Island hopping is set to become easier between the islands near Helsinki. You can request a new type of electric boat to take you from anywhere to anywhere along the boat’s route.
The electric Callboats boat, which can be called through an application, will start operating in Helsinki from 24 June 2021 onwards. This catamaran-type boat can take you from several piers in the Merisatama marina area to the islands of Harakka, Uunisaari, Sirpalesaari and Liuskasaari.
The operation of the boat is a pilot project that will continue until the end of August. This is the second summer that an electric connection boat is being piloted in water transport in Helsinki. The boat operating this summer is larger than the previous one, accommodating 12 passengers. The boat’s route is also new and more extensive. Last summer, an electric boat operated between Vartiosaari and Laajasalo. The operation of this route will also be continued this summer by a different company.
Nearby islands within everyone’s reach
“This is an easy way to enjoy the islands off the coast of Helsinki. The route forms what is called a multi-pick-up area, where you can request a ride between piers of your choice along the route. The boat picks up customers travelling in the same direction within the timeframe agreed upon. This corresponds to a taxi boat service but at the price of a water bus,” says Managing Director of Callboats Peter Ostberg.
The other parties involved in the pilot besides Callboats (Mente Marine Oy) include Forum Virium Helsinki, Aava Lines Oy, the City of Helsinki and Helen Ltd. Forum Virium Helsinki and the City of Helsinki have made it possible to bring the pilot project to Merisatama marina, which they intend to develop into a pilot area for new types of water transport services. Aava Lines is responsible for operating the boat. Helen is providing green electricity for charging the boat during the pilot project.
Other water transport services provided in the area of Merisatama marina will continue as normal during the pilot.
Electrification of water transport
The electric boat pilot at Merisatama will bring water transport in Helsinki a step closer to electrification. The use of emission-free electric modes of transport supports the City’s carbon neutrality target, which is set for 2035.
“The City wants to contribute to the transition to electric water transport. Based on these types of pilots, experiences and information can be shared with water transport operators for consideration in future equipment decisions. Travel on a modern electric boat is an experience in itself – this is reason enough to request a boat this summer to take you to Uunisaari, for example,” says Water Transport Ombudsman Tapio Rossi from the City of Helsinki.
“Helen is an active operator and a forerunner in electric transport. It is wonderful to be involved in the project as an energy partner while simultaneously supporting the City of Helsinki’s Maritime Strategy,” says Senior Vice President Sari Mannonen, who is in charge of solutions business and portfolio development at Helen.
Lessons learned for the future
For its part, the Merisatama pilot project supports the City of Helsinki’s Maritime Strategy, which aims to improve the archipelago’s accessibility and develop services.
“We want to develop water transport in Helsinki, making it more customer-friendly. The aim is to find solutions for allowing customers to move about the archipelago more flexibly, in the manner and at a time suitable for each customer. There is still a need for traditional water transport tied to a schedule, but an on-demand boat service can be used to either supplement existing liner traffic or, in some cases, complete replace traditional liner traffic. The Merisatama pilot project will provide important information for the planning of water transport,” Rossi says.
The Callboats application can be downloaded from Google Play or App Store. You can pay for the trip through the application. The price of a trip comprises a base fee of €2.50 plus a fee formed based on the kilometres travelled (€1.20/km, short trips are subject to an additional fee of €0.20). Passengers aged 7 to 17 can travel at half price and passengers younger than 7 can travel for free.
You can also pay for the trip with debit and credit cards on board the boat, in which case a small service fee is added to the price. Callboats reserves the right to change service hours and take the boat out of operation temporarily for any servicing necessary. Information on any changes and other matters related to the service are always provided through the Callboats application. For further information, see the Callboats website.
Callboats (Mente-Marine Oy)
tel. +358 (0)500 861737
Water Transport Ombudsman
City of Helsinki
tel. +358 (0)40 334 1072
tel. +358 (0)40 577 2430
Forum Virium Helsinki
tel. +358 (0)40 664 8877