ferryboat n : a boat that transports people or vehicles across a body of water and operates on a regular schedule [syn: ferry]
- Finnish: lautta
main Merchant ship
A ferry is a form of transport, usually a boat or ship, but also other forms, carrying (or ferrying) passengers and often their cars. Ferries are also used to transport freight (in lorries and sometimes unpowered freight containers) and even railroad cars. Most ferries operate on regular, frequent, return services. A foot-passenger ferry with many stops, such as in Venice, is sometimes called a water bus or water taxi.
Ferries form a part of the public transport systems of many waterside cities and islands, allowing direct transit between points at a capital cost much lower than bridges or tunnels.
Ferries in antiquityThe profession of the ferryman is embodied in Greek mythology in Charon, the boatman who transported souls across the River Styx to the Underworld.
Speculation that a pair of oxen propelled a ship having a water wheel can be found in 4th century Roman literature “Anonymus De Rebus Bellicis”. Though impractical, there is no reason why it could not work and such a ferry, modified by using horses, was used in Lake Champlain in 19th century America. See “When Horses Walked on Water: Horse-Powered Ferries in Nineteenth-Century America" (Smithsonian Institution Press; Kevin Crisman, co-authored with Arthur Cohn, Executive Director of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum).
Notable ferry services
The busiest seaway in the world, the English Channel, connects Great Britain and mainland Europe sailing mainly to French ports, such as Calais, Boulogne, Cherbourg-Octeville, Caen, St Malo and Le Havre. Ferries from Great Britain also sail to Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Ireland. Some ferries carry mainly tourist traffic, but most also carry freight, and some are exclusively for the use of freight lorries.
Large cruiseferries sail in the Baltic Sea between Finland, Sweden, Germany and Estonia, and from Italy to Albania and Greece. In many ways, these ferries are like cruise ships, but they can also carry hundreds of cars on car decks. In Britain, car-carrying ferries are sometimes referred to as RORO (roll-on, roll-off) for the ease by which vehicles can board and leave.
In Australia, two Spirit of Tasmania ferries carry passengers and vehicles 300 kilometres across Bass Strait, which separates Tasmania from the Australian mainland. These run overnight but also include day crossings in peak time. Both ferries are based in the northern Tasmanian port city of Devonport and sail to Melbourne, Victoria.
In New Zealand, ferry services known as the Interislander and Bluebridge connect Wellington in the North Island with Picton in the South Island, across Cook Strait.
Hong Kong has the Star Ferry carry passengers across Victoria Harbour and the First Ferry carries travellers between Hong Kong Island to outlying islands like Cheung Chau, Lantau Island and Lemma Island.
Due to the numbers of large freshwater lakes and length of shoreline in Canada, many provinces and territories have ferry services. BC Ferries carries travellers between Vancouver Island and the British Columbia mainland on the country's west coast. This ferry service operates to other islands including the Gulf Islands and the Queen Charlotte Islands. Canada's east coast has been home to numerous inter and intra provincial ferry and coastal services, including a large network operated by the federal government under CN Marine and later Marine Atlantic. Private and publicly owned ferry operations in eastern Canada include Marine Atlantic, serving the island of Newfoundland, as well as Bay, NFL, CTMA, Coastal Transport, and STQ to name but a few. Canadian waters in the Great Lakes once hosted numerous ferry services, however these have been reduced to those offered by Owen Sound Transportation and several smaller operations. There are also several commuter passenger ferry services operated in major cities, such as Metro Transit in Halifax, Toronto Island Ferry in Toronto and SeaBus in Vancouver.
Washington State Ferries operates the most extensive ferry system in the United States, with ten routes on Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca serving terminals in Washington and Vancouver Island. In fiscal year 1999, Washington State Ferries carried 11 million vehicles and 26 million passengers. The Staten Island Ferry in New York City, sailing between the boroughs of Manhattan and Staten Island, is the nation's single busiest ferry route by passenger volume.
Vehicle-carrying ferry services between mainland Cape Cod and the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket are operated by the The Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority, which sails year-round between Woods Hole and Vineyard Haven as well as Hyannis and Nantucket. Seasonal service is also operated from Woods Hole to Oak Bluffs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. As there are no bridges or tunnels connecting the islands to the mainland, The Steamship Authority ferries in addition to being the only method for transporting private cars to or from the islands, also serves as the only link by which heavy freight and supplies such as food and gasoline can be trucked to the islands. Additionally, Hy-Line Cruises operates high speed catamaran service from Hyannis to both islands, and several smaller operations run seasonal passenger only service primarily geared towards tourist New Bedford, Falmouth, and Harwich. The San Francisco Bay Area has several ferry services, connecting with cities as far as Vallejo. The majority of ferry passengers are daily commuters and tourists. The only way to get to Alcatraz is by ferry.
Until the completion of the Mackinac Bridge in the 1950s, ferries were used for vehicle transportation between the Lower Peninsula of Michigan and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, across the Straits of Mackinac in the United States. Ferry service for bicycles continues across the straits for transport to Mackinac Island, where motorized vehicles are almost completely prohibited.
Types of ferries
Ferry designs depend on the length of the route, the passenger or vehicle capacity required, speed requirements and the water conditions the craft must deal with.
Double-endedDouble-ended ferries have interchangeable bows and sterns, allowing them to shuttle back and forth between two terminals without having to turn around. Well-known double-ended ferry systems include the Staten Island Ferry , Washington State Ferries , several boats on the North Carolina Ferry System , and the Lake Champlain Transportation Company. Most Norwegian fjord and coastal ferries are double-ended vessels. Some ferries in Sydney, Australia and British Columbia are also double-ended. In 2008, BC Ferries launched three of the largest double-ended ferries in the world.
HydrofoilHydrofoils have the advantage of higher cruising speeds, succeeding hovercraft on some English Channel routes where the ferries now compete against the Eurotunnel and Eurostar trains that use the Channel Tunnel. Passenger-only hydrofoils also proved a practical, fast and relatively economical solution in the Canary Islands but were recently replaced by faster catamaran "high speed" ferries that can carry cars. Their replacement by the larger craft is seen by critics as a retrograde step given that the new vessels use much more fuel and foster the inappropriate use of cars in islands already suffering from the impact of mass tourism.
HovercraftHovercraft were developed in the 1960s and 1970s to carry cars. The largest was the massive SRN4 which carried cars in its centre section with ramps at the bow and stern between England and France. The hovercraft was superseded by catamarans which are nearly as fast and are less affected by sea and weather conditions. Only one service now remains, between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.
Catamarans are normally associated with high-speed ferry services. Stena Line operates the largest catamarans in the world, the Stena HSS class, between the United Kingdom and mainland Europe or Ireland. These waterjet-powered vessels, displacing 19,638 tonnes, are larger than most catamarans and can accommodate 375 passenger cars and 1,500 passengers. Other examples of these super-sizer catamarans are found in the Brittany Ferries fleet with the Normandie Express and the Normandie Vitesse.
Ro-roRoll-on/roll-off ferries (RORO) are large, conventional ferries named for the ease by which vehicles can board and leave.
Fast RoPax FerryFast RoPax ferries are conventional ferries with a large garage intake and a relatively large passenger capacity, with conventional diesel propulsion and propellers that sail over . Pioneering this class of ferries was Attica Group, when it introduced Superfast I between Greece and Italy in 1995 through its subsidiary company Superfast Ferries.
Pontoon ferryPontoon ferries carry vehicles across rivers and lakes and are widely used in less-developed countries with large rivers where the cost of bridge construction is prohibitive. One or more vehicles are carried on a pontoon with ramps at either end for vehicles to drive on and off. Cable ferries (next section) are usually pontoon ferries, but pontoon ferries on larger rivers are motorised and able to be steered independently like a boat.
Cable ferryVery short distances may be crossed by a cable or chain ferry, which is usually a pontoon ferry (see above), where the ferry is propelled along and steered by cables connected to each shore. Sometimes the cable ferry is human powered by someone on the boat. Reaction ferries are cable ferries that use the perpendicular force of the current as a source of power. Examples of a current propelled ferry are the four Rhine ferries in Basel, Switzerland (see http://www.faehri.ch/). Cable ferries may be used in fast-flowing rivers across short distances. Cable ferries are referred to in Australia and New Zealand as "punts".
Free ferries operate in some parts of the world, such as at Woolwich in London, England (across the River Thames); in Amsterdam, Netherlands (across the IJ waterway); in New York Harbor, connecting Manhattan to Staten Island; and across many lakes in British Columbia. A cable ferry that charges a toll operates on the Rivière des Prairies between Sainte-Dorothée and Île Bizard in Quebec, Canada.
Victorian inventionsAlong the shore of Brighton there was a "ferry" on rails: the Brighton and Rottingdean Seashore Electric Railway had carriages mounted above rails that were under water at high tide. It ran between Brighton and the nearby coastal village of Rottingdean.
Air ferriesIn the 1950s and 1960s, travel on an "air ferry" was possible—aeroplanes, often ex-military, specially equipped to take a small number of cars in addition to "foot" passengers. These operated various routes including between the United Kingdom and Continental Europe. Companies operating such services included Corsair.
The term is also applied to any "ferrying" by air, and is commonly used when referring to airborne military operations.
DockingFerry boats often dock at specialized facilities designed to position the boat for loading and unloading, called a ferry slip. If the ferry transports road vehicles or railway carriages there will usually be an adjustable ramp called an apron that is part of the slip. In other cases, the apron ramp will be a part of the ferry itself, acting as a wave guard when elevated and lowered to meet a fixed ramp at the terminus — a road segment that extends partially underwater.
First, shortest, largest
On 11 October 1811 inventor John Stevens' ship the Juliana, began operation as the first steam-powered ferry (service was between New York City, and Hoboken, New Jersey).
The world's shortest regular ferry route runs a scant few feet across the harbor of Edgartown, Massachusetts to the island of Chappaquiddick off Martha's Vineyard Island. Although it operates with no set schedule, it runs every day, hence its name "On-Time"."
The oldest ferry service in continuous operation may be the Sundbåt ("Sound/Strait Boat") shuttle in Kristiansund, Norway. Started in 1876, the small motor ferry crosses the harbour from Kirklandet to Innlandet, then Nordlandet, Gomalandet, and back to Kirklandet, repeating the round trip in half-hour intervals morning to evening on weekdays.
Another contender for oldest ferry is the Mersey Ferries service from Liverpool to Birkenhead, England. There is evidence that there has been a ferry service over the river for over 800 years. Liverpool's city charter in 1207 specifies rights of passage across the river payable by a toll.
Two of the world's largest ferry systems are located in the Strait of Georgia, in the Canadian province of British Columbia, and Puget Sound, in the U.S. state of Washington. BC Ferries in British Columbia operates 36 vessels, visiting 47 ports of call, while Washington State Ferries owns 28 vessels, travelling to 20 ports of call around Puget Sound. The Sydney Ferries Corporation in Sydney, Australia operates 31 passenger ferries in Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour), carrying 18 million passengers annually. It operates catamarans and other types of ferries on these routes, with the most famous likely being the Circular Quay-Manly route. Between 1938 and 1974 this route operated the South Steyne, billed at the time as the largest and fastest ferry of its type. Sydney Ferries became an independent corporation owned by the government in 2004.
Some of world's busiest ferry routes include the Star Ferry in Hong Kong and the Staten Island Ferry in New York City.
Metrolink Queensland operates 21 passenger ferries on behalf of Brisbane City Council, 12 being single-hulled ferries and 9 CityCats (catamarans), along the Brisbane River from the University of Queensland through the city to Brett's Wharf.
Clean energy for ferriesWith the price of oil at such high levels, and with increasing pressure from consumers for measures to tackle global warming, a number of innovations for energy and the environment were put forward at the Interferry conference in Stockholm. According to the company Solar Sailor, hybrid marine power and solar wing technology are suitable for use with ferries, private yachts and even tankers.
ferryboat in Bulgarian: Ферибот
ferryboat in Catalan: Transbordador
ferryboat in Czech: Přívoz
ferryboat in Danish: Færge
ferryboat in German: Fähre
ferryboat in Modern Greek (1453-): Πορθμείο
ferryboat in Spanish: Transbordador (ferry)
ferryboat in Esperanto: Pramo
ferryboat in French: Ferry (bateau)
ferryboat in Western Frisian: Fear
ferryboat in Croatian: Trajekt
ferryboat in Indonesian: Kapal feri
ferryboat in Italian: Traghetto
ferryboat in Hebrew: מעבורת
ferryboat in Luxembourgish: Fär
ferryboat in Lithuanian: Keltas
ferryboat in Hungarian: Komp
ferryboat in Malay (macrolanguage): Feri
ferryboat in Dutch: Veerpont
ferryboat in Japanese: フェリー
ferryboat in Norwegian: Ferje
ferryboat in Norwegian Nynorsk: Ferje
ferryboat in Polish: Prom
ferryboat in Portuguese: Balsa
ferryboat in Russian: Паром
ferryboat in Simple English: Ferry
ferryboat in Slovenian: Trajekt
ferryboat in Serbo-Croatian: Trajekt
ferryboat in Turkish: Feribot
ferryboat in Finnish: Autolautta
ferryboat in Swedish: Färja
ferryboat in Vietnamese: Phà
ferryboat in Chinese: 渡輪