Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry

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Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry
The P.T. Barnum at Port Jefferson Harbor
Waterway Long Island Sound
Line Bridgeport - Port Jefferson
Carries passengers, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, trucks, and buses of all sizes
Operator Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company
Began operation 1883
Travel time 1 hour and 15 minutes, one way
No. of vessels 3
No. of terminals 2
Yearly ridership 1,000,000 (2005)
Yearly vehicles 460,000 (2005)

The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry crosses Long Island Sound between the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut and the Long Island village of Port Jefferson, New York.


The first ferry service began in 1872 and proved popular.[1] The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company was subsequently founded in 1883 by several backers, including P.T. Barnum, who served as the first president of the ferry line.[2] Another important founder of the line was Charles E. Tooker, who was the first captain of the Nonowantuc.[3] All season transportation began in 1983 with the launching of the Grand Republic. Since 1980, the President has been Brian McAllister who also owns one hundred percent of the company's shares.[4] The McAllisters purchased the company in 1960 from Joseph Tooker.[5] Both the city of Bridgeport and the Bridgeport Port Authority receive a percentage of the ferry's ticket sales.[6]

Notable events[edit]


The Bridgeport and Port Jefferson Steamboat Company sponsors the Ferry Cup for the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball's Bridgeport Bluefish and Long Island Ducks. The teams ride the ferry to play each other all season, and the cup is awarded to whichever team has more victories over the other.[10]

Expansion proposals[edit]

Several expansions are under consideration for the line.

High speed ferry[edit]

Since 2006 a proposal has been under consideration to add another run to the ferry's operations. The new service would link Bridgeport to Stamford, Connecticut with a 45 minute one-way trip, with a continuation on to lower Manhattan.[11] A feasibility study has come out in support of a two boat solution to run during peak commuting hours, possibly including one boat service for off peak and weekend traffic. So far $9 million has been spent on the project up to 2008.[12]

New Haven service[edit]

Since 2004 there have been discussions to expand service to include New Haven as a destination from Port Jefferson. Initially one boat would be used from the existing three ship fleet, but if demand warrants a fourth ferry would be added.[13]

New Bridgeport Dock[edit]

Since the late 1990s, the Bridgeport Port Jefferson Ferry has wanted to move the Bridgeport Ferry Dock across the harbor to the former Turbana site, to allow more expanding and easier dock access. The $15 million project also includes the construction of a nearby supermarket and a waterfront park. The city of Bridgeport however, has denied approval several times.[14]


The distance between the two ports is approximately 18 miles (29 km). The average crossing is one hour and fifteen minutes in duration.


41°10′21″N 73°10′55″W / 41.17250°N 73.18194°W / 41.17250; -73.18194

The ferry is located at 330 Water Street Dock Bridgeport, CT 06604. It is within walking distance of the Arena at Harbor Yard, the Ballpark at Harbor Yard, the Barnum Museum, the Metro-North station, the main GBTA Bus Station, the Klein Memorial Auditorium, and most of the downtown. In 2004 a new car loading ramp was installed featuring AASHTO HS-20 truck capacity.[15]

Port Jefferson[edit]

40°56′46″N 73°3′44″W / 40.94611°N 73.06222°W / 40.94611; -73.06222

The ferry is located at 102 West Broadway Port Jefferson, NY 11777. A large gold leaf statue of an eagle was erected on the corner of Routes 112 and 25A in 2002, replacing one of Thomas Jefferson. Directly across from the dock, it is a monument for victims of 9/11.[16] The ferry is approximately one mile north of the Port Jefferson LIRR station.[17]


The ferries can accommodate passengers on foot, with bicycles, motorcycles, cars, trucks, and buses including those over 55 feet in length. There is no charge for children under the age of 12.[18] Service is year-round, and begins from both Bridgeport and Port Jefferson at 6.30AM and continues throughout the day at an hourly basis until 10PM with some exceptions.[19]

There have been eleven vessels to operate on the line. The ships below have the following statistics, except where noted.[2][20]

Current ships[edit]

  • Park City (launched in 1986, 47 feet (14 m) wide/288 feet (88 m), 3000 horsepower, speed 15 knots): The ship can carry up to 1000 passengers and 95 vehicles. In 2012, it underwent a midlife overhaul, which included a new elevator, and a refurbished interior.[21]
  • P.T. Barnum (launched in 1999, 52 feet (16 m) wide/300 feet (91 m),. 1595 gross tons, 6000 horsepower, speed 20 knots): The ship can carry up to 1,000 passengers and 120 vehicles and was constructed at a cost of $14 million.
  • Grand Republic (launched in 2003, 52 feet (16 m) wide/300 feet (91 m),. 1595 gross tons, 6000 horsepower, speed 20 knots): The ship can carry up to 1,000 passengers and 120 vehicles and was constructed at a cost of $14 million.

Decommissioned ships[edit]

  • Catskill - A steam powered ferry constructed in 1924 and taken out of service in 1968.[22]
  • Grand Republic (launched in 1983, 44 feet (13 m) wide/260 feet (79 m) long, 3000 horsepower, speed 15 knots): The previous Grand Republic could carry up to 1000 passengers and 85 vehicles. It was constructed at a cost of $6 million and was sold to Cross Sound Ferry Services, Inc. for the New London-Orient Point run of the Cross Sound Ferry. There the ship was renamed "Mary Ellen" but retains its hull number of 30.[23]
  • Martha's Vineyard - Before the (1983) Grand Republic, this steel hulled diesel-powered ship ran seasonally (no winter service) with six round trips a day from 1968. It was built in Bath, Maine in 1923.[24]
  • Nonowantuc - An original (soft coal fueled) ferry, it was slightly smaller than the 1898 Park City, but also featured masts if the boilers failed.[25]
  • Park City - A previous Park City served from 1898 through 1951. Built for $50,000, 28 feet (8.5 m) wide/150 feet (46 m) long 898 gross tons, 800 horsepower, 15 knots. Coal (hard)powered.[25]
  • Priscilla Alden - A wooden ferry which served until 1946, it lies in shallow water at Mt. Misery Cove, north of Port Jefferson.[3]



  1. ^ "Powered by Google Docs" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  2. ^ a b Cavanaugh, Jack (August 1, 1999). "The View From/Bridgeport; With Ridership Rising, Ferry Gets a New Ship". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  3. ^ a b "Crossing the Sound, the ferry’s history in photographs". 2007-02-23. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  4. ^ a b "Docket No. 08-3886-cv. - BRIDGEPORT AND PORT JEFFERSON STEAMBOAT COMPANY v. BRIDGEPORT PORT AUTHORITY - US 2nd Circuit". Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  5. ^ Bridgeport on the Sound - Google Books. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Cavanaugh, Jack (July 12, 1987). "Boaters on the Sound; The More, the Riskier". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  8. ^ "Long Island Sound ferry rescues crew of capsized research vessel | Articles & Archives | Archives | Professional Mariner, Journal of the Maritime Industry, Maritime Industry News". Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  9. ^ Anonymous Source within company
  10. ^ "Bluefish and Ducks Introduce Ferry Cup" (Press release). Bridgeport Bluefish. April 14, 2009. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Welcome to the Port of Bridgeport". Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  13. ^ Lyle, Morgan (October 17, 2004). "Pros and Cons Of New Haven Ferry Service". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Microsoft Word - Newsletter Page 1 - 0404.doc" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  16. ^ Fischler, Marcelle S. (June 30, 2002). "Long Island Journal; Tug of War Over a Monument". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  17. ^ [1][dead link]
  18. ^ "Rates". Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  19. ^ "The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company Web Store :: Events". 2011-02-03. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  20. ^ "Ferries Built in the U.S. since WWII". 2009-10-06. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ A. Kisselgof. "Final chapter: The Islander and other bygone ferries". US-MA: Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  23. ^ "US-Flag Ferries, Privately Owned". 2010-06-05. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  24. ^ Bridgeport on the Sound - Google Books. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  25. ^ a b Long Island Genealogy. "The legendary Park City of The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company". Retrieved 2011-03-02. 

External links[edit]