Staten Island Ferry

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The Staten Island Ferry.
The Staten Island Ferry provides 20 million people a year (60,000 passengers a day not including weekend days) with ferry service between St. George on Staten Island and Whitehall Street in lower Manhattan. The ferry is the only non-vehicular mode of transportation between Staten Island and Manhattan. NYC DOT operates and maintains the nine vessel fleet as well as the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island, Whitehall Ferry Terminal in Manhattan, the City Island and Hart Island Facilities, The Battery Maritime Building and all floating dock building equipment. The Staten Island Ferry is run by the City of New York for one pragmatic reason: To transport Staten Islanders to and from Manhattan. Yet, the 5 mile, 25 minute ride also provides a majestic view of New York Harbor and a no-hassle, even romantic, boat ride, for free! One guide book calls it "One of the world's greatest (and shortest) water voyages." From the deck of the ferry you will have a perfect view of The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. You'll see the skyscrapers and bridges of Lower Manhattan receding as you pull away and coming into focus again as you return. A typical weekday schedule involves the use of five boats to transport approximately 60,000 passengers daily (109 daily trips). During the day, between rush hours, boats are regularly fueled and maintenance work is performed. Terminals are cleaned around the clock and routine terminal maintenance is performed on the day shift. On weekends, three boats are used (75 trips each Saturday and 68 trips each Sunday). Over 35,000 trips are made annually.
Staten Island Ferry Lost and Found
The Ferry's Lost and Found Office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30am–4:30 pm. It is located in the St. George Terminal waiting room, next to the NYPD Police Room. For additional information, or Lost and Found assistance, please call 311. Outside of New York City please dial 212-NEW-YORK (212-639-9675). Passenger Service Staff will search for the lost object and call the passenger back directly with the results of the search.
St. George Terminal Late Night Closure.
The St. George Terminal waiting room will be intermittently closed between the hours of 1:00 am and 4:30 am in order to comply with federally mandated security procedures. During such times, passengers will be requested to wait inside the terminal in a designated location near the main pedestrian entrance. All passengers will have the ability, upon the completion of the sweep, to reenter the waiting room in order to board their intended boat. Thank you for your cooperation.
St. George Ramps Rehabilitation.
DOT has begun a $175 million rehabilitation of the ramps leading into the St. George Ferry Terminal with stimulus funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 under the Federal Transit Administration. The project consists of the rehabilitation of 8 ramps, demolition and reconstruction of the North Ramp access to parking lots and Richmond County Bank Ballpark, architectural improvements to the bus gates and canopies, improvements to pedestrian access, and creation of a bikeway and parking facility for cyclists. The project also includes refurbishing the Flute Sculpture, painting all structures, installation of new drainage and paving the North Municipal Parking Lot.
Download a brochure about the ramp construction
A Few Ferry Facts.
  • In the 1700s, ferry service was provided by private individuals with small twin mast sailboats called peraugers.
  • In 1817 the cost to cross the harbor was 25 cents and half price for children. This was the cost to ride the Nautilus, the first steam ferry to make the famous trip. The Nautilus was commanded by Captain John De Forest
  • Three of the ferries that were built to make the trip across the harbor were bought by the U.S. Navy to fight in the civil war. The Southfield I, Westfield I, and the Clifton I. None of these ferries ever returned to New York.
  • On July 30, 1871 at about 1:30 pm the ferry boat Westfield II experienced a catastrophic boiler explosion while in the slip at Whitehall. Several days after the disaster it was revealed that atleast 85 people had lost their lives. Several more were added to the death toll weeks later.
  • The 5 cents fare was established 1897. On October 10, 1972 the fare was raised to 10 cents. In 1975 the fare was increased to 25 cents. On August 1, 1990 the fare went up to 50 cents. Finally on July 4, 1997 the fare for foot passengers on the ferry was eliminated.
  • June 14th, 1901 the ferryboat Northfield was leaving Whitehall when it was struck by a Jersey Central Ferry the Mauch Chaunk and sank immediately. Fortunately there were two full deck crews aboard the Northfield and their swift actions saved many. Out of 995 passengers aboard the Northfield only 5 ended up missing. This accident was one of the major reasons that private operations of the ferries were ended and the City of New York took control.
  • Soon after Staten Island joined New York City in 1898, ferry service between St. George and Whitehall was transferred to the city Department of Docks and Ferries on October 25th 1905 and five new ferries -- one named for each of the five boroughs -- were commissioned.
  • In 1926 the city's original white color scheme was eliminated in favor of a reddish-maroon. This was changed to municipal orange later so that they could be seen in heavy fog and snow.
  • On February 8, 1958 The Dongan Hills was hit by the Norwegian tanker Tynefield. 15 passengers were injured.
  • In 1960, a bomb was set off on the Knickerbocker. There were no injuries.
  • The Pvt. Joseph Merrill and Cornelius G. Kolff ferries were converted to prison dormitories for Riker's Island.
  • In 1978, the American Legion crashed into the concrete seawall near the Statue of Liberty ferry port during a dense fog. 173 were injured.
  • Steam was used on the Staten Island ferries up until the 1980's
  • On May 16, 1981, the American Legion was rammed in the fog by a Norwegian freighter.
  • July 7th, 1986 a mentally disturbed person (Juan Gonzalez) with a machete attacked passengers on a ferry. Two people were killed and nine others were wounded.
  • On April 12th, 1995 The Ferry boat Barberi plowed into 4 slip in St. George due to a mechanical malfunction leaving 4 slip out of service and injuring a handful of passengers. The doors on the saloon deck were crushed by the aprons. The accident would have been much worse if not for the heroic actions of the bridge man who remained on station and lowered the bridge (While 7,066,000 lbs of Municipal Orange steel was heading straight for him) to the right height to help stop the boat.
  • After the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center the Staten Island Ferry transported tens of thousands of people out of lower Manhattan to safety on Staten Island. The captains docked the ferries under zero visibility as the smoke and debris from the collapses filled the sky. The following days passengers were not allowed on the ferries. The fleet was being used to transport emergency personnel and equipment to and from lower Manhattan. In addition to the emergency personnel and equipment the ferries were also being used to transport military personnel and equipment to Governors Island and lower Manhattan. Included in this were U.S. Army tanks. Since that day the Staten Island Ferry no longer carries cars.
  • September 19th, 1997 a car drove off the Staten Island Ferry and plunged into the water as the boat was approaching the slip. Upon seeing a car drive off the boat the captain of the ferry slammed his controls into reverse to stop the boat. The force of the impact of the car in the water caused the rear windshield to blow out of the car. This rush of water also carried the driver of the car out the back windshield. One deck hand was knocked into the water by the scissor gates at the front of the boat as the car pushed them aside. A dock builder who was working in the area jumped in to assist the deck hand and the driver. The driver of the car was an employee of the ferries when the accident happened.
  • October 15, 2003 at about 15:30 the ferry boat Andrew J. Barberi slammed into a maintenance pier at the Staten Island Maintenance Facility on Staten Island. The impact of the crash snapped the pilings at the seaward corner of the pier like toothpicks. After ripping apart the pilings the concrete slab of the pier tore through the main deck Staten Island end Jersey side of the ferry. As the concrete slab raced down the boat it wiped out everything that was in its path. Seats were ripped up and pushed to the back of the boat. The aluminum superstructure was ripped open like a tin can. All that could be done was to run and hope you could be quicker than the concrete slab. 10 people died that day and an 11th person died two months later from injuries from the accident. One lucky passenger jumped out the window of the ferry as the concrete slab headed towards him into the water and was rescued by maintenance personnel at the ferry.
  • On October 13, 2005, the American Bureau of Shipping presented the Department of Transportation with a "Voluntary Document of Compliance Certificate" for the DOT Staten Island Ferry Division and "Voluntary Safety Management Certificates" for all operational ferryboats. The presentation of these certificates culminates a year-long effort to develop and implement a safety management system and clearly demonstrates the commitment of the City of New York to this effort. The New York City Department of Transportation is now the first ferry operator in the United States to voluntarily comply with this internationally accepted safety regime.
The 3 New Staten Island Ferries.
The New York City Department of Transportation has taken delivery of 3 new Staten Island Ferries
  • The first of the 3 new ferries, The Guy V. Molinari arrived in New York Harbor on The 26th of September 2004.
  • The Second ferry, the Senator John J. Marchi arrived in New York Harbor on March 20 2005.
  • The last of the new ferries to arrive was the Spirit of America.
These Ferries were built by the Manitowoc Marine Group. These ferries will carry 4440 passengers and 30 vehicles each. One of the design goals was to capture the "Old Style" Ferry appearance and ambiance. Like the old car boats there will be outside seating areas. These new Ferries have been designed to meet the intent of The Americans with Disabilities Act. There will be a seating area on the hurricane deck between the pilot houses. Each new boat has a price tag of about $40,000,000.00.
  • The Ferries were designed by George G. Sharpe Inc. Marine system, analysis, & design.
  • The Ferries were constructed at Marinette Marine in Wisconsin. MADE IN AMERICA.
The Staten Island Ferry Emergency Response Vessel.
The newest addition to the DOT fleet is the American Legion III, the latest in the fleet to bear that name, a new high speed utility boat that was purchased with $1 million donated by the NASDAQ Disaster Relief Fund, Inc. to enable the Department to respond to emergency situations in and around lower Manhattan. Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding in Somerset, Massachusetts built the vessel which was delivered in March 2007. The new boat can hold 12 passengers in addition to its crew and has a top speed of 30 knots. In situations where a ferry may require assistance in mid-harbor, the utility boat will be used to shuttle maintenance staff quickly from the terminals to the boat. The boat will also be used to deliver DOT staff and equipment to the private ferry landings around Manhattan during an emergency.
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