Ferries Are Forever | Los Angeles Public Library
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Ferries Are Forever

Galina Stoyanova , Librarian, Business & Economics Department,
View of the New York City skyline from the Staten Island Ferry
View of the New York City skyline from the Staten Island Ferry

In ancient times – the profession of the ferryman is embodied in Greek mythology in Charon, the boatman who transported souls across the River Styx to the Underworld.

In present times – more riders, more new boats, more new routes are being added for the ferry industry. Our Power Ships magazine reports – “Royal Launch for Red Jet 6” – Princess Anne, The Princess Royal, served as the Godmother for hew Isle of Wight Ferry Red Jet 6, the first high-speed ferry build in Britani for the nearly 20 years.

Commuter or tourist, passenger-only or passenger/vehicle, conventional or high speed, there are new ferries in all categories. There are many types of boat ferries – double-ended, hydrofoil, hovercraft, catamaran, Ro-Ro, cruise ferry – in addition to very small row or motor boats carrying just a few passengers.

Naples to Ischia, Italy

Naples to Ischia, Italy

There is something about sightseeing from the water that just can’t be beat. Ferryboats offer the most scenic, economical, and often the fastest, way to get from one point to another. Many of the world’s great cities developed around some body of water; ferries soon followed, making them one of the most available and reliable forms of travel. When abroad, riding the ferries allows me to rub elbows with local commuters – and I get to enjoy the best views as a bonus.

the author smiling while sitting as a passenger on a ferry

Ferries tend to get crowded!

Mount Vesuvius as seen from a CareMare ferry

Mount Vesuvius as seen from a CareMare Ferry

The one that I frequent the most is New York’s Staten Island Ferry. The Staten Island Ferry has starred in films, songs and TV shows, and is always a favorite among tourists. It may be a service provided for commuters between Staten Island and Whitehall Terminal, but for visitors it offers one of the most celebrated views in the world.

a few of the staten island ferry

The dearest and the cheapest of them all - (free!)

a digital display of the staten island ferry departure schedule

The most reliable public transport in New York.

view of statue of liberty

A view of the Statue of Liberty and NYC skyline as seen from Staten Island Ferry

The NYC operated the Staten Island Ferry since 1905. The Ferry carries over 23 million passengers annually on a 5.2 mile run. The joy of a ferryboat ride in New York is in the contrast it offers. You pull away from the dock, and the crowds, traffic and noise fade into the distance. The sky grows larger; the daily roar dims; and in that temporary sanctuary of the floating world you are cut loose from the obligations, anxieties, and other details that always seems to clamor for attention… I am the last ashore.

There are hundreds of sensational ferry rides in the world, offering everything from thrilling urban skylines to breathtaking natural beauty.

Arriving to Ischia Porto

Arriving to Ischia Porto
Landing in Ischia Porto
Landing in Ischia Porto
Eight days later, on another ferry – hydrofoil type- back to Naples

Eight days later, on another ferry – hydrofoil type  back to Naples

For about 20 Euros, a hydrofoil takes you to Naples in 40 minutes.

For about 20 Euros, a hydrofoil takes you to Naples in 40 minutes.

About a year ago, Staten Island Ferry became a center of a practical joke. Read a Fish Tale below. It seems quite believable and according to the hoax creator, about 90 percent of the people bought his sea tale with many tentacles. To reinforce the hoax, the artist created and installed a sculpture overlooking the murky waters of New York Harbor. He also created a fake "Staten Island Ferry Disaster Memorial Museum," a Facebook page, and a website commemorating the make-believe disaster. It reads –

“The year was 1963 and it was close to 4 a.m. on the quiet morning of November 22 when the steam ferry Cornelius G. Kolff vanished without a trace. On its way with nearly four hundred people, mostly on their way to work, the disappearance of the Cornelius G. Kolff remains both one of New York’s most horrific maritime tragedies and perhaps its most intriguing mystery. Nobody on board survived and only small pieces of wreckage have been found with large “suction cup-shaped” marks on them. Eye witness described “large tentacles” which “pulled” the ferry beneath the surface a short distance from its destination at Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan. The only conclusion scientists and officials could point to was that the ferry had been attacked by a massive octopus, roughly half the size of the boat. This disaster went almost completely unnoticed by the public as later that day another, more “newsworthy” tragedy would befall the nation when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The Staten Island Ferry Disaster Museum hopes to correct this oversight by preserving the memory of those lost in this tragedy and educating the public about the truth behind the only known giant octopus-ferry attack in the tri-state area.”

statue of the octopus swallowing the cornelius ferry

The Staten Island Ferry hoax sculpture

Would you buy it and if not, what would make you doubt it? I thought for a minute that at 4 a.m. the ferry most likely does not run and if it runs, it cannot have so many passengers on board, but I have to admit that I bought the entire tale any way!

OK, back to reality.

There are 6,200 registered ferry lines throughout 135 countries in addition to countless small ferry boats working everywhere.

Nice to Corsica

Nice to Corsica

Even the simplest of boats can float you to new worlds.

Puerto Ayora, Galapagos, Ecuador

Puerto Ayora, Galapagos, Ecuador

We all can easily enjoy what we have in Los Angeles area – Catalina Express ferry takes you to Avalon in a little over one hour, for about $37. All aboard!

catalina flyer ferry

Los Angeles County very own Avalon Express