SMS refit for Red Funnel car ferry

SMS has started refit work on a major Solent car ferry in the port of Southampton.

Isle of Wight ferry operator Red Funnel is investing £3m on a major refurbishment of its ro-pax ferry Red Eagle in a project similar to the new look given to their Red Falcon and Red Osprey in 2014 and 2015.

Two lounge modules destined for Southampton leave Cowes where they were fabricated by Wight Shipyard Co.

The contract was awarded to SMS with interior fitout by Trimline and aluminium fabrication work contracted to Wight Shipyard Co in East Cowes.  The lounge modules presented a unusual sight on 31 January as they crossed the Solent from the Isle of Wight to Southampton on Williams Shipping barges.

Work on Red Eagle will be completed in time for the summer timetable which starts on 29 March. The project will see a significant increase in the number of internal seats for customers and involves a complete refit of B Deck including a state-of-the-art galley and new toilets. On A Deck, there will be a dedicated pet’s lounge and a purpose built Signature Lounge offering a premium club experience for discerning travellers.

Modern seating styles and tables, subtle colours and clever LED lighting will create spaces which are perfect for socialising, working or

just relaxing. High-capacity Wi-Fi, USB charging points, air conditioning and digital entertainment are just a few of the features available to everyone on board. Outdoor space to soak up the sun will be available on A and AA Decks.

The refit of Red Eagle comes at a particularly good time for SMS as it begins 2018 in a period of expansion with the recent acquisition of drydock and marine workshops at Lowestoft.

“Our expansion with Lowestoft coupled with the addition of marine workshops in Poole, Avonmouth, Portsmouth, Devonport and Dover to our facilities at Southampton and the drydock at Shoreham means SMS is now the largest independent ship repair business in the UK,” explains Chris Norman, Managing Director of SMS.

“It is therefore particularly pleasing to manage the refurbishment of the Red Eagle and a pleasure to work with the Red Funnel team.”

The refurbishment of Red Eagle, coupled with the Wight Shipyard Co order for fast ferry Red Jet 7, already amounts to an investment of over £10m in Red Funnel’s cross Solent services.

Kevin George, Red Funnel’s CEO commented “The refit of Red Eagle will bring the interior right up-to-date with a contemporary new look and a class-leading travel experience for customers which matches the best in the UK ferry industry. We are particularly pleased to award the work to local suppliers, supporting jobs in both Southampton and in East Cowes on the Island.”

For more information about the transformation of Red Eagle please visit

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client testimonials

You should be very proud of all that you do, it is wonderful.
Classic Yacht Owner
Many thanks for your rapid work today; we are back in action again
Chief Engineer, Solent Ship Operator
Please pass on my thanks and also the thanks from my Chief Executive and Operations Director, the support of the SMS team is very much appreciated
Head of Engineering, Solent Ferry Operator
Many thanks for your teams hard graft, the work was completed and as always I am extremely happy with the quality
Colour Sergeant, Royal Marines HM Naval Base Devonport
Thank the welders, the work that they produced was to the highest standard and were great to work with
Project Manager, UK Shipyard
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