Red Funnel celebrates 160 years.

Red Funnel has officially reached its 160th birthday, marking over a century and a half of travel between the Isle of Wight and mainland – serving as the island’s original and longest standing ferry operator.

The ferry operator first launched in 1861 as the ‘Southampton Isle of Wight and South of England Royal Mail Steam Packet Company Limited’. During its long history it has hosted millions of passengers, from islanders and commuters to families exploring the Isle of Wight, to celebrities and royals. 

To commemorate its milestone anniversary this Autumn, Red Funnel will be launching two new community initiatives to bring together island partners and residents. The projects will draw on the island’s creative roots and have been inspired by the local environment. More details will be announced in the coming weeks.

Fran Collins, Chief Executive at Red Funnel said: “We are extremely proud to reach our 160th year – over the decades we’ve experienced so much change, from two world wars and supporting the Dunkirk evacuations, to welcoming the first ever Isle of Wight festival-goers on board in 1968 and not to forget Red Funnel’s significant involvement in the story of Titanic. The island is so unique and has so much to offer, and we are extremely privileged to be a part of its history, identity and future.

Since the onset of the pandemic, I’ve often thought about our predecessors and considered the challenges we know they faced. There’s a comfort in knowing that during that last 160 years, no matter what, they kept going. Through wars, recessions, pandemics – they persevered and kept sailing. Today their legacy lives on as we continue to uphold their unwavering spirit of strength and resilience, and that enduring commitment to our Island community spanning 16 decades.”

As part of its commitment to the Island, Red Funnel has nurtured relationships across the region, including the likes of Isle of Wight Independent Lifeboats and Mountbatten Isle of Wight, raising over £300,000 for charitable causes since 2015. Each year its customers and team of over 400 colleagues raise funds for a nominated Charity of the Year, with nominations set to open for 2022 at Christmas 2021.

To celebrate the 160 years Red Funnel have a selection of ‘Money Off’ promotion codes available for customers. Look out for the Big Book of Savings. These offers include a special offer Red Jet fare to this year’s Southampton International Boat Show- £9.30pp.