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Safety drill gong awarded to UK hovercraft crew

1 December 2023

UK crew working on the only year-round passenger hovercraft service in the world have won a muster safety drill competition.

The Seafarers' Charity ran the Safety Drill Competition during 2023's Maritime Safety Week and it was won by Hovertravel Limited. The prize was presented to the company on the Isle of Wight in November, by the grant funding charity's chief executive Deborah Layde.

Hovertravel run the only year-round passenger hovercraft service in the world, operating up to 70 flights between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight in the UK.

During the competition their crew demonstrated a well-rehearsed passenger evacuation drill and showed how they efficiently evacuated passengers with limited mobility to safety.

The annual safety drill competition encourages crews working on all sorts of vessels, from fishing vessels to cargo ships and passenger ferries, to show off their muster safety drill skills. Many improved their drill time, which in a real emergency at sea, could help save lives. The competition is one of many maritime safety and welfare initiatives supported by the grant funder.

The judging panel highlighted how interesting it was to see a commercial aircraft style of drill with safety briefings and demonstrations adapted to a marine operation.

Ms Layde said it was a pleasure to meet the crew, and see how they 'looked after hundreds of passengers and kept them safe during this unique crossing from Portmouth to Isle Of Wight every day.'

In the spirit of generosity, the crew donated their £500 prize to a local charity which is fundraising for an accessible beach for all, including wheelchair users, in the town of Ryde on the Isle of Wight where the service operates.


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