The towing of Norfolk's last remaining vehicle ferry to a boat yard in Suffolk was supervised by a canine crew member.

Skipper - who sails on board the smack Excelsior - supervised the arrival of the Reedham Chain Ferry at the Excelsior Maritime Heritage Yard in Harbour Road, Lowestoft, on Thursday, January 11.

The 40-year-old ferry must undergo inspections and repairs every three years to maintain its operating licence.

Karol Petryka, the manager of the yard, said that shipwrights, hydraulic engineers and blacksmiths were getting the ferry "beautiful again".

Great Yarmouth Mercury: The Reedham chain ferry is being refit at the Excelsior boat yard in Lowestoft. The Reedham chain ferry is being refit at the Excelsior boat yard in Lowestoft. (Image: Excelsior Trust)

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The 36-year-old said the ferry was taken out of the water along a slipway on Friday and its hull was then pressure-washed over the weekend.

"Every number of years every boat has to come out to do repairs and inspections to make sure they're are nice and safe for the future," he said. 

David Archer, who owns the ferry, said: “Things are going to plan. The ferry is out of the water and on the slipway. It’s been pressure washed and I’ll visit it later this week to see what’s next.”

The maintenance work is expected to take approximately three weeks. 

Reedham Ferry provides the only road crossing of the River Yare between Great Yarmouth and Norwich, saving users a journey of more than 30 miles.

Trains are able to cross further downstream near the centre of Reedham.

The ferry closure will mean the nearest crossings for traffic will be the A47 at Postwick and the Breydon Bridge in Yarmouth.

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A crossing has existed in Reedham since the early 17th century.

It was initially hand-wound but it became motorised in 1950.

The current vessel was built in 1984. It can carry up to two vehicles on each crossing, as well as cyclists and pedestrians.

The Archer family took over the ferry in 1949 and three generations have operated the crossing.