By Eddie Wrenn
Waiting for a ferry when you've a coachload of passengers can be a bit off a bore.
Now a firm has come up with a novel solution, the AmphiCoach which can drive from road into the sea with barely a gear change.
The brainchild of Scotsman George Smith, the aluminum 50-seater vehicle can glide on fresh or seawater.
Built in Malta, the metal has a corrosion barrier and the company claims the bus can withstand 3,500 hours of constant use without any adverse effects.
Next stop - dry land: The Amphicoach takes a trip over water and then heads back to the coast
After a six-year development period, the AmphiCoaches are now on their way across the world, with the first boats already shipping out to Belfast and Budapest.
Managing director Steve Smith said: 'Since the first pictures of the AmphiCoach showed up on the Internet, interest has gone through the roof - out website visitors have gone up from 700 a month to more than two million, and we're getting inquiries for orders from companies wanting to 20 or more across the globe.
'We just need to be able to match the demand.'
Heading out: The passengers hope the driver knows where he's going
As a coach, the vehicle can travel at normal road-speeds up to 70mph. The excitement comes when it gets to water - the coach can simply drive into the sea where, with a flick of a switch and without stopping, the wheels retract into the hull and an air-piston begins powering the boat across the waves.
With the wheels out of the way, the coach is now the equivalent of a fully-fledged catamaran, with a stable base, with a cruising speed of six knots and a maximum of eight knots.
Mr Smith said: 'It's a seamless transition from road to water.
'Once at sea the steering wheel makes way for a joystick and there's no need for the vehicle to stop while the wheels lift and the jet propulsion takes over.
'The boat is well-weighted in the water and the passage is smoother than being in a boat of the equivalent size.'
Each of the vehicles costs £280,000 and Amphicoach say they can build 12 ship-shape roadsters every year.
Making a splash: Passengers enjoy the spectacle, although they probably miss not being able to sing 'the wheels on the bus go round...'
Mr Smith added: 'We have reworked and reinvented the amphibious tourist vehicle as everyone knows it. By creating a unique and exciting vehicle that is going to transform the world of city and harbour tours.
'Soon people will no longer be satisfied with just a city coach tour, they will want the complete package, a city coach tour with a water cruise built in.'
Just don't forget to pay your fare, as this is one bus you don't want to get chucked off.
The AmphiCoach moves across the water
Sailing off to the horizon: Orders from ten countries have already come in for the coach