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A specially constructed vessel to bring passengers and property across rivers and other bodies of water from one shoreline to another, making contact with a thoroughfare at each terminus. The landing place for a boat. A right or privilege to maintain a vessel upon a body of water in order to transport people and their vehicles across it in exchange for payment of a reasonable toll. Technically a ferry is considered a continuation of a highway from one side of the body of water that it passes over to the other.

The privilege of handling a ferry is called a franchise. A ferry franchise is a permit from the state to a specifically named individual giving that person the authority to operate a ferry. It is a general prerequisite to the lawful establishment of a public ferry. The operator of a ferry is not relieved of the duty to obtain a franchise by formation of a company, since the franchise becomes a contract between the owner and the state.

Usually the grant of a ferry franchise implicitly gives the recipient the power to collect tolls. Ferriage is the fare that the ferry operator may charge. The unauthorized establishment of another ferry within competing distance of an already existing one constitutes an infringement of the ferry franchise, even in the absence of physical interference.

A ferry franchise can be terminated either by expiration of its term or by revocation by the licensing authorities. It is generally subject to renewal, for which the original owner is usually given a preference.

A public ferry is for use by the public at large, whereas a private ferry is operated solely for the benefit of its proprietor.

The state has intrinsic authority to regulate and control ferries that operate within its borders. It may exercise such power by law or by contract with the operator. The state may regulate the transportation of dangerous articles, the nature and frequency of service, and the location of terminals. In addition, it may impose a license fee or tax on the operation of ferries within its boundaries.


a legal right to charge for transporting passengers by boat. See REGALIA MINORA.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Marine Transport Department, Public Transport Agency, has fitted four Ferry boats with the Nahaam system.
Scottish Engineers, were contracted to build the Transporter for PS68,026 in 1909, using Scottish Steel, but Teesside labour, although the steam ferry boats continued to provide a crossing until 1911.
One of the first ferry boats left Jeddah port on Thursday for Sudan's Sawakein port with 300 passengers on board," said Nama seaport transportation official Salah Oraibi.
People who chose to use the Dardanelles Strait to get to the Marmara region in ferry boats from the Aegean and Mediterranean regions caused long queues near the ports, which also adversely affected intra-city traffic.
ALL ABOARD: Injured Royal Marines Harry Simkins, from Falmouth, Rory O'Farrell, from Torquay, and Scott Ransley, from Halifax, will operate ferry boats at the Olympics site
toward acquiring two new or refurbished ferry boats for the Red Hook-Cruz Bay route--Government House noted that the FHA has given the Public Works Dept the go-ahead to begin soliciting bids for the project.
They have been evacuated with three ferry boats and two large passenger ships," a coastguard official said.
A great number of ferry boats with sufficient capacities can be immediately put in service, which will also generate substantial employment.
There were no fatalities following the landing; ferry boats quickly arrived to rescue passengers from the wings of the aircraft or from the river.
Rescuers in Coast Guard vessels and ferry boats opened the door and pulled passengers in yellow life vests from the aircraft.
The three ferry boats built to their order were: the Freda Cunningham, 1972; Shieldsman, 1976, and Pride of the Tyne, 1993.