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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 passenger ferry is run by Norfolkline - part of DFDS Seaways, who operate services between Rosyth in Fife and Zeebrugge in Belgium.
The passenger ferry is run by Norfolkline, part of DFDS Seaways, and chartered from Italian firm Visentini.
The passenger ferry is run by Norfolkline, part of DFDS Seaways, which operates services between Rosyth and Zeebrugge in Belgium.
travellers from the south west of England into South Wales - with the creation of a regular passenger ferry service
But two of the ferries, including the large Isabella passenger ferry carrying 1,322 passengers and crew, were already being freed, he said.
8 February 2010 - Danish freight and passenger ferry operator DFDS A/S (CPH: DFDS) said today it has agreed to charter its passenger ship Queen of Scandinavia for three years, starting on 15 April 2010, for an undisclosed sum.
One of the ferries was a passenger ferry that broke apart on collision, while the other, carrying both passengers and cars, overturned causing no injuries or fatalities, according to Reuters.
A PASSENGER ferry carrying 294 people collided with a cargo ship on the River Mersey at Liverpool yesterday.
BRITAIN'S fastest passenger ferry will be mothballed tomorrow -scuppered by the massive boom in cheap flights.
THE Red Cross today said it would send a passenger ferry to northern Sri Lanka to evacuate foreign nationals.
An SH-60B Seahawk from Bulkeley (DDG 84) evacuated an Iraqi national with heart attack symptoms from the passenger ferry Jebel Ali in the Arabian Gulf on 21 June.
Dover is Europe's busiest roll-on/roll-off freight and passenger ferry port with two dedicated cruise liner terminals, a deep-sea cargo terminal and a 400-berth marina.