Ferry travel advice in Scotland during COVID-19

This section features general advice on ferry travel.

On 20 November 2020 new regulations came in to force that restrict travel in or out of level 3 and level 4 local authority areas, except for essential purposes. The Scottish Government has published guidance on these restrictions.

The Transport Scotland guidance on safe travel is still valid and should be read in conjunction with the Scottish Government guidance.

You can find out what level applies to any area of Scotland via the postcode checker on the Scottish Government website.

The Scottish Government have also published guidance for the festive period.

Ferry travellers are being encouraged to plan ahead for their journeys to Scotland's islands. Capacity on the ferry network remains limited due to physical distancing measures. Passengers should look to book their tickets ahead of their journey and follow safe travel guidance once on board.

Update your cookie preferences to view the video.


Area Operations Manager at CalMac Ferries, Tommy Gore, says they've been working hard to help ferry passengers enjoy a safe journey. He said: 

"We've got additional signage and measures such as hand sanitiser and additional cleaning regimes on board our vessels and in our ports. It's really good to see most of our passengers wearing face masks.

"Make sure you plan for your journey - many of our routes are now bookings only, so get online and book ahead to make sure you can travel when you want to."

Visit the CalMac website for more advice and to book your travel.

Update your cookie preferences to view the video.


Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands Paul Wheelhouse visited Ardrossan to see the latest measures and thank ferry teams for their efforts. He said:

“I’d like to thank staff on all of Scotland’s ferry networks for their hard work, and passengers for following the travel guidance, which has allowed us to keep these vital transport links operating throughout the lockdown period.

“I’m pleased to see both CalMac and NorthLink increase their capacity with the move to one metre physical distancing, but it’s important to remember that capacity challenges will remain as a result of these measures that are required to protect public health.

“Passengers can continue help ferry operators by booking ahead and spreading their journeys across the full daily timetable to avoiding peak sailings. As always, there will be busy periods and people may need to be flexible. Please be understanding with ferry staff, who will do their best to help you.

“By following this advice, we can help support our island economies whilst also continuing to protect each other from COVID-19.”

Read more travel guidance for Scotland including information for holiday and leisure trips.