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Island Rescue Patient Transfer

Hovertravel’s Island Rescue is an innovative new partnership with the Isle of Wight Ambulance Service and the Isle of Wight NHS Trust.  This service transfers stretcher patients across the Solent to Portsmouth; improving patient care, saving time and money for the NHS and boosting positive medical outcomes.

At the start of the COVID-19 crisis, with no option of using the air ambulance, Hovertravel was identified as the quickest way to move stretcher patients from the island to the mainland.  Our hovercraft fleet was modified by our engineers with help from design authority Griffon to carry stretchers in the freight compartment in line with the rigorous requirements of the International Maritime Organisation’s High Speed Craft Code.  The alteration was subsequently approved by both the UK’s National Health Service and the local hovercraft safety experts at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in an exceptionally short time.


Once the call is received from the ambulance service, the pilot and crew will prepare the hovercraft, which will only carry the patient and necessary NHS staff. The ambulance will be driven on to the pad at Ryde and the stretcher can be wheeled up the ramp into the craft.  The patient and the stretcher, plus any additional equipment,  are secured by straps to a series of newly installed locking points.  When the hovercraft lands at Southsea, the patient will be transferred from the craft into a waiting ambulance and on to hospital. 


Our Island Rescue service continues to support the NHS on both sides of the Solent and is transferring an average of two patients per day.


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