Travel safely with the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

As travel restrictions begin to ease and we progress through the Isle of Man Government’s five-stage Borders Framework, we look forward to welcoming more passengers on board in the coming months.

We understand that some people may feel anxious about travelling and want to reassure everyone that the safety and welfare of our passengers and crew remains, as always, our top priority. We have been working hard to prioritise the safety of all our travellers, and wanted to take this opportunity to address some queries you might have and share some of the measures and procedures in place to help provide peace of mind and prepare you for future travel with the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.  

Will I be checked for COVID-19 symptoms before I board?

Prior to boarding, all passengers will be asked a series of questions at the terminal check-in. These questions will determine if you have any symptoms which might be related to COVID-19 or if you have been in contact with anyone who has tested positive. If the answer is yes to any of the questions, you won’t be able to travel.

We must stress the importance of answering these questions honestly. If you suspect you have any COVID-19 symptoms, please be sensible, respect your fellow passengers and do not travel.

A photo of the Covid-19 'are you safe to travel' questionnaire which is displayed to passengers at the Steam Packet Company check-in to ensure travellers only travel if safe.
All passengers will be asked a series of questions before boarding to ensure they are safe to travel

Will my temperature be checked prior to boarding?

No, this is no longer a requirement for passengers.

If I can’t travel because I have answered ‘yes’ to at least one of the questions mentioned above or I feel poorly, will I receive a refund?

Yes, passengers will receive a full refund if they are refused travel or can’t sail because they suspect they have symptoms which might be related to COVID-19.  

What measures are in place to reduce risks for passengers?

In the interest of the safety of our customers and crew the following additional measures have been implemented:

  • Robust cleaning procedures – we have intensified our already stringent sanitation and disinfection procedures on our vessels, particularly at touch hotspots such as handles.  
  • Social distancing – to allow social distancing on our vessels, we have reduced our passenger capacity considerably which enables passengers to sit at a comfortable distance from each other. Boarding and disembarkation methods have also been implemented to prevent passengers passing unnecessarily.
  • Hand sanitising – you will find hand washing facilities in passenger toilets on board, in addition to sanitising stations at locations around the terminals and on our vessels. We ask that you sanitise your hands on arrival to the port, as soon as you board and at frequent intervals throughout the journey if you can.
  • Safety information – safety advice and information will be communicated to passengers both visually at prominent locations and audibly throughout the journey.
A photo of a hand sanitizing station at the Sea Terminal in Douglas with someone's hand underneath waiting for gel to come out

A hand sanitising station at the Sea Terminal in Douglas

What advice is given to passengers while travelling?

Once on-board, you will be encouraged to:

  • Keep your face covering on
  • Sanitise your hands immediately
  • Proceed to your seat or cabin and try to remain there for as much of the journey as possible
  • Socially distance where possible
  • Only smoke in the designated areas, at a safe distance from others (it is a possibility that droplets are carried within exhaled smoke)

Why do I have to wear a face covering?

On Monday 15th June 2020, the UK Government made it mandatory for passengers to wear face coverings on public transport, which includes travelling to and from English ports via ferry. This means that passengers are required to wear a face covering while:

  • Inside our UK and Ireland terminals
  • Boarding our vessels
  • During the sailing
  • Upon disembarkation

We ask that all passengers respect this requirement and arrive at our ports prepared with their own face covering. We appreciate that they cannot be worn at all times, for instance while eating, however we ask passengers to use judgement and adhere to the guidelines as much as possible to reduce any risk. Please be aware that if you refuse to wear a face covering, you may be denied travel. 

A man driving his silver car with the window down wearing a face mask
Face masks must be worn while travelling with the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.

What is considered an effective face covering?

Examples of effective face coverings include a fabric mask comprising three layers, as recommended by the World Health Organisation, and a FFP2 disposable respiratory protection mask. We encourage you to carry out your own research to find an effective face covering to suit you, prior to your travel.

For guidance on how to make and wear your own cloth face covering from Public Health England , click here.

What if I can’t wear a face covering for health reasons?

If you have a severe breathing condition, illness or disability that prevents or hinders you from wearing a face covering, you are exempt from wearing a face covering – please inform staff as soon as you check-in. Children under the age of 11 are also exempt.

While travelling, please be mindful of other passengers who are unable to wear a face covering and be understanding of their needs.

Will food and drink be available on board?

Passengers are welcome to bring their own packed lunches for the journey, however a limited menu comprising pre-packaged food, snacks and drinks will also be available to purchase on our vessels. At present, the current on-board facilities available are:

  • Coast to Coast Café  – open and offering a limited menu
  • Ocean Avenue Shop – the shop on both vessels is closed for now, but a small selection of shop items are available to purchase on request
  • Legends / Blue Point Café Bar – the bars on both of our vessels remains closed for now, but some bottled alcoholic drinks are available at the main café

Should I wear gloves while travelling?

According to the World Health Organisation, wearing rubber gloves while out in public is not effective at preventing infection and regularly washing bare hands offers more protection. For this reason, we ask passengers not to wear gloves while travelling on our vessels.

What should I do if I start to feel unwell during the journey, with symptoms which might be related to COVID-19, or if someone nearby is displaying symptoms?

You should not travel if you feel unwell or suspect you might have symptoms related to COVID-19. However, if you do begin to feel poorly during your journey or become aware of someone who is, please inform a member of crew immediately. We have quarantine procedures in place, trained crew and an emergency outbreak plan prepared should it be required.

Thank you for taking time to read this blog, we hope it is useful and helps prepare you for future travel with the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. Despite operations being a little different to normal, all changes have been made in the interests of passengers to make travel as comfortable and convenient as possible, and we look forward to welcoming you on board soon.

A picturesque photo taken from Douglas Head which looks out onto Douglas Bay on a summer day with Steam Packet Company vessel Ben-my-Chree in the Harbour
The Ben-My-Chree in Doug;as Harbour.

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