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Technical disruptions

Throughout each year, we take significant steps to reduce the likelihood of a technical issue affecting our service. We know that delaying, changing or cancelling a sailing due to a technical issue with our vessels will inconvenience our customers and the communities we serve.  

What we do to rectify this scenario:  

Our large vessels will sail with qualified engineers on board who will try to rectify technical issues which may emerge. We also have shore based specialist engineers who can deploy at short notice to assist the crew where necessary.  

We keep spares and parts on the vessel or in shore stores. If the problem can be fixed by one of our own team, then we will do so as quickly as possible. Where this can be done during service it will be, however, sometimes the vessel must be taken off service for a short time to carry out repairs for the safety of the vessel, passengers and crew. 

It is not always possible for our own engineers to immediately fix the issue - sometimes parts may have to be sourced from manufacturers, often outside Scotland, or repairs need to be carried out by specialist sub-contractor technicians. Occasionally, specialist parts need to be made to order or repairs need to be conducted in a dockyard if they are particularly challenging. Throughout the disruption, our team will be working hard, with external support where needed, to fix the issue as quickly as possible.  

Replacement vessels  

We don't have 'spare' vessels, so for short periods of disruption of a matter of hours, the better option is to cancel a sailing while the issue is resolved. We don't take this lightly. We take our responsibility to the communities we serve very seriously.  

For longer periods, it is sometimes necessary to move vessels around the network to provide a replacement.  

We work to find a way of doing this while minimising disruption overall. We often look at routes served by two vessels for this reason, but this is not without its own challenges. We recognise and regret that the reduction of any service will inconvenience our customers and the communities we serve. We do all we can to avoid technical issues - it's an important part of our work every year, as outlined below. However, they cannot always be avoided and when they do, our teams will be working hard to rectify the situation for our customers.  

What we do to avoid technical issues

In a standard year, we operate more than 160,000 sailings. Minimising technical breakdowns in our operation is a critical part of our work. Each vessel has a regular, proactive and planned maintenance schedule, which includes periods in dry dock. This is designed to keep the vessel in the best possible technical condition and undertake preventative maintenance. We do all we can to reduce the likelihood of a technical issue, but there always remains a risk of unforeseen defects.  

When a technical issue does occur, we will be working hard to minimise disruption and to reinstate the service as quickly as possible. Throughout, we will keep our customers informed.

How to stay informed about disruptions

Stay up to date on our service through our website, downloading our app or following our Twitter @CalMac_Updates through which we provide customers with updates using the latest information we have available. Alternatively, you can also sign up to our service status text updates.

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