Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2021

8 6 INTERV IEW Testing times Sandra Speares asks Abby Penlington about her new role as leader of Discover Ferries and how she is working with ferry operators and other partners to promote safe ferry travel D iscover Ferries is an industry body representing 13 ferry operators in the UK, Ireland and the British islands, operating more than 80 routes both internationally and domestically. The organisation’s role is to promote the comfort, ease and value of ferry travel and ferry holidays to British consumers. It also acts as the voice of the industry and champions best practices, such as sustainability and accessibility, and leads passenger information campaigns. Abby Penlington took over as director of Discover Ferries in September 2020 in what has been one of the most challenging periods for passenger shipping in modern history. Although she is only a few months into her new role, Penlington has already set key goals to achieve during her tenure. “I started in the role of director after two years as head of marketing at Discover Ferries,” she says. “My immediate priority is to position ferry travel as the safe and enjoyable way to start your holiday or visit friends and relatives, once restrictions are eased and we emerge from the pandemic. My long-term priority is to make ferries an integral part of the sustainable travel conversation as new and more efficient vessels are added to fleets and the industry continues to innovate with greener technologies.” Penlington’s first challenge was to help Discover Ferries’ members navigate their way through the complexities of the Covid-19 pandemic. “Ferries continued to operate throughout the pandemic, ensuring the supply of essential goods, the movement of key workers and providing lifeline services for island communities,” she says. “Operators implemented stringent Covid-19 procedures early on to ensure passenger and crew safety, such as staggered boarding and disembarkation, reduced capacity and increased hygiene measures. Photo: Red Funnel