritage. The boat can be booked by groups with trips arranged to suit your particular interest. An experienced guide will be on board to help you learn more about this special area. Trips can be booked from either Itchenor or Emsworth depending on where the boat is currently stationed.
Please contact the office for the number of passengers allowed on your desired booking date.
From Itchenor the charge is £275 for a 1.5 hour trip. This is payable in advance.
From Emsworth the charge is £275 for a 1 hour trip. This is payable in advance. It is worth noting there are very few private trips available from Emsworth due to the limitations of tide, and the busy public schedule.
To discuss your requirements please call the Solar Heritage booking line on 01243 513275.
A trip can either be booked on its own or as part of a day spent in the Harbour with the Harbour Education Service. An experienced teacher will be on board and the focus of the trip will be planned in advance to make sure the students get the most from the visit. The boat and crew have been fully certified by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to ensure that we are providing the highest level of safety whilst on board. Please contact the Harbour Education Service who will be pleased to provide more information.
The Get Afloat! Fund helps disadvantaged children and adults to Get Afloat in Chichester Harbour on Solar Heritage by providing free trips for schools and groups. If you think your group could benefit from the Fund please contact the Education Team. If you are interested in donating to the Fund please contact the Harbour Office.
Principal sponsor: Friends of Chichester Harbour
Solar Heritage is an Aquabus C60, a pollution-free, solar-powered catamaran that can reach 11 knots while transporting 60 people. However in Chichester Harbour we are licensed to carry a maximum of 50 passengers and speed is restricted to 8 knots.
Solar Heritage began life as one of three solar powered ferries operating out of Neuchatel in Switzerland's Three Lakes Region (Les Trois Lacs), the area that hosted the Swiss 2002 National Exposition devoted to Nature and Technology. The three ferries carried people to and from one of the exhibitions in mid lake, on a continuous basis for six months between May and October 2002. The exhibition hosting the Solar ferries was devoted to Alternative Energy, and part of the reason for obtaining a solar powered boat by Chichester Harbour Conservancy was to heighten local awareness and interest in these matters.
The vessel has two sources of energy – electromagnetic energy from the sun and conventional energy from the National Grid. Questions are asked regarding operation in cloudy conditions. MW Lines have tested their vessel at night and have found it will even pick up an electric charge from moonlight! MW Lines, the Swiss manufacturer, specialise in designing solar powered vessels and vehicles, used in different countries round Europe. The vessel is driven by two electric motors, one in each hull. Both have their own independent propeller and rudder linked to the same steering in the wheelhouse.
Solar Heritage arrived in Itchenor in May 2004, after a 24 hour drive across Europe on three articulated lorries. On arrival she was reconstructed at Northshore Ltd by her Swiss engineers, brought over especially for the occasion.
The benefits of using an electrically driven solar powered catamaran as opposed to more conventional fuel driven vessels are:
- Silent running therefore no disturbance to birds, animals or humans
- No exhaust emissions therefore no CO 2 contribution to greenhouse gases
- No wash as a result of the twin hull configuration therefore reduced salt marsh and estuary bank erosion.