Five Royal Navy Fast Inshore Patrol Vessels (IPV), which are all part of the First Patrol Boat Squadron, are heading north for an Easter tour of Scotland.
The vessels will transit the Caledonian Canal and spend the next few weeks visiting Scottish ports and communities, some of which rarely come into contact with a Royal Navy vessel.
The vessels taking part in the Easter deployment are:
HMS Explorer (P164), based in Kingston-upon-Hull and supporting Yorkshire Universities;
HMS Biter (P270), which supports Manchester and Salford University;
HMS Charger (P292), the vessel for Liverpool University;
HMS Pursuer (P273), which is the training craft for Glasgow and Strathclyde University URNU, and;
HMS Example (P165), supporting Northumbrian University and based in Tyne and Wear.
“The beauty of the Inshore Patrol Vessels is that they can reach the parts that other ships can’t,” explained Captain Chris Smith, Naval Regional Commander Scotland and Northern Ireland.
“The Easter deployment will not only provide students with valuable sea training, but will also give some members of the community the opportunity to meet and interact with their navy, learning how they help protect our coastline and maritime-based economy.”
Each Patrol Boat is affiliated to a University Royal Navy Unit, or URNU, and provides students with experience and knowledge of the Royal Navy. Units regularly go to sea and train in navigation skills and seamanship. The URNU’s are not linked to recruiting and so members are under no obligation to join the Royal Navy.
During the tour the Patrol Boats will host Sea Cadet Units, local dignitaries, and also take the opportunity to train alongside the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).
Ports being visited include: Fraserburgh, Buckie, Fort Augustus, Tobermory, Oban, Arbroath, Dunstaffnage, Aberdeen, Lossiemouth, Montrose and Stromness. Four of the vessels will also stop-off at Inverness at the same time on April 11.
Each of the Archer class P2000 Fast Inshore Patrol Boats weigh 54 tonnes and can carry up to 18 crew members. They are twin-shaft vessels with moulded glass-reinforced plastic hulls.
The Archers were initially used as Royal Navy patrol craft and as training tenders for the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) and University Royal Naval Units (URNU). Four identical vessels were ordered for the Royal Naval Auxiliary Service (RNXS) as Example-class tenders. When that service was disbanded in 1994, the Examples were transferred to the Royal Navy for similar duties as their Archer-class brethren.
There are a total of fourteen P2000 Patrol Boats which together form the First Patrol Boat Squadron.