‘It’s great for motorists’
511 service provides public with up to date travel information
The captain in charge of the provincial cable ferries in Little Narrows and Englishtown in Victoria County would like to see more people take advantage of 511 Nova Scotia as a way to keep up to date on ferry service and road conditions.
The service is free and can be accessed by calling 511 or going online.
“It is particularly convenient with respect to the ferry service in Little Narrows,” said William Horton. “In the event the ferry has to be taken out of service, we have to physically put up the signs and that probably takes about 45 minutes. But the notification is on 511 within five minutes of going out of service, it goes on as soon as I’m notified.”
Horton said even when signs are posted, there are so many signs along the highways that people often don’t pay attention and arrive at the dock only to find that the ferry is out of service.
Flashing lights at Barrachois, South Haven and Englishtown notify motorists when the Torquil MacLean cable ferry, which travels between Englishtown and Jersey Cove, isn’t in operation.
Horton said as the captain in charge, if he knows ahead of time that a ferry is going to be out of service for repairs, he posts a 24-hour notice on 511.
“The notification will also provide information on the estimated length of the shutdown,” he said. “It’s great for motorists and also for people living in local communities so they can plan. The information on the ferries is listed at the bottom of the 511 report on road conditions.”
Along with Little Narrows and Englishtown, the province operates cable ferries in LaHave in Lunenburg County and Country Harbour in Guysborough County.
With the first day of spring less than seven weeks away, Horton is hoping for clear sailing for the remainder of the winter.
“We’ve had a little down time, but overall we’ve had a pretty good winter so far,” he said. “Between now and April we will have some additional down time, I have no doubt of that. But, if it is similar to last year I would be pleased. I never commit to predictions when it comes to drift ice in March and April, but we’ll have to see how it goes.”
The ferry at Little Narrows is scheduled for a major refit in early spring. It will be replaced by the Scotian, which is presently in dry dock in Port Hawkesbury.
“It’s been quite a while since that vessel (Caolas S’ilis) has been to a shipyard so everything will be checked.”
The crew on board the Caolas S’ilis in Little Narrows, one of two provincial cable ferries that operate in Victoria County, waits for traffic Wednesday before crossing St. Patrick’s Channel.