COVID-19 (Coronavirus FAQs)

Updated 12.04.21

Travelling with us soon? Please ensure to check the latest government guidance prior to booking your ferry travel.

We also understand that you may have questions about how the Covid-19 pandemic is specifically impacting ferry travel and your options at this time. Below is a selection of important information and FAQs we’d encourage you to review before travelling with us. Should you have any questions or need assistance, please get in touch with us at and our friendly team will be very happy to assist you.

Below is a selection of important information for anyone who still needs to travel, along with FAQs relating to future travel plans and bookings.

Wear a Face Covering when you travel

Please note: By law it is mandatory for all passengers to wear a face covering when travelling with Red Funnel unless under 11 years of age or exempt. This rule applies indoors on our ferries, when embarking and disembarking our ferries on foot, and when inside our terminals. Face coverings are optional by recommended on our outer passenger decks and do not need to be worn inside vehicles.

For more info, go to our Face Coverings FAQs page.

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?

Yes. By law, it is mandatory for all passengers to wear a face covering when travelling with Red Funnel unless under 11 years of age or exempt. This rule applies indoors on our ferries, when embarking and disembarking our ferries on foot, and when inside our terminals. Face coverings are optional but recommended on our outer passenger decks and do not need to be worn 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.

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 information, please see our Face Coverings FAQs 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.


Are you still offering food & drink services?

In addition to vending machines in our terminals, food and drink services are only available on board our vehicle ferries in our main ‘Refuel’ food service area, located mid-ship on B-deck just across from the toilets.  Please note that our range is reduced/limited at this time and that selection and hours of operation may vary.

As face coverings must be worn aboard our ferries and inside our terminals we also remind all passengers that food and drink may only be consumed on the outer decks at this time. The only exception to this if passengers need to eat/drink for medical reasons or if the passenger is under 11 years of age.

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 56% of normal capacity, to a maximum of 500 passengers. This is a reduction of 395 passengers against our normal operating limit of 895.

Our Red Jets are limited to 72% of normal capacity, to a maximum of 200 passengers. This is a reduction of 79 passengers against our normal operating limit of 279.

This information is accurate as of 12 April 2021

Is the Signature Lounge space open?

Yes the Signature Lounge has re-opened on a reduced service. To book Signature Lounge, please add the option to your basket upon checking out.

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.

If restrictions have prevented you from making use of your Season Ticket and you will soon resume travelling again, please contact to arrange your extension.

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: We are only accepting 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 and UK Government and varies in accordance with the most current incident level 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.

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.