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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 ?
We see ourselves as custodians of the ferries that will be there for future generations to enjoy.
Passenger ferries carry pedestrians and bicyclists from point to point in large urban areas like New York City and San Francisco.
Merseytravel chief executive Neil Scales said the research service's findings meant the Mersey ferries were a "fantastic success story".
Coordination of such data with Global Positioning System satellites allows precise measurement of the positions at which samples are taken by each of the ferries.
Among the 15 vessels, four have been drydock jobs and a further three ferries are booked in for drydocking and repairs.
The Birkenhead company dry-docked 24 ferries and carried out a further 24 repairs on ferries afloat between 2013-14.
There will be more ferries and they will come with greater frequency.
In reducing NOX emissions of approximately 90 per cent, the natural gas-powered ferries are very environment-friendly.
This new vessel is one of four being delivered by the State Government to replace four timber-hulled ferries which are ageing and subject to restrictions on the loads they can carry, Mr Mullighan said.
Since the Battery Maritime Building's landings offer the only site for private ferry operations with direct connections to the subway, EDC anticipates that at least one of the other piers will be renovated for use by private commuter ferries.
STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- The Volvo Group (NASDAQ:VOLVF)(NASDAQ:VOLVY)(STO:VOLVA)(STO:VOLVB) will offer shipping companies the opportunity to equip ferries serving Sweden with special breathalyzer equipment at no cost.
The Department currently operates a vehicle ferry service in Strangford Lough between Strangford and Portaferry with two vehicle ferries and a back-up passenger ferry.