Sailing without a skipper with a bicycle ferry at Drachten

News | July 1, 2020

Would you like to take a smaller bike ride around Drachten? Soon it will be possible thanks to a bicycle ferry between De Wilgen and Opeinde. The ferry route around De Alde Feanen National Park gets an extension. The municipality of Smallingerland, together with the province of Fryslân and Innovatiecluster Drachten, is investigating whether this ferry can sail without or with limited deployment of a skipper. 

The idea of an autonomous bicycle ferry arose last year. Technasium students of CSG Liudger conducted a study into its development. They further developed the idea of a self-propelled bicycle ferry. An autonomous bicycle ferry fits the image of Drachten as a center of innovation and manufacturing industry. 


Whether it is actually possible to sail without or with limited deployment of a skipper must be determined by a feasibility study. Marinminds from Workum, which specializes in autonomous boating, is carrying out the study on behalf of the municipality of Smallingerland. The first results of this study are expected at the end of this year. 

Waterfront Drachten 

The bicycle ferry will become part of Waterfront Drachten and will connect the Gaastereiland near the Gaester Djip with Opeinde. The project is made possible in part by the province of Fryslân, @North, Marinminds and the high-tech companies of Innovatiecluster Drachten.