More info: A regular ferry service has operated out of Ryde to Portsmouth, since 1805. Back then it was with sailing ships and the crossing time was quite erratic. The low tides also caused problems as the ships had to anchor off-shore and passengers were transferred to and from the ship by horse and cart. This problem was rectified by the building of a pier in 1815 and later in 1825 a steam ship service was introduced cutting the crossing time down to around 35 minutes.
The Solent is one of the busiest waterways in the world and renowned as the busiest in Europe with approximately 1 million commercial and naval shipping movements and over 10 million leisure craft movements every year.