COVID-19 (Coronavirus FAQs)

Updated 13.07.20

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, such as travelling to meet with friends and family, you will 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.

Holiday accommodation on the Isle of Wight is now open and you can book ferry travel in advance for future dates.

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. More info is available on our Face Coverings FAQs page.

Current Timetables

We are still operating a temporarily reduced timetable on our vehicle ferry and have introduced daily “Stay in Vehicle” crossings for customers who would prefer to remain in their car throughout the journey. 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 temporary 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.

Your 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.

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

Is the Isle of Wight open for overnight holiday travel?

Yes, following the UK Government announcement on 23 June confirming the re-opening of hospitality businesses, including hotels and accommodation from 4 July, you are now able to book a visit to the Isle of Wight for an overnight stay or holiday.

When you do travel with us, take some time to plan your journey and learn what you can do to sail safe. For added reassurance on your journey, we recommend you consider travelling during off-peak times and days. More information on this can be found on our sail safe page.

Can we stay in our vehicle during the crossing?

Yes, on select sailings we will be operating a "stay in vehicle" service. You can view the sailings scheduled for this on our service status page.

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) has temporarily granted Red Funnel with the ability to allow passengers to remain in their vehicles on select crossings. There will still be a number of sailings each day on which this is not possible, due to the temporary safety regulations surrounding vehicle numbers. We advertise the confirmed sailings in advance, and will inform customers before boarding for any other sailings that meet the requirements for them to stay in their vehicle.

For more information go to our Stay in Vehicle page.

Are you still offering food & drink services?

We currently have a limited takeaway service for food and drink available on board our ferries. Anything purchased on board must be consumed on either the outer decks, or taken with you for later consumption once you disembark.

There are also drinks and snacks available to purchase from 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.

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: customerservices@redfunnel.co.uk 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.