Ferry operator CalMac is reinforcing the essential travel to islands only message on the back of the latest Scottish Government advice.

CalMac will be continuing its checks on people travelling for non-essential reasons with port and ferry staff asking for proof that they are an island resident, or evidence that they are a key worker, before being allowed to board.

With good weather forecast this weekend and the relaxing of some lockdown rules, CalMac expects an increase in people trying to travel, particularly to islands in the Clyde.

‘As the First Minister made very clear yesterday travel to islands continues to be for essential reasons only, they are not open for recreational purposes and people trying to board for a day trip will be turned away,’ said CalMac’s Director of Operations, Robert Morrison.

‘Likewise, people with island second homes should not be travelling and we would ask them to be responsible before trying to board.

"The good weather may tempt people to get out and about, but I would urge everyone to continue to follow government guidelines and stay away from the islands.'

Passenger and vehicle numbers are down 95% across CalMac’s 28 routes as the majority of people have respected the advice to stay away for now.

Her Majesty’s Coastguard is warning people not to take risks at the coast this weekend.

The warning comes as lockdown eases in various parts of the country meaning coastal exercise and visits are allowed.

And with the weather set to be scorching in most of the country, many people will take the opportunity to visit the coast. However, the usual risks the coast poses have been amplified as local authorities and land owners may not have had the opportunity to make their usual safety provisions and the majority of beaches will not currently be lifeguarded. 

Anyone going to a beach should take personal responsibility, avoid the dangers and keep themselves safe.

Three people died last weekend in separate incidents and HM Coastguard says there’s a real danger more there could be more fatalities in the next few days.

Director of HM Coastguard Claire Hughes said: ‘We can’t emphasise this enough - the sea has no respect for whether you’re local or not, whether you’re experienced or not – the sea is unmerciful if it catches you out.’

‘But help us to help you. We know how beautiful the coast is but it’s deadly if you get it wrong and your choices might put your family and friends at risk as well as yourself. And every time our frontline responders respond – as they always do and always will – they’re put at risk too.’

‘Please. #BeBeachSafe Check tide times. Remember the sea has currents and rip tides that can’t easily be seen. Leave inflatables at home. Check your kit before you go onto the water. Make sure you have fully charged phones or other means of contact. Look out for each other. But above all, please keep safe and if you get into trouble and call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. Don’t make this weekend’s trip to the coast memorable for all the wrong reasons.’