Ferry operator CalMac has premiered a new innovative on-board safety video to try and better educate passengers on what to do in an emergency.

The three-minute film uses allegory and imagery of the scenery, occupations and wildlife across the west coast to bring its safety message to life. All the actors were local residents from Arran.

‘The message behind our safety announcement is a serious one, it is about giving passengers the information they need in the unlikely event of an emergency,’ said CalMac’s director of Health, Safety, Quality and Environment, Louis de Wolff.

‘However, our research was telling us that passengers weren’t listening to the information being given to them over the tannoy, so we thought we needed other, more engaging ways of getting our safety message across.’.

‘A safety announcement that meets the legal requirements is not fit for purpose unless people absorb and remember the information we want them to,’ said Louis.

‘By knowing clearly what to do in an emergency, there is a better chance of a successful outcome and a reduced chance of further accidents or injuries.’ .

‘Although the tone is fun and engaging, the message is of critical importance. By keeping passengers entertained we are keeping them engaged and therefore more likely to take on-board what we are telling them.’.

The video and audio messages have been recorded in English and Gaelic with the video also having subtitles. The new video and audio announcements will be rolled out across the fleet during 2018.


Meanwhile it was announced that the Scottish Government intends to award ferry contracts directly to public sector operators in the future if certain criteria can be met and subject to the views of local communities.

An update on the on-going procurement policy review indicates that a direct award to an in-house provider, such as CalMac Ferries Ltd, would be possible if they are compliant with the Teckal exemption and EU state aid rules.

Minister for Transport and the Islands Humza Yousaf said: “As we said at the start of this review process, it is the Scottish Government’s preference to directly award ferry contracts to an in-house provider, subject to the views of local communities and stakeholders.”

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan welcomed yesterday’s announcement . “I am sure this will be widely welcomed across the islands. .

“During the most recent tendering process it was clearly the wish of most islanders that these services should continue to be run by Calmac. While the Scottish Government has always been clear that its preference was not to have to tender ferry services for the west coast, the EU rules obligated this Government and the former Labour administration to initiate a tender exercise.”