Member Profile: Ruari McLachlan, McLachlan Marine

Member Profile: Ruari McLachlan, McLachlan Marine

Ruari takes us into the world of McLachlan Marine, a Workboat Operator based in Aberdeen, Scotland.

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Who is McLachlan Marine, How did it start and when?

I grew up at Stonehaven Harbour, Aberdeenshire and have always had a passion for the sea. Following a mixed background with boats and volunteering for the RNLI, I pursued my commercial endorsements and entered the Workboat industry prior to starting the business in 2011.

The companies first boat was the Lady Gail II “a small sea angling business” know as Castle Charter & Marine Services in Stonehaven, I used my commercial experience to diversify into the Workboat industry via supporting Survey works, and since then we have expanded year on year and now operate and offer many diverse contracts. 

Due to our independent capabilities, innovation, and flexibility, along with the excellent customer service we have succeeded with rapid growth.

What is your operational expertise?

Our main experience is Seabed Surveys, Safety boats, Marine civils support and Crew Transfers on local windfarms, I am proud to remain closely involved in the day to day operations of the fleet and can often be found on board getting hands-on in projects of all sizes!

A main pillar of our experience is undoubtedly our local knowledge and focus, we are proud to support the Aberdeen Harbour Expansion Project (that we have worked on since its inception) and our local windfarms.

What is your position in the company and how does a day in your life look?

I am the MD of the Company and every day is different, mainly fun… we play with boats!

We have a fantastic infrastructure here in NE Scotland, McLachlan Marine a large 1/2 acre site where our main office, workshops and storage are situated (between Aberdeen & Montrose Ports). We also have operations offices at all the local major harbours, plus a great operations & office team supporting our vessels, without their support we would not have achieved so much.

How many vessels do you operate and what types?

Our customers refer to our fleet as a “marine multitool” we have a boat for nearly every job!

McLachlan Marine currently operates a growing fleet of 9 Workboats, we have;

  • 3x Cabin Rib Safety boats
  • 2x Survey/CTV Catamarans
  • 2x Windfarm CTV’s
  • 2x Multipurpose Workboats.

How many employees do you have and where are they based?

In the peak we can have up to 30 staff working across the operations.

Most of fleet is based in the NE of Scotland in Aberdeen, but regularly we travel to support East Coast projects. For example; our 26m Ocean Titan just returned from Eyemouth after supporting a UXO campaign providing a stable platform for the Dive spread, ROV operations and Survey works all from the same vessel for the NnG Windfarm.

Have you been affected by the recent COVID-19 crisis and how have you overcome such challenges?

It’s a very challenging market just now, many projects in Scotland are currently on hold or have been postponed in to the 2021 season due to the current Scottish government guidelines.

We have our core team still working, carrying out maintenance to the fleet and supporting those local projects that are still operating for essential works.

To control the spread of the virus and protect our passengers and crew we have implemented new COVID-19 controls across our business. Our methodology, aims and continued work in this area has been well received by both our own workforce and our clients. 

What do you see as the 9 – 12 month challenges faced by the COVID-19 crisis for McLachlan Marine?

We are seeing more demand for our larger vessels (to allow increased social distancing on board) where a smaller vessel would often normally be used.

The past few months have been a challenge and to be open; it has impacted the business both commercially and operationally. As the next few weeks progress and presumably the restrictions are eased, we retain an optimistic approach with the hope of seeing more projects coming back on line.

Do you have any highlight stories from the McLachlan Marine history books?

In the last 6 months McLachlan Marine has invested in an additional two vessels.

Firstly: The previously mentioned 26m Survey / CTV catamaran for offshore survey work and crew transfers, now called “Ocean Titan” purchased from the well known Dutch workboat company Acta Marine.

And our second addition: The “Ocean Supporter”, a 19m Multipurpose Workboat from Meercat workboats, which strengthens our marine civils support operations.

These two purchases have both been a whole lot of fun, but have also required a lot of hard work form the whole team, to whom I’m very grateful. I am very proud of both vessels.

“I would like to use this opportunity to wish all WA members and our friends the best of health and a successful 2020 season, we will see you all soon.”

Ruari and team