CORONAVIRUS LATEST: ESSENTIAL TRAVEL ONLY. Reduced timetable with fewer sailings

CORONAVIRUS LATEST: ESSENTIAL TRAVEL ONLY. Reduced timetable with fewer sailings

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Wightlink Coronavirus update

Bookings should be made for essential travel only following HM Government guidelines.

You can find the latest information from Wightlink below.

Latest update 31 March 2020 at 21:30

The coronavirus outbreak has had a significant impact on the numbers of people who want to travel to and from the Isle of Wight.

Fewer people have been travelling in recent weeks and numbers have fallen heavily since last week’s announcement by the Prime Minister asking people to only go outside for food, health reasons or work (if they cannot work from home).

This has affected all cross-Solent ferry companies and is likely to last for many weeks.

We are currently running a reduced timetable with fewer sailings during this emergency. Freight and essential services for the Island are being prioritised.

We are receiving a high volume of calls and enquiries during this unprecedented time, therefore it may take up to 28 days for our Contact Centre team to get back to enquiries or refund requests.

Changes to our service

We regret that we have now suspended our Lymington-Yarmouth car ferry route until normal services can be restored. The suspension will reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading to Wightlink staff based at Lymington and Yarmouth and further into the community.

It also means that we will be able to concentrate vital resources onto our Portsmouth-Fishbourne service by using the skills and experience of some colleagues currently working at Lymington and Yarmouth.

There will continue to be hourly sailings on the Portsmouth-Fishbourne route and Portsmouth-Ryde Pier Head FastCat passenger services. Full details can be found on the Wightlink website www.wightlink.co.uk and the Wightlink mobile app.

There is room on our larger Portsmouth-Fishbourne car ferries for all the vehicles and people displaced from the Lymington-Yarmouth route. We are transferring existing vehicle bookings for essential travellers from Lymington-Yarmouth to the Portsmouth-Fishbourne route. You can also amend your tickets yourself for free online.

We ask that all essential travellers please respect the official advice on social distancing and hand washing.

We hope all our customers understand that bringing essential supplies to the Isle of Wight has priority at present along with supporting the Island’s NHS and the emergency services.

Information for essential travellers

All of our routes

Following Government advice, we have closed our Costa and Wight Taste outlets, to minimise the spread of Coronavirus, until further notice. This includes our Camber Café and Camber Express at the Portsmouth car ferry port, the Creek Café at Fishbourne, the Castle Café at Yarmouth and other facilities at ports and on board Wightlink ships.

We have closed our ticket offices to reduce the risk of the spread of coronavirus to members of staff and the wider community. Essential travellers who want to purchase tickets during this time can easily do so here on our website and ticket vending machines are available at all our ports for foot passengers.

We have also temporarily changed our booking and check-in times to allow essential travellers to spend as little time in our ports as possible. This is also to limit contact with our colleagues and other essential travellers. Bookings and amends can now be made up to 15 minutes before the scheduled sailing time. You can now also check in up to 15 minutes before your scheduled departure time.

On arrival to the Isle of Wight, the Isle of Wight Council is asking all essential travellers to isolate themselves on arrival and to minimise social contact.

Under the leadership of Isle of Wight Council during this crisis, all cross-Solent operators are working together to keep the Island connected.  Pre-purchased Wightlink foot passenger tickets will now be accepted on Red Funnel and Hovertravel.  This includes rail tickets and season tickets.

Portsmouth-Fishbourne travellers only

  • Essential travellers on St Clare will be staying in their vehicle during the crossing. There will not be access to toilet facilities on board. St Clare sails on the even hour from Portsmouth (06:00, 08:00 etc) and the odd hour from Fishbourne (07:00, 09:00 etc). Motorcycles cannot be carried on these crossings.
  • Essential travellers using Victoria of Wight will usually be able to stay in their vehicles. However, if the ferry is transporting a petrol tanker or other vehicle defined as carrying ‘dangerous goods’, they will have to go to the lounge. Victoria of Wight sails on the odd hour from Portsmouth (09:00, 11:00 etc) and the even hour from Fishbourne (10:00, 12:00 etc). Motorcycles may be carried, please get in touch with the Contact Centre for more details.
  • Foot passengers undertaking essential travel will be able to use the car ferry between Portsmouth-Fishbourne. They may have to prove why they want to cross the Solent and will be carried at Masters’ discretion.

Keeping up to date

Unfortunately, there may be further changes to our services, in line with Government advice and traffic volumes. All updates will be posted to this page as soon as we can share them.

We are sorry that the spread of Coronavirus has forced us to reduce our sailings and look forward to carrying large numbers of Islanders and holidaymakers across the Solent again when the danger has passed.

If you have any questions, please email feedback@wightlink.co.uk.

Frequently asked questions

At the start of this outbreak of coronavirus, we reviewed our systems and procedures to make sure we were following all official guidance from Public Health England and our regulators, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

We installed more hand sanitisers at our ports and on our ships and emphasised the importance of good hygiene to everyone. This includes frequent hand washing, using tissues to catch coughs and sneezes and keeping your distance from others if you feel unwell.

Crew members are continually cleaning our vessels and passenger terminals.

All our ships are well-ventilated with fresh air, not recycled air, and you can choose to travel on the outside decks of our car ferries and passenger FastCats (during daylight hours and subject to weather conditions) if you prefer.

Wightlink continues to work closely with the relevant authorities including local councils and the NHS through membership of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Resilience Forum.

Safety of our customers and colleagues is our top priority and we are following all the advice and guidance issued by HM Government.

The official advice highlights that the most effective way to avoid contracting the virus is to wash your hands with soap and hot water and practice social distancing. Wightlink is therefore reminding essential travellers and staff of the importance of hygiene such as frequent hand washing through notices in bathrooms. We have increased the number of hand sanitisers around ships and ports.

Our Action Team is assessing the likely impact of COVID-19 on our services.

We have suspended our Lymington-Yarmouth route until normal services can be restored because of extremely low volumes of traffic following the outbreak of Coronavirus and the Government direction to non-essential workers to stay at home.

This will reduce the risk of the disease spreading to Wightlink staff and further into the community.

The suspension will allow us to concentrate vital resources onto Fishbourne-Portsmouth the main freight route.

Can I move my vehicle booking from the Lymington-Yarmouth route to Portsmouth-Fishbourne?

Yes. You can amend your booking to any available sailing on our Portsmouth-Fishbourne route free of charge online. Please remember all travel to and from the Isle of Wight at this time should be for essential purposes only and that all essential travellers must respect the official advice on social distancing by staying 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times.

Can I swap my Lymington-Yarmouth vehicle ticket for a foot passenger ticket on Portsmouth-Ryde?

Yes. You can amend your vehicle booking to our Portsmouth-Ryde FastCat foot service free of charge online. Please remember all travel to and from the Isle of Wight at this time should be for essential purposes only and that all essential travellers must respect the official advice on social distancing by staying 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times.

Can I swap my Lymington-Yarmouth vehicle ticket for a foot passenger ticket on the Portsmouth-Fishbourne car ferry?

Yes. You can amend your vehicle ticket to a foot ticket for travel on selected sailings on our Portsmouth-Fishbourne car ferry service. Please remember all travel to and from the Isle of Wight at this time should be for essential purposes only and that all essential travellers must respect the official advice on social distancing by staying 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times.

Will I get a refund if I have a Standard ticket?

Yes. You can cancel your Standard ticket online for a full refund. We are receiving a high volume of calls and enquiries during this unprecedented time, therefore it may take up to 28 days for our Contact Centre team to get back to enquiries or refund requests.

Will I get a refund if I have an Economy ticket?

You can cancel your Economy ticket on the Lymington-Yarmouth route online for a full refund. Visit www.wightlink.co.uk/contactus and fill out the refund request. We are receiving a high volume of calls and enquiries during this unprecedented time, therefore it may take up to 28 days for our Contact Centre team to get back to enquiries or refund requests.

Will I get a refund if I have a season ticket?

We will refund any unused months of your Season ticket on the Lymington-Yarmouth route. We are receiving a high volume of calls and enquiries during this unprecedented time, therefore it may take up to 28 days for our Contact Centre team to get back to enquiries or refund requests.

Can I move my booking for a future date instead?

You can amend your Standard and Economy ticket booking to travel on a future date free online. However, different sailing times and dates may change the ticket price.

I am an essential traveller booked on the Lymington-Yarmouth route; will I have to travel Portsmouth-Fishbourne?

Our Portsmouth-Fishbourne car ferry and Portsmouth-Ryde FastCat foot passenger service are available for essential travel.
During the crisis, Red Funnel and Hovertravel will also accept pre-purchased Wightlink foot, rail and season tickets.

Some people have asked if they can stay in their car or van on our vehicle decks during the crossing, rather than going up to the passenger lounges. We are now able to permit this on our Portsmouth-Fishbourne route, following detailed discussions and agreement with our regulator, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Portsmouth – Fishbourne route

  • Essential travellers on St Clare will be staying in their vehicle during the crossing. There will not be access to toilet facilities on board. St Clare sails on the even hour from Portsmouth (06:00, 08:00 etc) and the odd hour from Fishbourne (07:00, 09:00 etc). Motorcycles cannot be carried on these crossings
  • Essential travellers using Victoria of Wight will usually be able to stay in their vehicles. However, if the ferry is transporting a petrol tanker or other vehicle defined as carrying ‘dangerous goods’, they will have to go to the lounge. Victoria of Wight sails on the odd hour from Portsmouth (11:00, 13:00 etc) and the even hour from Fishbourne (10:00, 12:00 etc). Motorcycles may be carried, please get in touch with the Contact Centre for more details.
  • Foot passengers undertaking essential travel (eg NHS staff) will be able to use both car ferries. They may have to prove why they want to cross the Solent and will be carried at Masters’ discretion.

There may be further changes to Wightlink services, in line with Government advice and traffic volumes.

To download information about remaining in your vehicle during your crossing, please click here.

Why are your policies different across your ferries?

Safety is our top priority. We hope all customers understand that we are concentrating on bringing essential supplies to the Isle of Wight at present along with supporting the Island’s NHS and the emergency services. We have more capacity to carry freight on our larger ships that cross between Portsmouth and Fishbourne so this service will carry most of this traffic.

Why can’t we allow essential travellers remaining in their vehicles to use the lounges, or toilets on St Clare or Victoria of Wight?

Safety is our top priority. In the event of an evacuation, passengers must all be in one place so that crew can quickly direct and assist them.

Will we be allowed to keep our engines on during the crossing?

All engines will be turned off for the duration of the crossing.
Because of this, we recommend that essential travellers bring an extra layer of clothing or blankets in the car – particularly if they are travelling with elderly passengers.

Will I be allowed to get out of my vehicle and walk around the car decks?

For safety reasons all essential travellers will have to remain inside their vehicles for the duration of the crossing.

Will there be any staff around if I need help?

Our ship’s crew will be patrolling the car desk regularly and will be available if needed.

How will I know about the safety and evacuation procedures?

A leaflet will be handed to all booked essential travellers on St Clare or Victoria of Wight at check in. We also ask that all essential travellers please respect the official advice on social distancing.

If I want to change my booking, will I be charged?

There is no fee to change your booking online, or by calling our contact centre, to move to a ‘remain in vehicle’ sailing. However, different sailing times and dates may change the ticket price. We would advise essential travellers to try and amend bookings themselves online, as our Contact Centre is particularly busy at this time.

What’s the timetable for Wightlink’s ships during this time?

Please see our Live Service Status for details of our current timetables

Can motorcycles and foot passengers travel on St Clare or Victoria of Wight ‘remain in vehicle’ sailings?

Unfortunately we are not able to accommodate motorcycles or foot passengers on most of our Portsmouth-Fishbourne sailings. You will be able to travel on some sailings operated on Victoria of Wight, please call the Contact Centre for more details (ie DG sailings).

Following Government advice, we have closed our Costa and Wight Taste outlets, to minimise the spread of Coronavirus, until further notice. This includes our Camber Café and Camber Express at the Portsmouth car ferry port, the Creek Café at Fishbourne, the Castle Café at Yarmouth and other facilities at ports and on board Wightlink ships.

We have also closed our ticket offices to reduce the risk of the spread of coronavirus to members of staff and the wider community.

Essential travellers who want to book during this time can easily do so here on our website and ticket vending machines are available at all our ports for foot passengers. Our Contact Centre is open 08:00-20:00 on weekdays and 09:00-18:00 on weekends on 0333 999 7333.
Please remember all travel to and from the Isle of Wight at this time should be for essential purposes only and that all essential travellers must respect the official advice on social distancing by staying 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times.

The Government is not advising transport companies to screen essential travellers as it is not an accurate way of detecting people with the illness.
All travel to and from the Isle of Wight at this time should be for essential purposes only and that all essential travellers must respect the official advice on social distancing by staying 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times.

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Travel to and from the Isle of Wight at this time should be for essential purposes only and that all essential travellers must respect the official advice on social distancing by staying 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times.
See the NHS website for more information about Coronavirus and advice for travellers https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
You can also email feedback@wightlink.co.uk to ask us any questions related to ferry travel.

If your booking was made through a third party ticketing service, comparison site, holiday company, tour operator or travel agent, please contact that company direct to make changes or request a refund. You will be able to find their details on your booking confirmation.

You can book with confidence because you can always transfer your ticket to another date if circumstances change. During the current restrictions, there are no amendment fees on Standard or Economy tickets.


Find out the size of your vehicle by entering your registration number

At this time, this feature is only available for cars and vans

Registration number

E.g CU57ABC
Without any roofboxes, towbars, bicycle racks or trailers your vehicle should be:
Vehicle length

Vehicle height

Please note: vehicle size data is taken from a third party database and is provided here as a guide. As some vehicles may vary from the designed specifications, please ensure that the measurements are correct before booking.

Wrong details? Please click here to enter your vehicle sizes manually

Your vehicle registration number could not be found

Choose your vehicle size manually here, you can find your vehicle height and width at Parkers.

Without any roofboxes, towbars, bicycle racks or trailers your vehicle should be:
Vehicle length

Vehicle height

Please note: vehicle size data is taken from a third party database and is provided here as a guide. As some vehicles may vary from the designed specifications, please ensure that the measurements are correct before booking.

Wrong details? Please click here to enter your vehicle sizes manually

Is there anything on your vehicle which makes it longer or higher than the dimensions shown here, such as a bike rack, towbar or roof box, but excluding a trailer or caravan?

Does your vehicle have a trailer or caravan?

Please select which type of vehicle you have

Below you will find all other vehicle types with some information around their size.
We recommend that you measure your vehicle before booking

Dangerous goods (including compressed gas etc. used for medical purposes) must be declared at least 24 hours before travel.

Camping gas canisters must be declared when you arrive at the port.

Please measure your motorcycle from your front wheel to the rear of your bike, including any extras which make the vehicle longer or taller such as a bike rack, towbar or roof box, but excluding a trailer or caravan.
Please measure your vehicle from your front bumper to the rear of your car, and from the bottom of your tyres to the roof of your car, including any extras which make the vehicle longer or taller such as a bike rack, towbar or roof box, but excluding a trailer or caravan.

What is the length and height of the vehicle?

Does your vehicle have a trailer or caravan?

This information will be added to your booking