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Towards the new Kangaroo Island Ferry Service

For more than 30 years SeaLink has provided a safe, reliable, and customer-focused ferry service to and from Kangaroo Island for residents, businesses, and visitors.

In December 2021, the South Australian Government announced SeaLink was successful in a competitive tender and would continue to provide this critical transport link between Cape Jervis and Penneshaw as part of the new Kangaroo Island Ferry Service (KI Ferry Service).

This page will provide the latest information in relation to the commencement of the new KI Ferry Service, including:

  • SeaLink's two new, larger vehicle ferries
  • upgrades to the ferry terminals and boarding infrastructure at Cape Jervis and Penneshaw
  • Frequently Asked Questions, and more.

Stay up-to-date with the latest information from SeaLink regarding the commencement of the new KI Ferry Service contract by subscribing below.


Latest News

KIFS vessels construction update

After a recent visit to the shipyard (July 2023), we are proud to share with you the progress of the construction of the two new $57 million Kangaroo Island Ferry Service vessels.

Since the keels of the vessels were laid in December 2022, the construction team has grown to a team of more than 180. With the size of the workforce and the 7-day working week, construction is well on track.

As you can see from the photos, the structure of the hulls of both vessels are almost complete. With hulls being 95% fully welded and the plating of the bulbous bows advancing, the first sections of the aluminium superstructure are already being lifted onto the hulls.

  • The two new ferries are larger than the current vessels providing residents, freight carriers and visitors with a more comfortable passage.

    The new Kangaroo Island Ferry Service will also provide customers with more travel options, with increased daily departure times.

    • Peak season (September to April) - we will operate 22 departures or 11 trips each way, Monday to Friday, and on Saturday to Sunday we will run up to 18 departures per day, or 9 each way.
    • Off Peak season (May to August) - we will run 14 departures a day – or 7 each way – every day.
  • As well as providing greater vehicle capacity, the new vessels will also provide a smoother and more comfortable service for all passengers, including pets.

    The ferries will also offer improved amenities on board, including:

    • larger windows and multiple seating options,
    • modern café facilities,
    • disability lift access to all three decks,
    • indoor and outdoor viewing areas,
    • a dedicated pet travel lounge, and
    • improved disability access and DDA features.

    The below are artist’s impressions only. Final design will change.

  • The new design will also provide drive on and off in the same direction, enabling easier, faster and importantly safer vehicle and freight movements without the need to reverse large vehicles.

  • We are installing Tier 3 MAN main engines which lower emissions improving the sustainability performance of the vessels. The assembly of the vessels’ main engines and dyno testing have been successfully completed. The engines have been shipped from Germany to the shipyard.

    The two ferries are being built to Lloyds Register classification society standards. Lloyds are a leading international provider of classification and compliance services for the construction of new vessels, and they along with our team are inspecting and overseeing the ongoing quality of construction progress.

SeaLink will continue to provide updates on the vessel construction in the lead up to the commencement of the new ferry service. Remember to keep checking this webpage and subscribe to the SeaLink KI Ferry Service email updates.

New Kangaroo Island Ferry Service Contract – Frequently asked questions

SeaLink will be updating the FAQs below in the lead-up to the commencement of the KI Ferry Service. If you have a question please use the "Leave a message" button at the bottom right. We will collate the questions and add them below when the information is available.

  • As part of the new KI Ferry Service, SeaLink is building two new ferries.

    The new SeaLink ferries:

    • will be 60 metres in length and 20 metres wide (approximately 10m longer and 2m wider than the current vessels)
    • will provide approximately 150 metres more vehicle lane space than each of the current vessels
    • are identical in design allowing for freight and oversized vehicles to travel on either ferry
    • will provide a smoother ride and improved experience for passengers
    • will be drive through making the loading and unloading process safer, easier and faster for customers.

    The new SeaLink ferries will also provide customers with improved amenities on board, including:

    • modern café facilities
    • passenger lift access to all three public decks
    • indoor and outdoor viewing areas
    • dedicated pet travel area
    • device charging facilities
    • improved disability access and DDA features on each level.

    SeaLink's new ferries and the loading and unloading improvements will provide customers with more choice of departure times:

    Peak Season (September to April)

    • 22 departures per day (11 trips each way) Monday – Friday
    • 18 departures per day (9 each way) Saturday – Sunday

    Off Peak Season (May to August)

    • 14 departures per day (7 each way).

    Provided below are artist's impressions of the new SeaLink vessels. Please note: these are subject to change during the build process.

  • As part of the new contract, SeaLink is upgrading the ferry terminal check-in and loading infrastructure at both Cape Jervis and Penneshaw.

    The new SeaLink terminals will provide customers with:

    • faster vehicle check-in and loading facilities
    • improved foot passenger boarding facilities.

    More information regarding the terminal and check-in upgrades will be provided in the lead-up to the commencement date.

  • SeaLink’s two new ferries are currently scheduled to commence service in early 2025

  • The new vessels were designed by Sea Transport Solutions, an Australian business providing specialist marine design services globally.

    The vessels are being built offshore using components from local South Australian suppliers.

    South Australian suppliers will also continue to support the ongoing operation and maintenance of the vessels into the future.

  • Yes. The new SeaLink KI Ferry Service with the new ferries will operate more services, especially during peak periods.

    A new timetable will come into effect on the commencement of the new 2 new vessels, where SeaLink will operate:

    Peak Season (September to April)

    • 22 departures per day (11 trips each way) Monday – Friday
    • 18 departures per day (9 each way) Saturday – Sunday

    Off Peak Season (May to August)

    • 14 departures per day (7 each way).

    SeaLink will keep customers updated on any changes to the KI Ferry Service timetable in advance.

  • As the new KI Ferry Service will consist of two new larger vessels and portside infrastructure, the check-in and boarding process will change.

    The upgrades and changes will improve and speed up the customer check-in and boarding experience (e.g. ticket booth and boom gate allowing passengers to remain in their vehicle for the check-in and boarding process), including streamlined ticketing processes and other technology improvements.

    SeaLink will keep customers updated before any changes to these processes.

  • No. After boarding, drivers and passengers will be required to proceed to the passenger deck. Due to safety considerations, passengers must not stay in their vehicle during a ferry crossing.

  • The two new ferries will provide the ability to drive on and drive off without requiring vehicles to reverse or turn whilst loading or unloading. The vessel will complete any change in direction required to facilitate this process.

  • Yes. The new vessel will have a dedicated pet lounge on the main car deck level, meaning pets will not need to climb any stairs. The pet lounge will be outfitted with air conditioning, waste bags, hooks for securing your pet and a nearby freshwater tap designed to make travelling with your pet an easy, pleasant experience.

  • The Department for Infrastructure and Transport’s Kangaroo Island Ports Upgrade project is underway. Major works are expected to commence on site in early 2024 and the project is expected to be completed in early 2025 (weather permitting).

    Our current ferry services will be maintained throughout the port’s construction phase, in order to continue service access to and from KI for tourists and local residents.

    You can also stay up to date on the upgrade by visiting www.dit.sa.gov.au/KIPorts.

  • Yes. As necessary each year, we will schedule time during the quieter months to perform essential annual maintenance to each of our vessels – regular maintenance is a critical part of ensuring ongoing reliability. This includes critical maintenance and the annual AMSA survey that checks and verifies that the vessel is compliant with Australian Laws and Safety Standards

  • No. Once the two new ferries have commenced service, the two current ferries will be decommissioned and no longer be in service. The new Kangaroo Island Ferry Service will operate with specifically engineered infrastructure that is not suited to safely berth the existing ferries.

  • SeaLink will provide new information and updates on the progress and commencement of the new KI Ferry Service on this website. You should check this webpage and subscribe to the SeaLink KI Ferry Service email updates.

    For information on the Kangaroo Island Ports Upgrade click here

Sign up to the SeaLink KI Ferry Service email updates