The car ferry across the mouth of Poole Harbour in Dorset will be out of action until the New Year, its operator has said.
The Sandbanks Ferry was forced to halt crossings on Friday afternoon when fire fighters were called following a "serious hydraulic issue".
Motorists face a 25 mile detour (40km) to travel between Poole and Studland.
Morebus said its holiday schedule had been amended as its Breezer 50 services use the ferry.
In a statement the Bournemouth-Swanage Motor Road and Ferry Company said: "Due to the severity of the problem, and the amount of work involved in checking these critical systems we will not be back in service before the New Year."
The chain ferry, called Bramble Bush Bay, takes four minutes to make the crossing from Sandbanks to Shell Bay. The shortest alternative road route from shore to shore is about 25 miles.
The ferry had just returned to service on Thursday after nearly two months of maintenance work in Falmouth.