Prepare to sail with confidence
Coronavirus: Read about our measures to help keep you safe

Coronavirus: Read about our measures to help keep you safe

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What to expect when travelling with us

Your experience during the coronavirus pandemic

Updated 31 July 2020 at 08:30

The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on the Isle of Wight and the ferries that connect this beautiful island with the mainland.

As the world gradually opens up, we’re delighted to once again be your link to what matters; be that a change of scenery, spending quality time with friends and family, activity and adventure, or going somewhere else to simply do nothing at all.

We have been crossing the Solent all the way through this crisis; so you can rest assured that we are well versed in the latest safety measures recommended by the Government and we’ve put in lots of new steps to keep you safe in our ports and at sea.

Your experience on a Wightlink ferry is likely to be a little different to normal, as we strive to help control
coronavirus.

Take a look at our video to find out how to travel safely, to help protect yourselves and our colleagues.


Large, open onboard spaces

Large, open onboard spaces

There’s plenty of space for everyone onboard.

If you are travelling on either our Portsmouth – Fishbourne or Lymington-Yarmouth route, you will need to get out of your vehicle and enjoy the crossing in our spacious passenger lounges or outside decks.

A takeaway café service will be available on most vehicle crossings. Customers can take off their face coverings to eat and drink.

Flexible bookings

Flexible bookings

There are no online amendment fees on either of our vehicle ticket types – Standard or Economy – so you won’t lose out if you change your mind about when you want to sail. If you amend over the phone with an Economy ticket, you’ll be charged a £5 amendment fee.

And if you’ve purchased a Standard vehicle ticket, your sailing is refundable, minus a £5 cancellation fee. So, you’ll have reassurance if your circumstances change.

Foot passengers are welcome onboard our vehicle ferries. However you must book your ticket in advance, online or via the Wightlink App to be sure of travelling on your chosen service

We're Good To Go!

We're Good To Go!

We are delighted to have achieved the ‘We’re Good to Go’ mark from VisitEngland – a way of letting you know which businesses across the tourism industry have made necessary changes to their day-to-day workings because of coronavirus.

This includes adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance and carrying out the necessary risk assessments.

You can read more about our health and safety measures below.

What services are we offering?

Our Portsmouth-Fishbourne and Lymington-Yarmouth routes are currently welcoming pre-booked vehicles and foot passengers on a revised timetable. We have recently added more sailings and are constantly monitoring demand in line with government guidance.

Our Portsmouth Harbour-Ryde Pier Head FastCat passenger service is also operating again, on a revised timetable.

Live timetables

What's open on the Isle of Wight?

With the Island now ready for visitors and many attractions and landmarks opening their gates, we’ve produced a regularly updated version of Wightlife magazine so you can see what’s open.

This handy guide has the latest news on attractions, landmarks and accommodation providers – whether they’re open, about to open or remain closed for the time being

See what's open

Information for travellers

Face coverings

Face coverings

It is now a legal requirement to wear a face covering when using public transport in England.

If you’re travelling on one of our ferries, you will need to wear a face covering. This includes inside our customer buildings – including our takeaway cafes – inside our passenger lounges on board and when moving about the interior of the ship. Customers can take off their face coverings to eat and drink. Coverings are optional (but highly recommended) on our outside decks.

There are some exemptions; please use the button below to learn more.

find out more
Cafes

Cafes

Our Camber Café (Portsmouth Gunwharf port), Creek Café (Fishbourne port) and Wight Taste cafe (Lymington port) are open for takeaway drinks and snacks. You must wear a face covering to enter our customer buildings. 

A takeaway café service will be available on most of our vehicle sailings and you can take off your face covering to eat and drink.

At all of our retail outlets, payment will only be accepted by card or contactless devices for the time being.

find out more
How to book

How to book

If you need to purchase a ferry ticket during this time – whether you’re travelling on foot or with a vehicle –  you can use this website or the Wightlink app to do so. Ticket vending machines at our ports can also book foot tickets for specific sailings, depending on availability. Our ticket offices are currently closed.

If you’re a foot passenger on our Portsmouth-Fishbourne or Lymington-Yarmouth route, you must book in advance if you want to be sure of travelling on your preferred sailing.

If you have a discount code, we strongly recommend you book online or via our Contact Centre or Business Development Team, as our ticket machines cannot offer access to all of these.

find out more

Keeping up to date

There may be further changes to our services, in line with Government advice and traffic volumes. Please come back to this page for regular updates.

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

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 or Business Development Team to get back to enquiries or refund requests.

Please check the detailed FAQs below first before getting in touch, as you may find your question is already answered here.

Stay alert

Together as an island, we’re doing all that we can to protect the health of our local community and those visiting. With that in mind, we’d like to remind you to follow the Government’s advice and stay alert to help control coronavirus.
This means you must:

– stay at home as much as possible
– work from home if you can
– limit contact with other people
– keep your distance from people not in your household (2 metres apart where possible)
– wash your hands regularly
– not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms of coronavirus

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 as per the Government guidelines.

Crew members are continually cleaning our vessels and passenger terminals. All our ships are well-ventilated with fresh, not recycled, air, and you can choose to travel on the outside decks of our car ferries (subject to weather conditions) if you prefer.

We temporarily suspended some of our services because of extremely low volumes of traffic following the outbreak of coronavirus and the Government direction requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes. These changes were made to reduce the risk of the disease spreading to Wightlink colleagues and further into the community.

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.

The 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. We are therefore reminding travellers and colleagues of the importance of hygiene, such as frequent hand washing, through notices in our bathrooms. We have increased the number of hand sanitisers around ships and ports.

Yes, on 15 June 2020 the government made it mandatory for passengers to wear face coverings when using public transport in England. All our customers, except for children under the age of 11 and those that are exempt, are now required to carry a face covering with them at all times. Customers will be required to wear their face covering when travelling on our ferries and when using facilities inside our customer buildings. Customers can take off their face coverings to eat and drink.

Why do we have to start wearing face coverings on ferries?

On 15 June 2020 the government made it mandatory for passengers over the age of 11yrs to wear face coverings when using public transport in England.

When it is necessary to use public transport, people may be more likely to be in enclosed spaces for longer periods of time where there is a greater risk of the spread of coronavirus. This differs from enclosed spaces like shops, for example, where people can more easily go outside if social distancing is not possible and where shop owners can place limits on the number of customers allowed inside at any one time.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has set out that using face coverings in this setting can provide some small additional protection to fellow passengers and can help people to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus if they are suffering from coronavirus, but not showing symptoms.

What if I don’t have a face covering or I forget mine?

Whether you are travelling on foot or in a vehicle, unfortunately you will not be permitted to travel if you are not wearing a face covering.

We will also not be able to permit you inside our customer buildings without a face covering.

There are some circumstances, for health, age or equality reasons, whereby people are not expected to wear face coverings. Please refer to the Government’s advice for more detail.

There’s plenty of advice for making your own face coverings on the government website.

Do I need to buy a face mask?

Face coverings are not the same as face masks. It is important that you do not use medical grade PPE masks and ensure that these remain available for frontline staff.

Face coverings should cover the mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably and can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head to give a snug fit.

There’s plenty of advice for making your own face coverings on the government website.

Will you be supplying face coverings or masks for customers?

No. You must bring your own face covering in order to travel or visit our customer buildings.

How will you be policing this?

If you’re travelling on foot, you’ll be asked to put your face covering on before boarding the ship. If you don’t comply, unfortunately you will not be permitted to board the ship.

If you’re arriving in a vehicle, you will be asked to put your face covering on when you leave your vehicle for the the lounges or if you use our customer buildings.

Are certain people exempt from this?

Some people don’t have to wear a face covering for health, age or equality reasons. Children under the age of 11 also do not have to wear a face covering.

Please refer to the government guidelines for more information.

We suspended some of our routes temporarily because of extremely low volumes of traffic following the outbreak of coronavirus and the Government restrictions. We have recently added more sailings and are constantly monitoring demand in line with government guidance.

The current combined timetable has been agreed with the Isle of Wight Council’s Transport Infrastructure Board. It is designed to provide enough capacity for Islanders and visitors while helping all operators survive financially, fund our vessel maintenance programmes in the autumn and protect jobs and services for the future.

As all cross-Solent routes are operating from Friday 31 July, the agreement between Wightlink, Red Funnel and Hovertravel to accept foot passenger tickets on each other’s services has ended. Customers should now ensure they book with the operator they intend to travel with.

Can I get a refund on my Season ticket, Multilink foot pass or Business pass?

You can choose to have a refund on your Multilink foot pass or Season ticket if you prefer, just email feedback@wightlink.co.uk with your details. If you would prefer a refund on your Business pass, please email sales@wightlink.co.uk.
Please allow up to 28 days for a response as our teams are very busy at the moment.

Our Multilink Foot and Vehicle Pass holders can apply for a full refund of any unused journeys. Season Ticket holders and Business Pass holders can apply for a refund of all part and full unused weeks or months. All administration fees have been waived.

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 or Business Development team to get back to enquiries or refund requests.

Can I get a refund on my 30 day parking pass?

You can choose to have a refund on your day parking pass, just email feedback@wightlink.co.uk with your details. Please allow up to 28 days for a response as our teams are very busy at the moment.

  • Wightlink previously made an agreement with our regulator, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, to allow people to stay in their cars on a temporary basis, and on account of low passenger numbers at the beginning of the pandemic. As more people are now travelling, customers will be required to leave their vehicles after embarkation and cross the Solent in our spacious passenger lounges.
  • There is plenty of room on board for everyone to find seats and respect social distancing.
  • Ships are cleaned frequently and to high standards, hand sanitisers are available and there are facilities for customers to wash their hands in both passenger lounges.
  • Everyone over the age of 11 will be wearing a face covering on board.
  • If you have a specific medical condition which requires you to remain in your vehicle, you need to tell us at least 48 hours before you intend to travel and we will try and accommodate your request. It is up to the Captain to decide whether to allow this on any particular sailing, taking account of the other freight we are carrying and passengers on board. You may be asked to travel at a slightly different time to allow us to meet your request.

A takeaway café service will be available on most vehicle sailings.

Our Camber Café (Portsmouth Gunwharf port), Creek Café (Fishbourne port) and Wight Taste Cafe (Lymington port) are also open for takeaway drinks and snacks. Payment will only be accepted by card or contactless devices. You must wear a face covering to enter our customer buildings but you can take it off to eat and drink.

What is Wightlink doing to make its cafes safe?

We are displaying social distancing signage and floor markers, asking our customers to keep a metre or more apart. There are also Perspex screens on the counter in front of our colleagues who are serving.

Customers are able to choose to self-scan their items, if they are buying pre-packed snacks. We are only accepting card or contactless device payment.

Our cafes operate on a take-away only basis – there is no café seating for the time being.

We will also be selling hand gel and face coverings, if customers require them, while stocks last.

What food & drink will you be serving?

For the time being we’re serving a simpler range, to keep queues to a minimum and reduce contact between our colleagues and customers. Hot drinks, sandwiches and pastries, packaged snacks (such as crisps and confectionary) and soft drinks will be available. Unfortunately, we won’t have hot food items, such as paninis and toast, just yet.

What are the opening times?

The opening hours of each outlet will be advertised within the respective building.

If our cafes are closed, you are welcome to use any of our vending machines which are available 24/7.

Can I bring my own cup or mug?

Unfortunately, at the moment we’re unable to refill reusable mugs, however, we will still honour your discount if you present one.

What if I only have cash?

You are welcome to use any of our vending machines which are available 24/7.

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

If you’d like to book during this time, you can easily do so here on our website and on ticket vending machines are available at all our ports for foot passengers. Our Contact Centre is currently open 0900-1800 Monday to Friday and 0900-1700 Saturday and Sunday. Our Business Development team are available 0800-1800 Monday to Friday, 0900-1300 Saturday, 0900-1200 Sunday.

Please remember to respect the official advice on social distancing by staying a metre or more away from other people at all times.

The Government is not advising transport companies to screen customers as it is not an accurate way of detecting people with the illness.

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

We ask that all our customers respect the official advice on social distancing by staying a metre or more 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.

Islanders returning home from Spain or other countries not in the ‘travel corridor’ list, must follow new instructions, based on the government’s requirement to isolate for 14 days. Returning quarantining customers must travel by car and notify us 48 hours ahead of travel that you need to stay in car due to quarantining.

We will then make arrangements for you to remain in your vehicle but we may have to adjust your sailing time to make this possible – depending on other traffic being carried on the car deck.

Those quarantining, who travelled out as foot passengers are asked not to return on foot in line with government guidance on avoiding public transport. You will need to make arrangements to travel by car with family or friends or taxi.

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