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Ferry Industry Unveils On Board Safety Measures in Preparation for Lockdown Easing

  • New Covid-compliant measures ensure passenger and crew safety and comfort
  • Research shows 51% of people want to travel within the British Isles this Summer and 27% to Europe

(18 June 2020) Ferry companies reveal the extensive safety measures they have put in place to ensure people will be able to travel safely and in comfort by ferry this summer when, and if, travel restrictions are eased.

The measures are announced as research* commissioned by industry body, Discover Ferries, suggests that most people are wanting to get away for a holiday or short break this summer, including 29%, who say they are ‘keener than ever’ to travel while a third plan to have booked their summer travel within seven days of restrictions being lifted.

“Ferries naturally lend themselves well to social distancing requirements with plenty of wide open spaces, access to fresh air and outside deck areas as well as the option in many cases to arrive and board via the safety of your own car or bicycle,” commented Emma Batchelor, director of Discover Ferries. They are also a great commuter option for people travelling across London and the Solent for work.”

“As providers of lifeline services to our nation’s islands, ferries have continued to work hard throughout the pandemic in order to facilitate essential travel for key workers as well as ensure the flow of essential goods and services, including food and medical equipment, across the UK, Ireland and British Islands. This has put them in a strong position to scale up their services, which are already Covid-compliant, to welcome more passengers on board.”

Ferry operators have implemented strict hygiene, social distancing and other Covid-19 compliant measures to ensure passengers can travel once restrictions are lifted in safety and comfort.

New safety and hygiene measures include:

  • Capacity reduction to comply with social distancing measures
  • More frequent cleaning measures (especially in high traffic areas)
  • Increased availability of hand sanitisers
  • Social distancing signage
  • New staff safety protocols and the availability of PPE if required etc.
  • Passengers are also required to wear face coverings on all ferry services operating in English territorial waters.

On some of the longer crossings, passengers can also benefit from travelling in a private cabin with en-suite facilities.

UK Chamber of Shipping Chief Executive Bob Sanguinetti said: “Ferries are a great, safe way for passengers to travel. Covid safety measures are fully in place on all ships on all routes and these should give everyone the confidence to start planning their next ferry trip now. The sector has played a crucial role during the last few months and now we want to see passengers return and enjoy all the benefits of travelling by sea.”

The research also highlights, however, that there is deep confusion by the UK public about current travel rules. Many (59%), said they are confused about where they might be allowed to travel for a holiday this year and over half (53%) don’t know the regulations around wearing face coverings for travel.  Almost four out of ten (39%) don’t think you currently need to quarantine if returning from France, Spain, Belgium or Holland.

“I urge the Government to quickly bring far greater clarity to current and future travel regulations, especially around the issue of quarantine,” said Batchelor. “If there is to be a review before 29 June, including the potential implementation of safe travel corridors, we ask this is done quickly to provide clarity and release pent-up demand for travel this summer.”

There has also been a lack of cohesion when it comes to easing travel restrictions across the four nations in the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland**), including on topics such as face coverings and how far people can travel from their homes.

Richard Ballantyne, Chief Executive, British Ports Association said “Ferries and our maritime industry have kept the country supplied during the Coronavirus pandemic and the sector can also be a key driver towards recovery. The economy is opening up and ports and ships have introduced measures so that people can start to travel and plan breaks. Where suitable we are keen to see the restrictions lifted. All our international ferry routes are with countries we share common health standards who are at a similar stage of dealing with Covid-19 and we can see real opportunities to boost tourism and other sectors by opening the country up for business.”

“Regardless of where people want to go for their summer break this year,” added Batchelor, “with over 80 ferry routes across the UK, Ireland and British Islands, there are plenty of destinations people can travel to when restrictions are lifted in safety and comfort , whether that is over to Europe and Ireland or as part of a staycation within the UK and surrounding Islands.”

For further information on where you can travel by ferry this summer, visit www.discoverferries.com/ferrysafe.