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On board

Can I bring my pet on board?

Yes, pets are welcome on board and travel free of charge. Facilities vary from ship to ship. For further details visit our pet facilities section or speak with any member of staff or crew.

I've never driven a vehicle on to a ship before. What do I do?

Getting your vehicle on board is really quite straightforward. Just follow this simple guide:

  • Turn on your headlights and drive slowly, allowing plenty of room to brake

  • Follow the instructions of staff carefully — don't use your mobile phone, turn off your radio and open your window to make sure you can hear them

  • Check that other vehicles aren't approaching alongside before you open your door

  • Make sure your handbrake or parking brake is on 

  • Disable your car alarm, if possible. 

I'm a foot passenger. Are there any potential hazards I need to be aware of? 

Ferries are different from many other forms of transport as they have metal floors on outside areas and many will have wooden floors on interior sections. There may also be raised or sunk lashing points and other trip hazards - watch your step at all times and use designated walkways where provided. Having the right footwear will cut the chances of having a slip, especially on wet days. We don't recommend wearing flip flops, cycling shoes or high heels on board.

Also, stairways may be steeper than you're used to, so make sure you hold on to the handrail. Some doorways have raised sills - take care not to trip.

Strong winds that cause the ferry to move can also cause external doors to close suddenly. Please keep your hands clear of door enclosures.

I'm a cyclist. Are there any potential hazards I need to be aware of? 

Dismount before boarding the ferry and walk your bike onboard, along ramps, piers and slipways. Riding on these surfaces can be hazardous. Cycling shoes can slide easily on metal decks and polished wooden surfaces - please take extra care to maintain your footing. Ask a member of crew if you're uncertain where you can safely secure your bike on board.

Should I switch my vehicle alarm off during the sailing?

Some car alarms are ultra-sensitive and liable to be activated while at sea. You should lock your vehicle and, if possible, disarm the alarm. 

Am I allowed to stay in my car or on the vehicle deck during the voyage?

On smaller vessels covering shorter journeys you may be allowed to stay with your car.

On larger vessels drivers and passengers must leave their vehicles before the vessel leaves port. Passengers are not permitted to access the car deck when the vessel is at sea. As a precaution, make sure any valuable items are kept out of sight.

Download our Passenger Safety Checklist before your travel.  Passenger Safety Checklist [166kb]  

Is there a baggage allowance?

Each passenger is allowed, free of charge, 40kg of luggage. Due to Passenger Counting policy this must be carried in one trip up/down the gangway. If you need assistance with luggage please ask a member of port staff or a ship's crew member. 

Is there a place where I can store my luggage on board?

On some ships there's a designated area for luggage. If there is no designated luggage area, and when you are in the terminal, keep your luggage and other personal effects with you at all times. If you leave luggage anywhere other than the designated area it will be removed, may be reported to the police and may be destroyed.

Can I buy an alcoholic drink on board?

Alcohol is usually available on larger vessels, subject to normal licensing laws. Be aware that passengers under the influence of alcohol or drugs may be refused passage and threatening behaviour towards staff or other passengers will not be tolerated. CalMac reserve the right to refuse to serve alcohol. No alcohol may be consumed unless purchased on board. 

Is smoking allowed anywhere on board?

Yes - outside, at designated smoking  areas on the passenger deck. You can't smoke on the car deck or in internal passenger areas. This includes all forms of smoking, like synthetic and electronic cigarettes, cigars and pipes.

If there's an emergency what should I do?

Emergencies on CalMac ferries are extremely rare, but it makes sense to know what the procedure is. Make sure you know where the nearest assembly station is - look for four inward-pointing arrows like this:

assembly or muster station image

In an emergency, go to the nearest assembly station where you'll be able to collect a lifejacket if needed. Pay attention to passenger safety announcements, and make sure your children are supervised at all times.

Please watch the following video which contains important safety information:


What do I do if I feel unwell?

If you feel unwell, or need first aid, contact the nearest member of staff immediately. If you find the movement of the vessel upsets you, you'll find the centre of the vessel is more comfortable, because it is subject to less movement.

What safety checks do you do?

Our fleet and ports are regularly inspected and audited, both internally and externally, to ensure they meet relevant regulations, codes and safety standards.

Our vessels and crew regularly participate in drills to rehearse their response in the unlikely event of an emergency. All lifeboats are tested at least four times a year along with marine evacuation slides and other safety equipment.

If you see anything you think is unsafe during any part of your journey with us, please inform a member of staff.

Any special instructions about disembarking?

Make sure you have all your belongings with you before leaving the ship. If you're driving, don't start the engine until you're told to move off to avoid unnecessary fumes. Drive slowly on leaving the ferry and follow the instructions of crew and shore staff.

I have a question that's not answered here. What should I do? 

Call us on 0800 066 5000 or +44 1475 650397 (for international customers) or email enquiries@calmac.co.uk. We'll get back to you as soon as we can.


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