Ferry Boat Business: Starting a Ferry Business

Areas with water ways are ideal for ferry boat business. Cities with huge population usually face the challenge of adequate transportation.
The huge population alongside overstretched infrastructure equates to traffic gridlocks and difficult time management. Other modes of transportation such as train services, commercial buses and light rail are usually inadequate.
Smart investors interested in transport business could purchase a ferry. Ferry boats are an effective way to beat traffic and reduce stress.
They a punctual and time management is much easier using this mode of transportation. Commercial ferry boats are either government owned or privately owned businesses. And the destination are predetermined and controlled by sea transport authorities.
Different Types of Ferries
Ferry boats are not exclusively used to transport passengers from one location to another.’ Ferry’ is a generic name that includes both human, animal and cargo transportation. Listed are some common types used in the maritime industry.
Double Ended Ferries-We have the double ended ferries were the prow and stern are interchangeable. They remain constant despite the direction the ferry travels.
Roll-on/roll-off ferries are common to United Kingdom and effective cargo vehicles. They are very dynamic and effective freight transporters. Another type of ferry is the car boats.
Car Boat Ferry is designed to accommodate cars and different types of automobiles. They are common in the America and similar in function to roll-on boats.
Channel ferries are powerful vessels usually found on busy channels. They are capable of going long distances depending on the operator’s destination. Another unique ferry is the catamarans they are fast passenger boats favored by private operators.
Types of Ferries
  • Air Ferries
  •  Cable
  • Train ferry
  • Pontoon
  • Turntable
  • Fast RoPax ferry
  • Cruise-ferry
  • Roll-on/roll-off
  • Catamaran
  • Canoe
  • Hovercraft
  • Hydrofoil
  • Double-ended
How Ferry Boats Generate Income
Ferry boats generate income in four ways. The boat could run a private chatter operation alongside its commercial venture.
A prospective client chatters the boat for a specified duration and date. The primary income of commercial ferry boats are through ticket sales.
However the boats owner could organize tourist tours especially during holidays and weekend. They boat could even serve as an event center for weddings, engagements and parties.
Fares and Tickets
Passenger ferries generate income through the sale of tickets. The tickets are graduated as one way tickets for adults, youths and children under 5 when accompanied.
Other ticket holders are senior citizens, disabled, school groups and short hop tickets. The price varies according to type of ferry location, distance and country.
As a rule a ticket is only used on the route that were originally purchased. Some ferries allow ticket transfer which attracts a discounted transfer fee.
The usually practice is that passenger purchase tickets at a ticketing office before docking or onboard the vessel. Common boarding policy involves ticket confirmation before the trip.
Top players in the industry accept cash, POS credit/debit card and online payments. And most fees are subject to change.
One-Way Fares.
Fares very according to geographical location and distance travelled.  We have listed fees based on ferry services along San Francisco Bay. Obviously the fees differ and very from one operator to the next.
  • Adults $6.6-$6.9.
  • Adults with clip cards $5.00-$5.20
  • Youths 5-18 $3.30-$3,40
  • Children under 5 accompanied FREE
  • School groups $2.20-$2,30  
The distances usually take short periods and the boats can accommodate large number of people. Ferry service boats regularly make many scheduled trips per-day.
Common Guidelines for Ferry Operations
The guideline for ferry operators depends on the country of operation and services. Ferry services most provide baggage security and are subject to federal inspections. The ferry facility should be approved by the USCS before operation. Commercial merchandize are to be declared especially if they are for export purposes.
You need a ferry operational license and your captain should have maritime experience and certification. Other agencies involved in maritime issues are Marine Operational Services, Public Health services, Fish and Wildlife, Immigration and Naturalization and Custom services.
Ferry Boat Business
Write a ferry boat business plan and acquire/ lease appropriate terminal. You need a boat and get all legal permits and licenses.
There is a host of legalities such as boat registration, fire safety, passenger safety, sea worthiness certificate and loads of permits. Hire a professional conversant with maritime business to write the plan.
Another major obstacle is funding the business. Ferry boat business is capital intensive and very challenging.


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