Coronavirus ferry passenger FAQs

By 16/06/2020December 29th, 2020FAQs, Information


Due to the current pandemic, travel requirements and restrictions are subject to change. The following guidance is designed to help guide passengers on the latest information relating to travel by ferry.

How safe is ferry travel post Covid lockdown?

Ferry travel is very safe. The safety of passengers and crew is our members’ top priority.

One of the great things about modern ferry travel is that it lends itself well to social distancing, with open deck areas, spacious public lounges and even your own comfortable cabin on some of the longer crossings.

In response to the current Covid-19 situation, ferry and port operators have also added additional safety measures and protocols. These include reducing the number of passengers able to travel on board at any one time, increased hygiene and sanitisation measures, staggered boarding and disembarkation and extra signage to help inform customers on how to keep themselves safe.

It is also worth noting that during lockdowns many of our members have continued to operate ferry services to transport essential goods such as food and medical equipment, as well as keeping lifeline services running for island communities and key workers.

When can I travel by ferry?

There are different travel restrictions in place across England, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales, as well as to the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. As a result of these restrictions, at the moment ferry services are operating for essential travel only. Click here for the latest service update.

For the latest government advice on travel in your area, please check the following links:

Where can I currently travel to by ferry?

At the moment there are international and regional travel restrictions in place and most governments are warning against all but essential travel.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advises against all unnecessary overseas travel, unless you are going to one of the few exempt destinations. For the latest information, please check here. All arrivals to the UK will need to self-isolate for 14 days unless they have travelled to Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands or one of the exempt destinations. All passengers arriving from overseas to the UK are legally required to complete an online COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form, which can be accessed here.

Travel restrictions and guidance currently differs in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales and the British Islands of Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.

Please note that it is mandatory to wear face coverings on all public transport, including on ferries, in the UK and Ireland.


England is currently in lockdown and travel is not permitted unless it is essential. Please check with your ferry operator here to find out if and when they are sailing.


Ferry services are operating at reduced capacity to comply with Covid protocols. Please check the service update if you are travelling to the Scottish islands before you travel.

The latest government advice regarding transport and travel in Scotland can be found here


There are ferry services operating from Wales to Ireland for essential travel and the transportation of goods such as food and medical equipment. On arrival in the Republic of Ireland you are currently required to quarantine for 14 days.

The latest government advice regarding transport and travel in Wales can be found here

British Islands

Channel Islands

Ferry services to and from Guernsey and Jersey are operating from Portsmouth. For more information click here.

Check the latest travel advice from the Bailiwick of Guernsey and Jersey.

Isle of Man

The Isle of Man’s borders are currently closed, therefore ferry travel to the island is only possible for limited exceptions at this time. The latest government advice regarding travel to the Isle of Man can be found here

What can I do on board?

In many cases, you will be able to walk around the ferry, enjoy the fresh air from the outside deck area and relax in a comfortable seating area with other members of your group.

Some services are offering a selection of food and drink options while you sail, and, on the longer journeys, you may be able to enjoy your own space in a private cabin.

Facilities and requirements will vary depending on the ship and service you’re taking, so we recommend you check with your ferry operator for full details.

Please note that additional measures have been put in place by all ferry operators for your safety as well as that of the crew. These include the availability of extra hand-sanitisers, increased cleaning and signage to help with social distancing and other safety information. You will be required to wear a face covering in the public areas on board the ship.

What are the quarantine rules for travel to and from the UK?

Current travel advice from the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), advises against all but essential international travel, unless you are travelling to one of the exempt destinations. For the latest advice, please check here.

Due to the pandemic, travel requirements are subject to change as restrictions are being reviewed, so we advise you to check the latest government advice for changes before you travel.

When you are returning to the UK, you are required to complete an online passenger locator form from the British Government and self-isolate for 10 days on arrival. This does not apply when returning from travel within the UK and for countries in the Common Travel Area (the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Ireland). For countries that are listed as being exempt, when returning to England, Northern Ireland, Wales or Scotland you will not need to self-isolate but you will still need to complete the form.

Note that if you transit a non-exempt country to go to an exempt country then you will still need to self-isolate for 10 days – check here for the rules on transiting a non-exempt country.

Ireland has currently banned all arrivals from Great Britain until 31 December, once this is lifted you will still only able to travel to the Republic of Ireland if your trip is essential and you are currently required to quarantine for 14 days on arrival, unless you are travelling from Northern Ireland. Full details can be found here.

Do I need to wear a face covering when I travel by ferry?

Yes, you need to wear a face covering when travelling by ferry, unless you are exempt for medical reasons. Full details and requirements for England can be found here, for Scotland here, for Northern Ireland here and for Wales here.

In Ireland, in accordance with public health advice it is required to wear a face covering in port terminal buildings and in public areas on ferries where it is not possible to socially distance. Due to changing guidance we recommend checking what is required with your ferry operator before you travel.

Can I book a ferry as part of my summer holiday in 2021?

Yes, absolutely. Ferry operators have already released their 2021 sailing schedules and their reservation systems are open for bookings. If you want the added security of being able to make changes to your booking, then we’d recommend considering buying a flexible ticket. Please check the operator’s website for sailing timetables, ticket options and other travel details.

With over 80 ferry routes across the UK, British Islands and Ireland, as well as over to Europe, there is plenty of choice for you to book a ferry for a great break this summer. Click here for more inspiration on where you can travel.

What can I do if I want to postpone my travel?

Ticket amendments will depend on the terms and conditions of the ticket you purchased. Some ferry operators are offering passengers the option to postpone their travel to a later date without incurring amendment fees, although other terms and conditions will be applicable. We advise passengers check all terms of travel and consider booking flexible tickets to ensure travel can be amended without incurring any additional fees.

As ferry companies are experiencing high volumes of requests during this time, we recommend that you first look to amend your booking online via your operator’s website, where you can also find further information and instructions on booking amendments.

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