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The North Boat (Northlink ferries)


Where should the North Boat dock?  

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  1. 1. Where should the North Boat dock?

    • Aberdeen
    • Rosyth
    • Peterhead
    • Barbados

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Changing the subject slightly (but still staying on topic), how bad does the weather have to be before your ferries are cancelled?


I found the following clip (actually of a Scrabster to Stromness service, but it's still NorthLink) riveting:





Coming from a nautical background I dont mind being at sea and have been out plenty of times in bad weather before but do have to say the Scrabster to Stromness crossing was the worst I have ever been on, people were pukeing up in all directions and the rolling from the rough seas was terrible, people being thrown one way then the other.

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Guest willz320
how bad does the weather have to be before your ferries are cancelled?



It depends on a lot of things; tidal conditions, swell, wind speed and direction... so its difficult to say.


The Hjaltland has been known to sail from Lerwick in a F11 storm, with a 50-60ft swell!


I have had the joy of being on the Hrossey in a F10-11 storm - not for the faint hearted!!


Just last night Hamnavoe spent 30 minutes struggling againt a heavy swell and 45+mph winds while berthing in Stromness. (I have some, poor, photos!)


Generally speaking though (set aside the constant moaning about how the ships are "not fit for purpose"), wind speeds are no lower than force 4 or 5 throughout the winter, and we have seen in the past few weeks storms of F6-F8 on most nights- with only two nights of cancellations this month.

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You were on that particular crossing, Styles? Since the video shows the ship just after it left port, I dread to think what it was like in the open ocean. I'm frankly amazed they let it go out.


Sorry no, but I was on one the same, the boat used to go the whole time like that, but dont let that put u off, come up to shetland and the boats are fine, just dont do that crossing, the sea is wild. But if u come from Aberdeen to here u will be fine, its just bad currents (i.e. waves) there, not from Aberdeen to here, u will be fine, we will be blide to see u :)

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I hear the north boat didnt sail 2nite and thats wrong the ship should sail and passengers be given the choice do you want to go or not but to be warned its going too be rough because of the forecast. i work on the sea and would be pretty pissed off if they said we cant sail because of the weather when i think ive worked in worse than this and had no choice!!!! plenty ppl in shetland would sail due to knowlege of the sea!! ok i can understand if the direction and strength prevents access to aberdeen harbour but a SW doesnt and the reason is ppl could sue i guess the world we live in i pretty screwed up if thats the case!!

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Any horror stories about nightmare crossings in force eleven gales, chucking up in sick bags, eating weevil-infested biscuits, contracting scurvy, or similar nautical activities?

My last trip was back at the start of the 90's. So bad I have flown ever since. What made the trip particularly interesting was that Fedder was travelling with me. He was someone who seemed to enjoy nothing better than being afloat in the worst of weather. He was, accordingly, high with adrenaline and really loving it.


It was blowing very hard from the south. As I remember things the Clair would not have left had it not been for the fact that the Sunniva had already left Aberdeen and was unable to turn around. As she was going to need the Holmsgarth berth they decided to see if they could take the more powerful Clair south. Fedder was up on the bridge yarning with his old pupils and reported later that the skipper was not sure it would be possible to get the boat away from the berth due to the strength of the wind. By the time we reached the Knab there was puking in the bar and it was soon empty. Fedder then turned up and proceeded to tell tale after tale of previous legendary bad weather trips. I remember the funniest being back in the 30's. Apparently the north boat left Victoria pier but decided there was no way they could leave the harbour. As it was impossible to get back to the berth they anchored near Bressay. Fedder said that after three days they finally managed to get some food aboard because they had run out. He wasn't sure when she eventually berthed again but it was here not Aberdeen. Jim Clark (old Central teacher) had been on that aborted trip.


On the 90's trip I strapped myself into my bunk Frankenstein style, using the straps for holding the quilt. This was across my chest. Even strapped like that my bottom half was lifting up clear of the bunk on most waves. In the morning the tannoy announced that complimentary breakfast was available. Fedder was well up for that so I went too. It was deserted but for us. To my amazement he proceeded to eat greasy mince and suet dumplings followed by a slab of greasy black forest gateau.

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Guest willz320
I hear the north boat didnt sail 2nite and thats wrong the ship should sail and passengers be given the choice do you want to go or not but to be warned its going too be rough because of the forecast.


With each cancellation there is a detailed risk assessment. This most likely covers safety of the ship, crew and most importantly passengers at sea. It then covers the comfort level experienced by all onboard. And then it covers all the cargo.


And you may also be forgetting that these decisions are also closely monitored by the Scottish Government who make sure that these decisions are not taken lightly.


Are you a skipper yourself? If not - who the hell are you to make an assumption like that? You might not have been given a choice when forced to work in extreme weather, that doesnt mean NorthLink, as an employer, should put their staff through the same risks as your employer obviously has done.

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Guest willz320
All the above is certainly true but at the same time I have to ask that if the weather and sea conditions allowed the freight ships to sail is there something wrong with the design of the passenger ships that sees them tied up in port each winter?.


I believe the reason the freight ships sail is simply because for the majority of the time there are no passengers onboard. The master will refuse travel for any passengers in the event of bad weather, because travelling onboard isnt as.....comfortable as onboard the passenger ships :D


Also, the freight ships move slower, and often (if you look at Ship AIS ship tracking)you will see that the freight ships lie off certain points of land until an opportune moment to cross the various channels that cause problems.


If the passenger ships were to regularly hold position in stormy weather it would cause distress and complaints from the passengers onboard. Its not very economical either, as rough seas cost an awful lot more on fuel and resources as it is.

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Just remember for the 20 boats that are in lerwick theres another 20 at sea every oil platform has one stand-by boat which isnt allowed too leave the rig for weather because of safety!!


Just remember next time youve booked your holiday and northink dosent sail in a force 8 (by the way i havent booked a holiday as i fly anyway lol)

i guess its a risk living on an island

You should have a choice sail or not even sign the disclamer!!

ok mabye this weekend was too strong for the northlink but we all know the history!!


Most of the oil related boats only come in to port because they cant work for a week or so i.e the Apache which i work with most mnths wont be laying pipe again till she has a 2 day weather window etc its all not to do with the state of the sea.


By the way its not rubbish its an Opinion!!

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