Ferries as a Passion

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Ferries are more than just a mode of transportation for many people. They are a passion and hobby. Ferry enthusiasts enjoy learning about the history of ferries, collecting models, and spotting ferries in different locations. Whether it’s a small foot ferry or a large car ferry, there is something about these vessels that captures the hearts of those who love them.

Ferry history is a fascinating topic for enthusiasts. From the earliest ferries that were powered by oars to the modern, high-speed ferries of today, there is a lot to learn about the evolution of these vessels. Types of ferries are also of interest to enthusiasts, from the classic paddlewheel steamers to the sleek catamarans that are used for commuter service in some areas. Building and maintaining a collection of ferry models is another hobby that many ferry enthusiasts enjoy.

Ferry spotting is a popular pastime that involves traveling to different locations to see ferries in action. Enthusiasts gather at ferry terminals to watch the boats come and go, and some even take trips on ferries just for the experience. There is a strong community of ferry enthusiasts who share their passion through online forums and social media groups. Resources for learning about ferries and connecting with other enthusiasts are readily available.

Key Takeaways

  • Ferry enthusiasts have a passion for learning about the history of ferries, collecting models, and spotting ferries in different locations.
  • The evolution of ferries from the earliest oar-powered vessels to modern high-speed ferries is a fascinating topic for enthusiasts.
  • Building a collection of ferry models and connecting with other enthusiasts through online forums and social media groups are popular hobbies within the ferry community.

Ferry History

Evolution of Ferries

Ferries have been used for transportation since ancient times, with evidence of ferry crossings dating back to 3000 BC in Mesopotamia. Over time, ferries have evolved from simple rafts and canoes to more sophisticated boats and vessels that can carry both passengers and vehicles.

In the 19th century, steam-powered ferries became popular, allowing for faster and more efficient transportation across bodies of water. By the 20th century, ferries had become an integral part of transportation infrastructure, connecting cities and towns across the world.

Famous Historical Ferries

Throughout history, many ferries have become iconic symbols of their respective regions and have played important roles in shaping their communities. Here are a few examples:

  • The Staten Island Ferry: This ferry has been transporting passengers between Manhattan and Staten Island since the late 1800s and has become a symbol of New York City. It has also been featured in many movies and TV shows, including “Working Girl” and “Sex and the City.”

  • The Sydney Ferries: These ferries have been operating in Sydney Harbor since the 1800s and have become an important part of the city’s transportation network. The fleet includes both modern vessels and historic ferries that have been restored and preserved.

  • The Washington State Ferries: These ferries operate in the Puget Sound region of Washington State and are the largest ferry system in the United States. They have been transporting passengers and vehicles since the early 1900s and have become an important part of the state’s transportation infrastructure.

Ferries continue to play an important role in transportation today, providing a unique and enjoyable way to travel across bodies of water. Whether you’re commuting to work or exploring new destinations, ferries offer a convenient and scenic way to get around.

Types of Ferries

Ferries come in different shapes and sizes, and they are designed to operate in different environments. Here are the main types of ferries:

River Ferries

River ferries are designed to operate on rivers and other inland waterways. They are usually smaller than sea ferries and have a shallower draft to navigate shallow waters. River ferries are often used for short trips and sightseeing tours. They can be powered by diesel engines, electric motors, or paddle wheels.

Sea Ferries

Sea ferries are designed to operate in open waters, such as oceans and seas. They are larger and more stable than river ferries and can carry more passengers and vehicles. Sea ferries can travel long distances and are often used for international travel. They are usually powered by diesel engines or gas turbines.

Canal Ferries

Canal ferries are designed to operate on canals and other narrow waterways. They are smaller than river ferries and can navigate through locks and under low bridges. Canal ferries are often used for leisurely sightseeing tours and transportation of goods. They can be powered by diesel engines, electric motors, or even human power.

Each type of ferry has its own advantages and disadvantages, and choosing the right type of ferry depends on the intended use and the environment it will operate in.

Building and Maintaining a Ferry Collection

Acquiring Model Ferries

Building a collection of model ferries can be an exciting and rewarding hobby for those who are passionate about these vessels. There are many ways to acquire model ferries, including:

  • Purchasing from hobby stores or online retailers
  • Attending model shows or exhibitions
  • Building your own models from kits or scratch

When selecting model ferries to add to your collection, it’s important to consider factors such as scale, quality, and authenticity. Look for models that are true to the original vessel in terms of design, colors, and markings.

Maintaining Your Collection

Once you have acquired a collection of model ferries, it’s important to maintain them properly to ensure their longevity and preservation. Here are some tips for maintaining your collection:

  • Store your models in a cool, dry place to prevent warping or damage
  • Clean your models regularly with a soft, dry cloth to remove dust and debris
  • Avoid exposing your models to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures
  • Handle your models with care, especially when moving or transporting them

If you have models that require assembly or repairs, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully or seek the assistance of a professional model builder or repair technician.

Building and maintaining a collection of model ferries can be a fun and rewarding hobby for those who are passionate about these vessels. With proper care and attention, your collection can be enjoyed for years to come.

Ferry Spotting

Ferry spotting is a popular hobby for people who love to watch and identify different types of ferries. It is a great way to spend time near the water and appreciate the beauty of these vessels. In this section, we will discuss how to identify different ferries and the best locations for ferry spotting.

Identifying Different Ferries

To identify different ferries, you need to know what to look for. Here are some key characteristics to help you identify different types of ferries:

  • Size: Ferries come in different sizes. Some are small and can carry only a few passengers, while others are large and can carry hundreds of passengers and vehicles.
  • Shape: Ferries can be round, square, or rectangular in shape. Some have a pointed bow, while others have a flat bow.
  • Color: Ferries can be painted in different colors. Some are painted in bright colors, while others are painted in more muted colors.
  • Name: Ferries are usually named after a person, place, or thing. The name of the ferry can give you an idea of its origin or purpose.

Best Locations for Ferry Spotting

If you are interested in ferry spotting, there are many great locations to choose from. Here are some of the best locations for ferry spotting:

  • Ports and harbors: Ports and harbors are great places to watch ferries come and go. You can see different types of ferries and observe the loading and unloading of passengers and vehicles.
  • Bridges: Bridges that cross over waterways are also great places to watch ferries. You can see ferries passing under the bridge and get a great view of their size and shape.
  • Beaches: Beaches are great places to watch ferries from a distance. You can see ferries sailing across the water and enjoy the scenery.

In conclusion, ferry spotting is a fascinating hobby that allows you to appreciate the beauty of these vessels and learn about their different characteristics. By identifying different ferries and visiting the best locations for ferry spotting, you can have an enjoyable and educational experience.

Community and Resources

Ferry Hobbyist Groups

One of the best ways to connect with other ferry enthusiasts is to join a hobbyist group. These groups can provide a wealth of knowledge, resources, and support for those just starting out or looking to deepen their passion. Some popular ferry hobbyist groups include:

  • The Ferry Enthusiasts Society: This international group has been around since 1950 and offers a quarterly newsletter, an annual conference, and access to a members-only online forum.
  • Ferry Fans United: This Facebook group has over 2,000 members and is a great place to share photos, stories, and information about ferries from around the world.
  • The Ferry Forum: This online forum has been around since 2004 and has over 8,000 members. It’s a great place to ask questions, share information, and connect with other ferry enthusiasts.


There are many great books available for those interested in learning more about ferries. Here are a few recommendations:

  • “Ferries of the World” by Niklas Ahlstroem: This comprehensive book covers over 1,000 ferries from around the world and includes detailed information about each one.
  • “Ferry Tales: Wit, Wisdom, and a Bartender’s Secrets from the Bar of the Port Jefferson Ferry” by Wally Schaefer: This entertaining book tells the stories of the regulars who frequent the bar on the Port Jefferson ferry in Long Island, New York.
  • “Ferryboats: A Legend on Puget Sound” by Steven J. Pickens: This book tells the story of the ferryboats that have been an integral part of life in the Pacific Northwest for over a century.

Online Resources

There are also many great online resources available for those interested in ferries. Here are a few to check out:

  • FerrySite: This website has information about ferries from around the world, including schedules, photos, and news.
  • FerryTravel.com: This website is a great resource for those looking to plan a ferry trip, with information about schedules, routes, and fares.
  • MarineTraffic: This website allows you to track ferries (and other ships) in real-time using AIS technology.

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned ferry enthusiast, there are many resources available to help you deepen your passion and connect with others who share your love of ferries.


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