Travelling with your vehicle

How to travel with Wightlink in your vehicle

If it’s your first time taking your car onto a ferry, you might be anxious about the prospect, or simply unsure of how it all works. Below, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about travelling with us, from checking in to driving your vehicle on board.

Smoking on our ferries

Smoking, including e-cigarettes, is not allowed anywhere on our ferries or while in your vehicle waiting to depart the ship. At our ports, smoking is only allowed in our dedicated smoking areas.

Checking in

When you buy your ticket, you’ll get a QR code in your confirmation email – make sure you have this ready when you arrive. You can either print it or access it on your smartphone with the Wightlink app.

Some of our ports have Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras to speed up the checking in process, so please make sure you’ve entered the right number plate in your booking.

You’ll need to arrive between an hour and 30 minutes before your scheduled sailing time. Show your QR code to staff at the entrance to the port and they’ll direct you to a numbered car lane.

Pull up, switch off your engine and, if you fancy it, pick up a hot drink and a bite to eat from one of our port cafés.

Download the Wightlink app now for easy access to your bookings, travel passes and real-time travel information.

  • Get the latest travel notifications

  • Check live timetables

  • Digital tickets and passes

  • Manage your account

Boarding the ferry

We support anti-idling campaigns in our local areas such as Portsmouth City Council’s ‘Cough Cough, Engine Off’ campaign, so please keep your engine switched off until it’s time to board. A member of port staff will let you know when it’s your turn to board and you’ll be directed onto the ferry.

When you drive on, the crew will direct you to a parking space on deck – you may be asked to park on the lower or upper deck, or on a ‘mezzanine’ deck. A mezzanine deck boards from the lower deck as normal and then gets raised so more cars can then fit underneath.

Depending on which deck you are on, the crew may ask you to stay in your vehicle until it’s safe to get out. When it’s safe, head upstairs to the passenger lounges and get comfortable.

Leaving the ferry

Just before the ferry arrives at your destination, the Captain will make an announcement asking everyone to return to their vehicles. A member of our team will be on hand if you need directions or help getting back to your car.

Please keep your engine switched off until it’s time to disembark. A member of staff will begin directing traffic off the ferry – do take care when leaving as some of our ports have vehicles merging from upper and lower decks into a single lane when exiting. Please adhere to our 10mph speed limit.

If your sailing gets delayed

We work hard to run a reliable and punctual service but sometimes we can be delayed by circumstances beyond our control; this includes bad weather, low tides or giving way to other ships such as the Royal Navy or cross-channel ferries.

Unfortunately, mechanical, technical or other factors can occasionally cause disruption, too. We always do our best to minimise the inconvenience to you, but please bear with our staff as they try to resolve things.

If the service is cancelled or severely delayed, you could apply for compensation.

Keeping you up to date

Our port staff will do their best to keep you up to date with changes to our service while you are waiting to travel. The best way to keep up to date is to download our app. Alternatively, you can follow our dedicated twitter feed, @wightlinktravel.

When making your booking, please ensure you give us the right contact details so we can get in touch with you if we need to.

Our facilities

You can pick up hot and cold food and drinks at all our ports and on board all our vehicle ferries, plus much more.

View our facilities

Frequently asked questions

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Check our FAQ section to see if we can help.

Read our FAQs

Travel tips

Check out our guides to travelling on foot, with your pet and with children, as well as advice on travelling with accessible needs.

Read our travel tips