Deep confusion by the UK public about current travel rules has been revealed in new ferry industry research.

Many (59%) are confused about where they might be allowed to travel for a holiday this year and (53%) do not 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.

There has also been a lack of cohesion over easing travel restrictions across the four nations in the UK, including on topics such as face coverings and how far people can travel from their homes.

Discover Ferries director Emma Batchelor said: “I urge the government to quickly bring far greater clarity to current and future travel regulations, especially around the issue of quarantine.

“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.”

The research by the ferry industry body found that 29% are ‘keener than ever’ to travel while a third plan to have booked their summer travel within seven days of restrictions being lifted.

More than half of people (51%) want to travel within the British Isles this summer and 27% to Europe.

The results came as Brittany Ferries hopes to resume sailings on June 28.

Extensive safety measures have been put in place by ferry firms to ensure people will be able to travel safely this summer when travel restrictions are eased.

Operators have implemented strict hygiene, social distancing and other Covid-19 compliant measures.

These 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
  • Passengers required to wear face coverings on all ferry services operating in English territorial waters.

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

Batchelor said: “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.

“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.”

British Ports Association chief executive Richard Ballantyne added: “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.”

UK Chamber of Shipping chief executive Bob Sanguinetti added: “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.”