Complete NTM 03/21

Covid-19 pandemic guidance from the Scottish Government is currently being updated on a regular basis.

Hence, this NTM has been updated to reflect the recent announcement from the Scottish Government on 5 January 2021, announcing that mainland Scotland has been moved from Level 4 to a temporary lockdown, with new guidance to stay at home except for essential purposes. Some island locations remain at Level 3.

With the need to protect vulnerable island communities while still providing essential lifeline support, CMAL and our harbour operator CalMac Ferries Ltd are strictly following the Government guidance and hence mariners are informed that with immediate effect restrictions in force at all CMAL locations (full list here) have been revised and are as follows.

Open port access to all CMAL ports, harbours and facilities is closed to all non-essential visiting vessels. These specifically include:

  • Recreational vessels (see end note)
  • Cruise ships
  • Superyachts
  • Tour boats
  • Other small commercially operated vessels that are chartered or are carrying fare paying passengers, not being lifeline ferries
  • CMAL locations remain open to the following essential vessel traffic:
  • Lifeline ferries
  • Local fishing and fish farm vessels or those only landing catch or taking on supplies
  • Commercial ships operated in support of local communities and essential businesses
  • Vessels seeking a port of refuge
  • Marine casualties or other similar emergencies
  • UK Warships and Naval Auxiliary ships on active service
  •  Serco Group vessels operating in support of military vessels, e.g. crew transfers
  • Northern Lighthouse Board and Marine Protection Vessels
  • Emergency services vessels, e.g.  RNLI, HM Coastguard, HM Border Force, Police, Fire & Rescue
  • Medivacs


All non-local vessels entering harbour limits at staffed port locations must contact the harbour office via VHF 12 and follow any further instructions.

During the covid-19 health crisis mariners are advised that staffing at some CMAL ports and harbours may become reduced to levels that could impact on the ability to answer vessel calls, provide port mooring or other services.

Where a vessel cannot establish contact with the local Harbour Office, please communicate by email via or telephone (+44) 7917 242 140 confirming particulars of the proposed call and vessel contact details.

It is essential linkspan berthing areas are always kept clear for the exclusive use of lifeline ferries.

In addition:

  • There should be no shore leave for visiting vessel crews
  • Vessels will be allowed to take on fuel and water where available, but any required stores will be delivered to the bottom of the gangway
  • Service engineers should only attend for repair of critical ship systems and will require a covid-19 risk assessment to be carried out in conjunction with the local CalMac port manager / supervisor


Note: Recreational Boating

While recreational boating activities can be undertaken as part of daily exercise activities there are still important restrictions that should be applied in line with the latest public health guidance. The Scottish Government have been clear, this is still a public health crisis and while there are exercise options, there is not complete freedom to return to boating.

People in Scotland are permitted to travel short distances for outdoor leisure and exercise, but Scottish Government strongly advise to stay within a short distance (5 miles) of your local community. With this restriction in mind all forms of recreational watersports practiced on open waterways within your local CMAL port or harbour are permitted, including sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, rowing, kayaking, paddle-boarding and the use of motorised craft.

Only daytime activity should be undertaken, and all activity should return to the local point of departure within the same day.  Recreational mariners should not stay overnight on their vessels.


Further information about Covid-19 may be found at:

RYA Boating Guidance for Scotland


This NTM will remain in force until further updates are issued.

Further details can be obtained using the contact details below.

Issued on behalf of the Harbour Master

Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited

Harbour Master
Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited
Municipal Buildings,
Fore St. Port Glasgow
PA1 4 5EQ

Categories: Notice to Mariners, Piers and harbours