A heartfelt pleas for ferry passengers to be more considerate about Covid-19 safety has been issued by two Island councillors.

Cllr Richard Quigley (Cowes North) and Cllr Ian Dore (Binstead and Fishbourne) both have ferry routes in their wards and are concerned for the more vulnerable passengers, and for crew members on the routes.

Cllr Quigley said both of them are fathers of vulnerable children and want people to act more responsibly by wearing masks on board.

He said: “Our constituents have an almost endless list of issues with the ferries.

"One issue that is consistent and comes up a lot is for those travelling for medical appointments or on their way to visit vulnerable relatives.

Or in my case, the father of a child with a reduced immune system; is the issue of wearing masks.”

Cllr Dore added: “Over the last eight weeks, I’ve had to travel to the mainland, on all ferry routes for various medical based appointments. Some my own, some for family members.

"There are other people like me, going to medical appointments, who are clearly troubled with the lack of mask wearing.

"On a recent crossing from Portsmouth to Fishbourne, a head count on the upper lounge showed 44 people, of whom six had masks on.

"Hovertravel appear to be leading the pack on this and are exemplary. To the credit of the captain on the Yarmouth to Lymington route, he reiterated the message constantly.

He said on Red Funnel he saw an almost full lounge and only seven wearing masks.

He said: "This resulted in me having to have a ‘robust’ conversation with the Captain, trying to ensure my young and vulnerable daughter's safety.

"Many local residents and Islanders that air their views on social media, feel that the ferries are our weakest link in the fight to keep the Island operating as normally as it can.

"Add in the inevitable visitors from various parts of the Country, coming to reside on the Island for Christmas and you can see it has the potential for a very difficult few weeks. Not least for the NHS.”

Cllr Quigley said: "There is still the requirement to isolate for ten days if you have Covid 19.

"This means ferry staff who test positive will no longer be available for work.

"My inbox is full of complaints about ferry reliability, so if we can minimise further disruption by wearing a mask, then we owe it to those that need to get to the mainland for hospital appointments “

Cllr Dore called on the ferry companies to invest in outsourced staff, helping to ensure masks are worn.

He said: "This would take the pressure of the hard-working crew who should not be exposed to such tasks.

"We as passengers also have it in our gift to demonstrate compassion. It the most rudimentary human trait we have to offer and it costs nothing.”