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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
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Tourism officials in the Sault and Mackinaw City have hit upon an adventurous method to introduce first-time visitors to the area with a new tour package known as Trains, Planes and Ferry Boats, a five-day excursion taking in the sights and sounds of local tourist, historical and gaming attractions in the Algoma district and northern Michigan.
The dolphin has been follwing the ferry boats back and forth across the Blasket Sound and spending the nights at the boat moorings on the Great Blasket or back in Dunchaoin.
Despite a massive city power outage, the afternoon San Francisco Examiner got out its editions, using a makeshift newsroom, two Macs, an emergency phone system and ferry boats to transport the papers from an East Bay printing plant.
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Summary: Manila [Philippines], Aug 4 (ANI): The death toll from the sinking of three ferry boats off the coast of central Philippine provinces of Iloilo and Guimaras yesterday rose to 25, the police said on Sunday.
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