Sail Safe

Safety is always our TOP priority, and in these times, we know it’s also more important to you than ever. That’s why we’ve implemented a load of extra measures to keep you safe when you sail.


Please note: Face Coverings must be worn at all times whilst travelling on our ferries, and in terminals from Friday 24 July.

Find out more

Relax, knowing cleaning and hygiene is top of the list

High Frequency Cleaning Schedules

Our vessels have always been cleaned to a high standard, but now we’ve increased the frequency even further, paying extra attention to high-touch areas such as hand rails, door handles, arm rests and table tops.

Hand gel dispensers in all areas

We’re encouraging passengers to follow NHS advice and wash their hands as often as possible for a minimum of 20 seconds. In addition, we’ve added hand gel dispensers to all public and staff areas, which are replenished regularly

Our crew taking care of you

Our staff are wearing PPE, for your protection as well as theirs. As well as keeping up our increased cleaning rotas, they’re there to help you throughout your journey. Please be patient and kind as they do all they can to help you sail safe 

Extra assurance whilst on board our ferries

Face Coverings Must Be Worn On Board

It is currently mandatory to wear a face covering on all our ferries, for the protection of all our customers and our team. If you’re travelling on the vehicle ferry, they are optional in your car and on the outer decks.

"Fresh Air" Air Conditioning

One of the advantages of ferry travel over flying is we can filter in fresh sea air throughout your journey.

All our ferries operate this system, so relax knowing the air on board is fresh and not being recirculated.

Enjoy our sun deck and outdoor spaces

Spend at least part of your journey on our outside passenger decks, and you’ll find additional seating and space, plus you can enjoy the sea air and great views on the way to and from the Isle of Wight. Don’t forget to dress for the weather. 

Social distancing measures

We’ve put social distancing measures in place in our terminals, and on-board our vessels, which we will need your help to make work.

Our capacity has been significantly reduced, to help us meet customer demand and maintain social distancing on board. It won’t always be possible to maintain the optimum 2-metre gap between passengers, due to the sizes and layouts of our terminals and vessels, but with our customer’s help and cooperation we can look to maximise social distancing throughout your journey.

Things to look out for:

Observe all social distancing signage and floor markings, especially where passages are marked as one-way or no entry 

Where possible, sit with the people you are travelling with and keep your distance from others

Observe all signage indicating maximum person limits in spaces such as lifts, toilet facilities and queues, and wait until spaces are available before entering

How you can help:

Keep as much space between yourself and others as possible 

Check all available A-deck and B-deck lounges to seek out the most open spaces 

Spend a portion of your journey on our outer decks, where space is more widely available

Face Coverings

From 15 June it is mandatory for adults and children 11 years and over to wear a face covering on board our ferries. From Friday 24 July it is also mandatory to wear a face covering in our terminals. 

For more information, and to view the list of exemptions, go to our Face Coverings FAQ page.

Embarking / Disembarking the Red Jet Service

Customers using the Red Jet whilst social distancing measures are in place will need to follow our new embarking and disembarking procedures:

>> When boarding please head to the furthest available seat from the entrance
>> Avoid the seats marked "not in use"
>> On arrival please remain seated until further instructed by the Cabin Attendant

These new procedures are in place for the safety of you and our staff, and we appreciate your cooperation for helping us to implement them.

Additional advice for customers

For your added protection we are also asking our customers to take the following preventative measures when they travel with us:

Travel Off-Peak if possible

For added reassurance on your journeys, we also recommend you consider travelling during off-peak times and days. When planning travel it is worth considering:

  • Mondays and Fridays are usually our busiest days
  • Peak commuter times (07:30-09:00 and 16:30-18:00 during the week) are usually busier
  • Early-mornings and late evenings are usually quieter, and Sunday is typically our quietest day

For more info go to our timetables or check availability on the booking page 

Passenger Assistance

Our staff are fully trained to support passengers who may require additional assistance throughout all stages of travelling with Red Funnel. For passengers with reduced mobility or additional needs, please rest assured that we have not changed our ability to serve you. At this time, we are also:

  • Taking special care to sanitise all mobility aids before and after each use
  • Asking our staff to wear appropriate PPE
  • Maintaining a reserved area for wheelchair users

Your comfort and safety are extremely important to us. If we can provide you with further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us before you sail, or speak to a member of staff when you arrive or board.

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. 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

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.

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?

Face coverings must be worn to travel on our ferries, and in terminals from 24 July. Therefore all customers will need to enjoy food and drink on the outer decks if they wish to consume whilst travelling. 

The outlets currently open on our service are: Steam Bar on B-Deck & Steam Outlet in North Lounge (on-board) / Steam Cafe at Terminal 1 Southampton (Vehicle Ferry). We are currently limited to selling prepacked food and snacks only. 

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.

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.

The vehicle ferries, have been reduced to a maximum capacity of 500 passengers at this time. This is a reduction of 395 passengers against our normal operating limit of 895.

This information is accurate as of 3 August 2020.

Is the Signature Lounge space open to everyone?

In line with the rest of the vessel, we are currently operating to a reduced capacity inside our Signature Lounge. The Signature Lounge was introduced in response to customer demand for a quieter, more private and adult-oriented crossing. Since its inception, many customers have discovered this space and now expect it as an option. The Lounge also runs on a different service model. Similar to admission-based airport lounges, our Signature Lounge operates in very much the same format, and while at times, it may not always be full, we cannot change our service and business model in this space; this would be unfair to the customers who use it.

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.