COVID-19 (Coronavirus FAQs)

Updated 27.08.21

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

Although the law has changed from 19 July, we are continuing to ask all passengers and team members to wear face coverings, to help ensure their safety when travelling with us. This includes embarking and disembarking, travelling inside the passenger lounges on our ferries, and inside our terminals. They are not required on our outside decks, when eating or drinking, or for anyone who is exempt, or under 11 years of age.

Future Bookings, Amends & Cancellations

If you are planning to make a booking, or have a future booking which you are unsure about, we offer several flexible options, should you need to change or cancel your trip.

More Travel Questions, Answered:

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

Although the law has changed from 19 July, we are continuing to ask all passengers and team members to continue wearing face coverings, to help ensure their safety when travelling with us. This includes embarking and disembarking, travelling inside the passenger lounges on our ferries, and inside our terminals. They are not required on our outside decks, when eating or drinking, or for anyone who is exempt, or under 11 years of age.

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 where the advice is to self-isolate upon return. 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 I eat and drink on board?

Yes. While we ask all passengers to continue to wear face coverings at all times whilst inside our passenger lounges and terminals, they may now remove them to eat and drink whilst seated. If you cannot find a seat, food/drink should be consumed outside, on the outer decks. We also ask that once you finish consuming any food or drinks indoors that you replace your face covering as soon as possible.

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

Ultimately, the responsibility for social distancing remains with each individual. We urge everyone to take responsibility for their actions and to continue to keep their distance from others passengers as much as possible. We also strongly encourage making use of our outside decks during favourable weather.

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.