Changes to motorhomes, campervans and caravans standby process

Following discussions with Transport Scotland and feedback from Stakeholder Groups, motorhomes, campervans and those vehicles towing a caravan will not be able to join standby queues at ports on the following routes:

Ardrossan – Brodick
Ardrossan - Campbeltown (seasonal)
Kennacraig - Islay – Colonsay
Oban – Colonsay
Oban – Coll – Tiree
Oban – Lismore
Oban - Craignure
Oban – Castlebay
Mallaig – Armadale
Mallaig - Lochboisdale – Oban
Uig - Tarbert (Harris) – Lochmaddy
Ullapool – Stornoway
Berneray – Leverburgh (Sound of Harris)
Ardmhor – Eriskay (Sound of Barra)

To travel on the next available sailing on these routes, motorhomes, campervans and caravans will need to have a confirmed space and will be unable to wait in the standby queues.

This change has been introduced to prioritise customers without alternative accommodation and to help optimise use of the limited deck space that remains once all booked customers and their vehicles are loaded onto a vessel.

An unbooked vehicle of any size without on board accommodation may need priority. Also, where there’s very little deck space left over, we can optimise its use by shipping car type vehicles from standby lanes since they can park at angles and fit into the remaining tight spaces. Unfortunately, larger vehicles like motorhomes, campervans and vehicles towing caravans are less able to do so.

If we use our standby lanes for cars, we’ll be better placed to make efficient use of remaining space. This approach also avoids motorhome / campervan and caravan customers sitting in stand-by queues when there’s less possibility of being able to fit within the space that’s left.

We’ve shared some more details and answers to the most frequently asked questions below.

If I am driving a motorhome, campervan or towing a caravan – will I be able to join a standby lane at any of your ports?
No. Motorhomes, campervans and those vehicles towing a caravan will not be able to join standby queues at our ports.

We recognise that in circumstances where there’s very little space left on a sailing, we must prioritise customers with no alternative accommodation and optimise the remaining limited space by shipping car type vehicles since they can park at angles and fit into the remaining tight spaces. Larger vehicles like motorhomes and campervans are less able to do so.

If you arrive at one of our ports without a reservation, you won’t be able to wait in the standby queue for this reason. However, if there is available space left on the next sailing, we would ask you to buy a ticket from the port office for that sailing and join the booked traffic for that timetabled sailing.

Why is this change being implemented at this time?
Following discussions with Transport Scotland and listening to feedback from Stakeholder Groups, this change has been introduced to prioritise customers with no alternative accommodation and to help optimise use of the limited deck space that remains once all booked customers and their vehicles are loaded onto a vessel.

An unbooked vehicle of any size without on board accommodation may need priority. Also, where there’s very little deck space left over, we can optimise its use by shipping car type vehicles from standby lanes since they can park at angles and fit into the remaining tight spaces. Unfortunately, larger vehicles like motorhomes, campervans and vehicles towing caravans are less able to do so.

If we use our standby lanes for cars, we’ll be better placed to make efficient use of remaining space. This approach also avoids motorhome / campervan and caravan customers sitting in stand-by queues when there’s less possibility of being able to fit within the space that’s left.

Will this policy apply to islanders when travelling with a caravan/motorhome or towing a caravan?
No. This does not apply to motorhomes, caravans and campervans that belong to island residents who will continue to be able to use standby options. Island residency will be confirmed at the point of booking or point of application to join the standby queue and can be evidenced with a proof of address from a utility bill or similar identifier.

During disruptions and movement of traffic, will I be given the option of standby even if I had a booking on a previously cancelled sailing?
Yes, exceptions will be made during periods of disruption when customers with motorhomes, campervans and caravans are displaced from their original booked sailings.

What routes will this apply to?
Ardrossan – Brodick
Ardrossan - Campbeltown (seasonal)
Kennacraig - Islay – Colonsay
Oban – Colonsay
Oban – Coll – Tiree
Oban – Lismore
Oban - Craignure
Oban – Castlebay
Mallaig – Armadale
Mallaig - Lochboisdale – Oban
Uig - Tarbert (Harris) – Lochmaddy
Ullapool – Stornoway
Berneray – Leverburgh (Sound of Harris)
Ardmhor – Eriskay (Sound of Barra)

What happens if I don’t have a booking and turn up at one of your ports with a motorhome, campervan or towing a caravan?
You will be unable to wait in the standby queue. However, if there is available space left on the next sailing, we would ask you to buy a ticket from the port office for that sailing and join the booked traffic for that timetabled sailing.

How will this work on your unmanned routes? i.e., Sound of Barra, Sound of Harris?
If you do not have a confirmed reservation, all booked traffic will be loaded, followed by standby traffic (other than motorhomes/campervans/caravans). After all other standby traffic is loaded, should space permit motorhomes / campervans / caravans will be loaded. This will be managed on a sailing by sailing basis.

If the sailing is fully booked but there are no other vehicles in the standby queue, will I be able to join the queue in my motorhome/campervan/caravan?
You would not be able to join the standby queue in your motorhome /campervan / caravan. We would ask you to buy a ticket from the port office for the next available sailing and join the booked traffic for that timetabled sailing.

I have a smaller campervan which is the size of a car, will I be able to join standby?
No. You cannot join the standby queue. If there is available space left on the next sailing, we would ask you to buy a ticket from the port office for that sailing and join the booked traffic for that timetabled sailing.

How do you define a motorhome / campervan or towing a caravan?
Motorhomes/campervans/caravans are defined as containing the following as per DVLA Motor Caravan registration:

Sleeping Accommodation: The bed must be an integral part of the vehicle living accommodation area.

Door: There must be a horizontal sliding door or an outward opening rear or side door.

Seats and Tables: Permanently secured seating must be available for use at a table.

Storage: The cupboard must be an integral part of the living accommodation area.

Cooking: The cooking facilities must be a permanent feature.

Outside: The vehicle must have at least one side window.

The vehicles V5 log book will have the vehicle registered as a Motor Caravan.

MULL, SCOTLAND, 25 JULY 2018: MV Coruisk sailing in the sound of Mull. It is a Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd ferry built in 2003, operated by Caledonian MacBrayne, serving the west coast of Scotland.