(redirected from ferries)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Idioms, Encyclopedia.


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 ?
When Horses Walked on Water: Horse-Powered Ferries in Nineteenth Century America.
The company originally planned to build all ferries bound for Hawaii in San Diego.
"There was no evidence showing that the weights of motor vehicles measured through the weighbridges are used to control the number of motor vehicles that board the ferries. The status remains the same during the year under review," Ouko said.
The ferry industry is investing more than PS1bn in improvements to ships and infrastructure, according to Discover Ferries.
Mahdi bin Mohammed al Abdwani, CEO of National Ferries Company said in a statement to Oman News Agency (ONA) that the both companies are owned by the government, therefore it will be easy to provide regular maintenance service for the company fleet as per world class standards, especially ODC is known for providing high quality service.
The only route which will be unaffected is the Poole-Cherbourg passenger service which is operated on our behalf by Condor Ferries.
Abdwani also pointed out that the National Ferries Company will launch, with effect from next Wednesday, the loading of cargos and vehicle services on the company ferries between Sultan Qaboos Port and Khasab Port.
Condor Ferries has launched a new Day Trip Plus Meal Package to the Channel Islands, which includes lunch or dinner at some of the islands' best-known restaurants.
Irish Ferries run a strict no-alcohol policy for staff while on board the Ulysses, the world's largest car ferry.
Now airlines are losing an air-sea battle over ticket prices to low-cost high-speed ferries for trips to Liverpool.
EMERALD SMILE: Dublin welcome; CRUISING IN LUXURY: The Ulysses (above and left), one of three ferries operating Irish Ferries' routes from Wales to Ireland
She has been operating in Greece since the mid-1980s.Until early this year, she was known as the Golden Vergina, but was then sold to Minoan Flying Dolphins/Hellas Ferries for pounds 2.25 million, and refurbished.