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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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a legal right to charge for transporting passengers by boat. See REGALIA MINORA.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006
References in periodicals archive ?
The local government authority bought it for rescue purpose because it also has a ferry boat there.
Dozens of girl students on board Ferry Boat 'ARFA KARIM' welcomed the parents of Miss Arfa Karim to commemorate the death anniversary of the daughter of Pakistan along with the Chief Mechanical Engineer Shakeel Ahmed on the occasion.
Here's a look at how the Ferry Boat Program works and how it is helping communities across the country build and maintain these important links in their transportation networks.
It has recently delivered two 18 metre Catamaran ferry boats to a client in the UK and completed the delivery of two wind farm support vessels (WFSV) to ASP Work Boats Ltd.
But it was smiles all round from lifeboatman Murray and the crew of the Elizabeth of Glamis as the Rev Dr Colin Wicker finally christened Katherine aboard the Broughty Ferry boat.
Down the back side, chased now, as almost throughout, by Ferry Boat (10st) and The Rip (10st 2lb), the two leaders galloped shoulder to shoulder and, although Robinson had not seriously asked him yet for a further effort, it was Mill House who showed the first ominous signs of strain.
Clinio Yalao of the Philippine Coast Guard said all but one of 137 missing passengers from a ferry boat that caught fire early Saturday have been rescued.
Like the time we crossed Lake Champlain on a ferry boat. The water was rough.
From the Front Street terminal, I boarded an open-air ferry boat from the Hamilton Dockyard (accessible by moped or bike) to go across the Great Sound to the Royal Naval Dockyard in Sandys parish, better known as Somerset, at the northwestern end of Bermuda.
'We are particularly worried that a ferry boat designed to carry only vehicles was illegally turned into a passenger's vessel, causing the loss of precious lives,' the agency stated.