COVID-19 (Coronavirus FAQs)

Updated 02.12.20

Please note: From 2 December onwards, a local restriction tier system is in place. Please refer to the local restriction tier guide for your area before planning travel to or from the Isle of Wight, and ensure you comply with the respective rules. Residents of areas currently classed as Tier 3, should NOT travel to the Isle of Wight for leisure trips at this time.

Red Funnel continue to monitor the evolving situation in relation to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and appreciate there is still some uncertainty for our customers surrounding their travel plans.

Before choosing whether to travel on our ferries to or from the Isle of Wight, please review the government's latest advice on travel.

We understand there are many instances, you may need to use our ferries. When you do travel with us, take some time to plan your journey and learn how you can help us to help you sail safe.

Face Coverings are now required on board

Please note: The UK government have now declared it mandatory to wear a face covering when using public transport. Therefore, our passengers will be legally required to wear a face covering when using the passenger lounges on board, or moving around our ferries. From Friday 24 July it is also mandatory to wear a face covering in our terminals. More info is available on our Face Coverings FAQs page.

Current Timetables

We are still operating a regular service on our vehicle ferry. Further information is available below, and for the latest updates you can check our Service Status Page.

Our Red Jet Service is also operating a reduced timetable with limited capacity. Further information is available below, and for the latest updates you can check our Service Status page. 

View timetables

Sail Safe

If you are planning to travel with us in the near future, we have implemented extra measures to help keep our customers safe when they sail. These include increased cleaning schedules, social distancing measures and travel advice.

Find out more

Future Bookings, Amends & Cancellations

If you are planning to make a booking, or already have a future booking which you are unsure about, we have made changes to our T&C’s surrounding amendments and cancellations. These give you several flexible options, should you need to move or cancel your booking.

More Travel Questions, Answered:

Do I need to wear a face covering / mask when I travel?

It is now mandatory to wear a face covering when using public transport, therefore our passengers are legally required to wear a face covering whilst travelling in our passenger lounges and moving around the vessel. This also applies to foot passengers embarking and disembarking. From Friday 24 July it is also mandatory to wear a face covering in our terminals. 

Coverings are optional (but recommended) on our outer passenger decks, and are not required inside vehicles. 

Making a face cover is simple and can likely be made at home with no to little additional cost. Learn how to make your own face cover here. Face Coverings will also be available for purchase, for customers who do not have their own.

There are some exemptions, including passengers with a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means they cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering. Children under the age of 11 will also be exempt. A full list of the current exemptions can be found on the UK goverment's website.

By law, Red Funnel must refuse travel to customers who can (but do not) wear coverings. Customers could forfeit the cost of their booking should they refuse to comply.

For more info and answers to frequently asked questions, go to the Face Coverings on our Ferries page

I’m returning home to the Isle of Wight after visiting another country. What do I need to know about travelling back to the Island with Red Funnel?

Depending on the country you were visiting, you may need to self-isolate upon returning home.

Check to see if the country you are returning from is still on the UK’s safe travel corridor list, or if it has been removed.

You can find the latest information, here.

If the country you are returning from has been removed from the list and you need to self-isolate upon arrival, refer to the next FAQ below.

I’m returning home to the Isle of Wight from a country that has been removed from the UK’s travel corridor list, and therefore need to self-isolate. What do I need to know about travelling back to the Island with Red Funnel?

If this applies to you, you will need to travel back to the Isle of Wight and MUST remain inside a vehicle. Foot passengers are NOT permitted to board the ferry.

As you will not be permitted in the main passenger area, you must contact us at, ideally at least 48 hours in advance of your sailing as our team will need to make the necessary safety arrangements for you to remain on the vehicle deck.  To enable us to assist you more swiftly, please include a copy of your return flight or holiday details, along with your ferry travel details. Our teams will endeavor to do their best to assist anyone contacting us in less than 48 hours ahead of travel, but please be advised this may create some hassle in your return home and may result in delays.

Please also note that depending on the configuration of freight/cargo on board your scheduled return crossing, for safety reasons, it may not be possible for you to remain inside your vehicle. In this case, our team will assist in moving you to the next available crossing.  

It is the responsibility of passengers to make arrangements to gain access to a vehicle when travelling back to the Island in this scerario. If family or friends are unable to offer assistance, or you are unable to hire a vehicle, contact the Isle of Wight Council for further guidance and support. You can call 01983 823 600 between 9am and 5pm, 7 days a week or email

The requirement to travel via vehicle (and remain isolated therein) was established by the Isle of Wight Transport Infrastructure Board, in consultation with key stakeholders which includes the Isle of Wight Council. Accordingly, Red Funnel is unable to waiver from this process, which has been established to protect the Island community.


Can we stay in our vehicle during the crossing?

With the withdrawal of government advice around shielding, we are no longer operating daily Stay in Vehicle sailings.

We may still be able to support extremely vulnerable passengers travelling to an NHS appointment, or customers affected by the recent closure of the travel corridor to Spain. For more information on this go to our Stay in Vehicle page.

Are you still offering food & drink services?

As face coverings must be worn aboard our ferries and inside our terminals, all customers will need to enjoy food and drink on the outer decks if they wish to consume whilst travelling. The only exception to this if customers have to eat/drink for medical reasons or if the passenger is under 11 years of age.

The outlets currently open on board our vehicle ferries include: Steam Bar on B-Deck & Steam Outlet in North Lounge (on-board). We are currently limited to selling pre-packed food and snacks only. 

Please note the above outlets will be CLOSED between 22:00 and 06:00 due to latest government guidance applicable to food service operators.

We also offer drinks and snacks in our vending machines at the following locations:

  • West Cowes Terminal (Red Jet Service)
  • Southampton T2 (Red Jet Service)
  • East Cowes Terminal (Vehicle Ferry Service)
  • Southampton T1 (Vehicle Ferry Service)


Are you allowing for 2-metre social distancing?

We’re committed to doing all we can to allow for as much space between individuals as possible. Due to the nature of our business as a public transportation provider, we may encounter instances whereby facilitating the optimum 2-metre gap between individuals is not always possible.

This may be especially likely as demand for travel increases, as well as during boarding and alighting, and during peak times. It is also impossible for us to fully control all individual passenger movements whilst on board our vessels due to the inherent nature of ferry travel. Maximising social distancing requires cooperation from all passengers. Accordingly, we strongly encourage you to follow the advice in the Sail Safe section of our website.

What do you do if passengers don't observe social distancing?

As a mass transport operator, we can facilitate social distancing -- but we can’t enforce it; that is a policing function. For this reason, our staff can only suggest passengers maintain social distancing. We have taken big steps to enable social distancing via reducing our capacity and have installed clear, physical signage as visual aids. On top of this, we actively communicate safety and social distancing guidance to our customers both throughout their journey as well as in the wider media. Ultimately, the responsibility for social distancing compliance remains with each individual. We urge everyone to take responsibility for their actions and to continue to heed the most current government’s advice.

What is your maximum capacity on board?

To help achieve social distancing whist also ensuring we have enough space to meet customer demand for essential travel, we have reduced our capacity on board all our vessels.

At this time, the vehicle ferries have been reduced to 39% of normal capacity, to a maximum of 350 passengers. This is a reduction of 545 passengers against our normal operating limit of 895.

Our Red Jets are limited to 53% of normal capacity, to a maximum of 148 passengers. This is a reduction of 545 passengers against our normal operating limit of 279.

This information is accurate as of 26 October 2020.

Is the Signature Lounge space open to everyone?

Our Signature Lounge will be temporarily closed until further notice, starting from Friday 13 November. If you have already booked the Signature Lounge for a crossing between 13 Nov and 2 December 2020, please expect an email from us shortly.

I have a season ticket which I'm not using. What should I do?

In response to the current government guidance around travel, and in particular, working from home if you can, we fully recognise that you may not be using your season ticket at this time. You should already have received an email from us regarding this matter, but if you didn’t, please rest assured that you will not lose value in your ticket due to being unable to travel at this time.

Once current circumstances improve, we will be in touch to extend your existing season ticket based on the period you have missed out on using it to travel with us.

There is no need for you to do anything further at this time. We will be in touch as and when the time is appropriate.If you have already contacted us to make a special arrangement regarding your ticket, your arrangement stands and there is no need to contact us again.

Is your ticket office still open?

With the health and safety of our customers and team our number one priority, we have decided to temporarily close our Vehicle Ferry ticket offices, at both Southampton T1 and East Cowes, until further notice.

You can still make a booking or amend a sailing online via our website, or alternatively phone our contact centre on 02380 019192 for additional help.

Please note: from Wednesday 25 March we will temporarily be accepting only contactless card payments at our remaining ticket offices.

Foot passenger tickets are still available to buy from the self-service machines, which are located at the terminals.

Are the toilets open on-board and in terminals?

Yes, customer toilets in Southampton Terminal 1 (Vehicle Ferry Service) and East Cowes Terminal (Vehicle Ferry Service) are open 24 hours a day.

Please note: At times access is restricted for the Southampton Terminal 1 toilets, should this happen on your visit please alert a member of staff and they will gladly supply you with a code to gain entry.   

West Cowes Terminal (Red Jet Service) toilets are open between the hours of 05:30 - 09:15 and 15:15 – 19:45.

Southampton Terminal 2 (Red Jet Service) toilets are open between the hours of 04:45 – 08:45 and 15:15 – 19:15.

The Vehicle Ferry toilets are open during sailings.

Do you have sufficient hand gel / hand washing facilities?

Both in our terminals and on-board we are encouraging all passengers and staff to follow NHS advice on the best way to stay protected, which is to thoroughly wash your hands as often as possible for a minimum of 20 seconds.

We have hand washing facilities in all of our toilets, both on-board and in the terminals.

In addition we also have hand gel dispensers in public and staff areas, which are regularly replenished where possible. If you discover a dispenser is empty, please use the hand washing facilities in our nearest toilets as an alternative.

What is Red Funnel doing in response to COVID-19?

Red Funnel has an internal Pandemic Response Plan (PRP) and is working closely with the Isle of Wight’s Local Resilience Forum (LRF) to ensure that we are taking all appropriate, effective safety measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The LRF represents the highest level of planning for emergency preparedness on the Isle of Wight and includes representation from Public Health England, the Hampshire Constabulary, as well as the Island’s major transport operators. Red Funnel’s PRP is closely aligned to the overarching plan being executed by the LRF, which is vital to ensure a coordinated approach to keeping the Island safe and supported.

Deployment of Red Funnel’s PRP coincides with guidance from the NHS. At this time, the NHS has classed COVID-19 as a Level 4 Incident. Accordingly, we are currently deploying the aspects of our plan which are appropriate under this Level 4 classification.

Internally, we have designated a Pandemic Response Team and have made the continuous review and assessment of our Pandemic Response Plan one of our highest priorities at this time. 

Is Red Funnel conducting any health / temperature screenings?

No. Such widescale screening would need to be organised and deployed via the NHS or Public Health England, and at this time we are not aware of any such plans to set up testing hubs at our terminals. Red Funnel staff do not possess the specific expertise necessary to conduct mass screenings, nor do we possess the necessary large volume of equipment. Making decisions about who can and who cannot travel is a complex matter where the NHS, Public Health England or another third-party authority would need involvement, and as COVID-19 is currently classed as a Level 4 Incident we do not anticipate that such measures would be taken at this time.

At this time we have implemented temperature checks for employees. Employees are required to check their temperature before their shift and are not permitted to work if they have a temperate of over 37.8 degrees Celsius.

What additional health & safety precautions is Red Funnel taking at this time?

Passengers will notice a high level of communication around our vessels and terminals, in the form of signage and customer announcements, reminding passengers about the importance of practising good hygiene.

Led by our Pandemic Response Team, Red Funnel will continue to follow the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Public Health England (PHE) in regards to COVID-19. We will also continue to monitor all regional government and council information relating to the tracking of the virus and health and safety measures, as well as playing an active role in working together with all the members of the Isle of Wight’s Local Resilience Forum.

Increased cleaning schedules

We have further enhanced the normal cleaning schedules to continuously cover high-touch areas with more frequency. We are using the recommended broad-spectrum sanitiser on all public, crew and bridge team areas. Across the business we have increased the amount of hand sanitiser dispensers and increased the communications regarding handwashing and personal hygiene for staff and passengers. We have also stipulated that all staff wear protective gloves for both their own protection and to minimise the potential transmission, and we are ensuring the correct personal protective equipment is worn whenever recommended. We are also removing some non-essential equipment from terminals and vessels to minimise high-touch points.

All areas of the ships and terminals are subject to a high frequency cleaning scheduled, but we are paying particular attention to specific high-touch areas including, but not limited to, hand rails, door plates, door handles, chair grab points, lift buttons, taps, counter tops, sink areas, radios, light switches etc. These are being cleaned continuously on a rotational cleaning schedule.

Red Funnel is using recommended and highly concentrated industry-standard cleaning products. These include a multi-surface cleaner for general soil removal and hard surface cleanliness, as well as a recommended sanitiser to remove bacteria and reduce the risk of other pathogens.

The current and specific advice is that deep cleaning is only advisory in areas that have definitely been exposed to pathogens. Deep cleaning requires a minimum of six hours with no human presence to be effective and, we have plans in place should the need to deep clean arise, but to date, this has not been necessary, and we are confident that our rigorous cleaning schedule is keeping our ferries as safe and clean as possible. We continue to comply with all guidance and advice from government and legislative bodies and are ready to react to changes in this if required.

Air conditioning units continue to be cleaned as normal in line with advice, however we will continue to follow guidelines and react if changes are required. None of our vessels are ‘sealed environments’ and therefore fresh air flows through naturally.

I have further questions. Who should I contact?

Email us at: This is the best way for us to take in your questions/comments and get them to the right place, as well as ensure the fastest response.

Please note: our Contact Centre and Customer Services are currently experiencing a very high volume of calls and emails, and we thank you for your patience as we try to process these.