Three dolphins jumping out the water.


As an industry we are committed to continually reducing our impact on the environment and protecting it for future generations. Travel by sea is already considered a relatively carbon efficient mode of transport, however, there is still a way to go before we reach the maritime net-zero carbon emissions goal. To see more about the environmental commitments of the the UK Shipping industry visit the UK Chamber of Shipping website. Below we’ve outlined a few of the steps the passenger ferry sector is taking to help protect the environment. Each individual operator has their own environmental programme so to find out more about their activities visit their website.

New ships – more energy efficient and more passenger comfort

The average lifespan of a passenger ferry is around 25-30 years, during which time the technology available and world we live in change significantly. Fleet renewal is a vital step in the sector’s journey to becoming more fuel efficient and providing passengers with even more comfort and amenities.

The table below shows the newest vessels and those we are excited about welcoming in the next few years.

Entry into Service Dates for New Ships

YearCompany and shipRoute
2020Brittany Ferries GaliciaPortsmouth-Santander and Bilbao
Stena Line Stena EstridDublin-Holyhead
Stena Line Stena EddaLiverpool-Belfast
2021Stena Line Stena EmblaLiverpool-Belfast
DFDS Côte D’OpaleDover-France
2022Brittany Ferries SalamancaPortsmouth-Santander
2023Brittany Ferries SantoñaPortsmouth-Santander and Bilbao
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company ManxmanHeysham-Douglas
P&O Pioneer and P&O LibertéDover-Calais
Uber Boat by Thames Clippers – Earth Clipper, Celestial Clipper and Mars ClipperThames river
 2024Caledonian MacBrayne MV Glen SannoxScottish West Coast
 Caledonian MacBrayne MV Isle of IslayIsle of Islay
 Condor FerriesBelfast-Bangor
2025Brittany Ferries Saint MaloPortsmouth-St Malo
Brittany Ferries Guillaume de NormandiePortsmouth-Caen
 Caledonian MacBrayne MV Glen RosaScottish West Coast
Caledonian MacBrayne MV Loch IndaalIsle of Islay
 Caledonian MacBrayne – two new shipsScottish West Coast
March 2026Isles of Scilly Steamship Group – replacement for Scillonian III and freight ships Gry Maritha and Lyonesse LadyPenzance-St Mary’s
2026-27Wightlink – first electric shipSolent

Protecting bio-diversity

Marine Mammal Survey Teams

A number of members work with marine conservation charities such as ORCA, MARINElife and Irish Whale & Dolphin Group. ORCA’s Marine Mammal Survey Teams monitor marine mammals, particularly whales, dolphins, and porpoises. These volunteers go on board ferries from the UK to conduct scientific surveys to record the species seen, where they are and what they are doing. This data is used by governmental organisations to inform decisions about the development of marine protected areas and conservation policy, which are vital in the protection of these marine mammals.

MARINElife’s experienced volunteers carry out scientific surveys of dolphins, whales and seabirds on a variety of vessels at sea in the UK and neighbouring waters. They promote the health of the oceans by collecting data on the wildlife ecosystem and providing it to policy makers.

ORCA Ocean Conservationists

Brittany Ferries, Caledonian MacBrayne and DFDS have ORCA Ocean Conservationists on board a number of their ferry routes during the summer season (Mar- Sept) to inspire passengers about whales and dolphins. They give presentations, lectures and help members of the public to spot wildlife during deck watches.

ORCA Ocean Conservationist onboard DFDS

Protecting and restoring the UKs seagrass meadows

Thriving seagrass beds are important habitat for marine life with up to 80,000 animals living in a single hectare of seagrass, they help prevent erosion and store 10% of the ocean’s carbon.

Wightlink has teamed up with scientists and students from the University of Portsmouth in an environmental project to examine – and ultimately encourage – the growth of seagrass in the Solent off Ryde. The project gathers information about the Solent beds, which in turn will pave the way for the planting of more seagrass.

The Blue Meadows project by the Ocean Conservation Trust (OCT) works to protect and restore the UK’s seagrass meadows. DFDS partners with the OCT to support their goal to protecting 10% of all UK’s seagrass over the next 5 years.

Responsible Travel

  • Many operators offer Rail-Sail tickets with train and coach operators for those who want to make their way to and from the port by public transport.
  • Consider bringing your bicycle with you, so you have an alternative means of transport while you’re on holiday. It’s an enjoyable way to explore and makes a great value day out.
  • Visitors are reminded to respect the local communities and environment they are enjoying and ‘leave no trace’ when exploring.

Green Marine Europe

Green Marine Europe is an environmental eco-label for the European maritime industry. It is a voluntary initiative which assesses environmental performance and encourages best practice, beyond regulation. The certification assesses greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions, oily discharge, aquatic invasive species, underwater noise, waste management and ship recycling.

Brittany Ferries, Hovertravel and Stena Line have been certified by Green Marine Europe.

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