As the paddle steamer Waimarie prepares for the 2017/18 summer season, the Waimarie Operating Trust took key partners on a familiarisation trip on Thursday, October 12.

Manager/trustee Ann Petherick said the 50 guests, including accommodation providers, tourism operators, business owners and media, were joined by about 20 trust members, staff crew and volunteers.

"The idea is to give everyone a feeling of what we do," Mrs Petherick said.

"We wanted to let them know about our special trips and charters, the history of the vessel for those who don't know about it and highlights on the route.


"There are quite a lot of accommodation providers who are new and weren't here last season and we also have quite a few new volunteers who are doing their first official sailing."

Skipper Don McGhee oversaw the first official sailing of new skipper Sam Mordey on Thursday's cruise.

The summer sailing season begins on October 21 when the regular two-hour cruises, starting at 11am, resume. Cruising on Friday, a 90-minute cruise with live music, runs on the second Friday of the month during summer, starting at 5.30pm.

The PS Waimarie can be hired for private charters and also has special themed cruises.