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Can a child travel alone on a ferry?

As an island nation, the UK has plenty of great ferry lines to choose from. Visit Ireland, travel to France via Calais or even enjoy the stunning British coast on any of the UK to UK destinations. There are plenty of different ferries to choose from and they can be a fun means of getting from point A to point B. But what if you needed your child to travel alone on a ferry? This can raise all sorts of questions and problems.

How old do you have to be to go on a ferry alone?

Only adults are allowed to travel on ferries alone. 16-17-year-olds, however, can travel with an adult who is 18 years of age or older. If this adult is not their guardian or parent, they need to bring a letter of consent with them. However, some ferry company’s policies might be different so it’s best to check before you book.

Safety tips for a child travelling alone on a ferry

No child under the age of 16 can travel without an adult. Those over the age of sixteen who are travelling with an adult over the age of 18 (a sibling, for example), will need to follow these safety tips:

  • Have letters of consent, their passport and wallet safely stowed on their person
  • Always obtain travel insurance before you go
  • Never leave your bags unattended
  • Remember to stay hydrated at sea (especially if you spend time beneath the sun)
  • Be careful near open water

As for parents, there is often no specific service for 16-17-year-olds, you should be aware that the 18-year-old your child is travelling with is responsible for your child’s safety throughout the duration of the ferry trip. Some ferry companies place limitations on 16-17-year-olds travelling in groups, so it’s a good idea to check with the operator before you travel.


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