Public dolphin spotting boat trips on the River Tay will not return until next year, Dundee’s main provider has said.
Taymara will not operate its popular service from Broughty Ferry and Tayport this year as lockdown restrictions have been lifted too late in the season, which usually runs until mid September.
David Kett, the organisation’s development officer, said there was not sufficient time before the end of the season to build up a diary with enough bookings to make it financially viable.
He said: “We would have to work up our entire booking system again in effectively only one-and-a-half to two months and it’s not enough time to get it going.
“The dolphins disappear around mid September and it gets cold so we can’t go out much later that that – we’ve lost the whole season.
“It’s a blow because the public trips finance the projects we do for children and young adults with severe chronic illnesses or disabilities so our main consideration is to keep those going.”
The organisation runs free educational and therapeutic boat trips for youngsters aged five to 18 with serious illnesses or additional needs and offers various community projects for these people.
While boat trips have been suspended during lockdown, Taymara has been able to offer online connections and learning experiences for its clients.
However, despite the organisation’s five boats being docked, they still cost an estimated £20,000-£40,000 per year to maintain, and one of its boats, Missel Thrush, will shortly be shored for £30,000 of repairs.
David said: “We’re not completely dependant on public trips because we’ve had a lot of generosity from trusts so there’s the money there to tide us over to next year.
“But losing them is a big slice of our income – next year might be a bit tight.”
The organisation plans to restart its boat trips for those with additional needs next month and is currently adapting the boats to confirm with newly introduced requirements, such as plastic screens, masks and visors.