Travelling via ferry is an easy and affordable option if you’re taking your motorbike on holiday, and with Discover Ferries’ 12 members offering over 80 routes there are numerous destinations you can visit.
Nick Broomhall, Communications Manager for the Motorcycle Industry Association said, “A motorcycle is one of the best ways to travel, whether you are planning a trans-Sahara expedition or something more modest, as nothing else gets you so close to the sights, sounds and smells of the world around you.
|“We are fortunate in the UK to have a selection of tremendous roads, sights and food just a short ferry trip away, so there is something for any rider on almost any bike.”||Discover Ferries has partnered with the Motorcycle Industry Association to create the following useful guide for taking your motorbike on holiday via ferry. The guide can also be viewed online on the Discover Ferries website: www.discoverferries.com/take-motorbike-holiday-via-ferry/|
Before You Travel
· Holidaying with a motorbike is easy. Most ferries accept motorbike bookings as standard, through the same procedure as booking transport for a car or lorry. Simply specify the type of vehicle whilst booking, input the model and registration number, and check-in as normal.
· It is recommended by all operators that you buy your ticket as early as possible to ensure there is space available.
· Test the anchor points you will be using to secure your bike in the vehicle hold, so there is no risk of them becoming disconnected.
· If you’re holidaying abroad, you will be subject to the traffic laws of the country you are travelling in, so do your homework before you leave and make sure you know what to expect.
· Also before you depart, make sure your bike is in good shape and that it complies with the regulations for the country you are travelling to.
· Pack a basic toolkit and first aid kit for any nasty surprises.
· Plan your route, or at least have an idea of where you’d like to go, so you don’t try and do too many miles in a day and allow for any unexpected delays.
· If you’re travelling abroad, it’s a good idea to purchase an International Driving Permit from the Post Office or the AA, which will show your entitlements in a number of languages. European Breakdown Cover and repatriation for your motorcycle is certainly worth considering too.
Check-in & boarding
· When boarding, watch out for slippery surfaces, especially on the ramps connecting the pier to the boat, and brake gently to avoid accidents.
· Vehicles are boarded according to size and type, so be patient during the process, as you may find other vehicles moving ahead of you to ensure all can fit.
· Once on board, you need to secure your bike. Doing so is simple. All ferry lines will provide you with straps to use during check-in, though you are free to bring your own: just place your bike in first gear, park it with the side stand, switch off the alarm and lash your bike to the secure points provided. The crew will check all vehicles are secure before the ship departs, and will be on–hand to provide support and assistance, so there is no need to worry about your pride and joy. Some ferry providers even secure your bike for you, especially on high-speed lines.
· Don’t forget to keep your passport and tickets easily accessible when you check-in, as having to dig them out from the bottom of your tank bag causes unnecessary delays.
· Remember to carry a change of clothes and anything else you may require up to the cabin for use when on board to make the journey more comfortable, as you won’t be able to access your bike during the journey.
On the road
· If you are unfamiliar with riding on the “wrong” side of the road, put a sticker on your bike to remind you. Pay particular attention when leaving petrol stations, as your instinct could get you into trouble.
· Remember that speed limits are not only different abroad but they will be shown in kph, so you will need to focus on the smaller print on your speedo unless it is electronic and can be switched across to kph.
· Note that European riders acknowledge each other with their right hand held out at knee height. Get ready to do the same!
· If riding on the continent, think right, look left!