The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has confirmed provisional bookings for sailings to the 2017 TT will open on Monday, 30th May, at 8.30am.

Provisional bookings, which are held with a deposit, can be made by visiting or calling 08722 992 992* (UK) or 0044 8722 992 992* (ROI & Outside UK) from 8.30am on that day.

The deposit for foot passengers has been held at £10, and the deposit for vehicles remains at £50. Confirmations of sailings and fares will be sent out towards the end of the year, with final balance payments due during February 2017. Any provisional bookings which are not paid in full will be put back on sale the following month.

It is anticipated that there will be extremely high demand for sailings to the 2017 TT; last year the Steam Packet Company processed more than 3,300 bookings in the 10 hours after lines opened for this year’s event.

Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘The deposit system is intended to help TT fans secure a place on the ferry and book accommodation a year in advance. We are announcing the date now that provisional bookings will open to give fans as much time as possible to plan.

‘There is always great demand to visit the TT, so we expect our website and phone lines to be very busy when provisional bookings open. We will be bringing in additional staff to help with demand, but would ask for the public’s patience as we assist other customers.’

Currently, more than 13,200 motorcycles and 34,200 passengers are booked to travel to the 2016 TT, slightly below the total level for the previous year.

Mr Woodward said: ‘As anticipated, the number of bookings for this year’s TT are down by around 5%, equating to about 800 passengers and 800 motorcycles compared with 2015. This is due to the fact P&O Express is no longer available. Despite intensive efforts, it has proved impossible to locate a suitable alternative vessel available on a short-term charter basis.

‘Last year, in anticipation of this situation, we invested a substantial amount in the creation of a removable mezzanine deck system for Manannan. This, coupled with the charter of MV Arrow to carry freight and free-up space on Ben-my-Chree during TT, has reduced the impact of the loss of P&O Express by allowing us to carry more motorcycles on our own vessels.

‘However, there is currently no certainty that MV Arrow will be available for next year’s TT period, and that is, of course, a concern for all stakeholders in the event.

‘In addition, the “Offer” we have put to Government for a new Strategic Sea Services Agreement includes a commitment to a long-term third/back-up vessel both to allow TT visitor numbers to grow as well as to provide security of transports links for residents and visitors. This was submitted to the Strategic Sea Services Working Group in January and has been the subject of detailed discussion between that group and our Company.

‘We hope to be able to share details of our offer with the public shortly.’