About Rathlin Island Ferry
We have 2 ferries operating between Rathlin Island and Ballycastle. These waters are known as the Rathlin Sound or the Sea of Moyle and many vessels of all shapes and sizes frequent them. Both Ballycastle Harbour and Rathlin Island Harbour are busy ports, especially in summer months and we often see cruise liners, yachts, tall ships, sail boats, fishing boats, kayaks and even reproduced viking ships. RIFL’S vessels are:
Rathlin Express (RE)
The Rathlin Express (RE) is a 30T, passenger only ferry designed by Marine Design International and constructed by Arklow Marine Services and can carry 97 passengers during summer months and 38 passengers during winter months. The vessel is an EC Class B passenger ship and was completed and entered into service in 2009 costing £1million. It has an overall length of 17.72 m, depth of 2.22 m and its maximum speed is 20 knts which means it can complete its journey from or to Rathlin Island in just 25 minutes.
In summer months there is uncovered seating on the upper deck and covered with side opening and indoor seating on the lower deck. The RE has one toilet on the lower deck with disabled access and there are no toilet facilities on the upper deck. There are no drink or snack facilities but you are welcome to bring your own and consume onboard. There are timetables, Rathlin Walks brochures and convenience bags on the lower level.
There is no capacity for large items and restricted space for luggage, bicycles, prams and wheelchairs. You are advised to inform Booking Clerk of these when booking ferry travel. The RE departs from Ballycastle from the pontoon on the pier and departs from Rathlin from Pier 1. Boarding the RE in Ballycastle is from Gate 2 and in Rathlin is from the pontoon at Pier 1. Boarding will commence when crew advises.
Spirit of Rathlin (SOR)
The Spirit of Rathlin (SOR) is a 105T cargo and passenger ferry constructed by Arklow Marine Services and can carry 140 passengers during summer months and 40 passengers during winter months. The vessel is an EU Class C passenger and vehicle ferry and was completed and entered into service in 2017 costing around £2.8million. It has an overall length of 27.3 m, depth of 2.65 m and its maximum speed is 9.5knts meaning it can complete a single trip from or to Rathlin Island in just 40 minutes.
The SOR has three toilets on the lower deck, one of which has disabled access. There is one toilet on the middle deck and there are no toilet facilities on the upper deck. There is a water fountain located in the lower deck passenger saloon and there are no snack facilities but you are welcome to bring your own and consume onboard. There are timetables, Rathlin Walks brochures and convenience bags on the lower deck.
In summer months there is uncovered seating on the upper deck, covered with side opening seating on the middle deck and on the lower deck is the saloon with heating, comfortable seating and television. In winter months the upper decks are closed to passengers. You are not permitted on the cargo deck of the ferry during any sailing and vehicle passengers must exit the vehicle during the crossing. There is capacity for vehicles but restrictions apply. See how can I book my vehicle on the ferry?
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Meet Our Team
We have a small team of 22 dedicated and enthusiastic staff, some originating from Rathlin Island and some from Ballycastle, Belfast, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Each role in the company is essential to the smooth and safe running of the service and everyone works together to make sure that we provide an enjoyable experience to anyone who travels with us.
We continually maintain and improve our skills and training and all of our team are certified where required. We have completed first aid training, dementia friendly training and welcome host training and we are in the process of completing some language skills which we feel will help us improve our service and the experience for international visitors.