Brand-new ferry gets christened in Florida before heading to Port Jeff


A brand-new, 302-foot auto and passenger ferry is all ready for the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company.

The shipbuilders, Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc., out of the Gulf Coast, will be host a christening and launch ceremony this Friday in Panama City, Fla.

This will mark the fourth ship in the company’s fleet. It has the capacity for 1,000 passengers and 124 cars, with speeds of up to 17 knots, according to, an industry trade media outlet.

The ferry is based on the P.T. Barnum and Grand Republic auto and passenger ferries that Eastern Shipbuilding Group previously constructed for McAllister Towing and Transportation Co., owners of the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company, reads a press release.

The ferry ushers people and cars between Long Island and Connecticut.

Eastern Shipbuilding has constructed more than a dozen vessels for McAllister, a longtime customer.

“We have been doing business with McAllister for more than 30 years,” said Joey D’Isernia, the shipbuilding company’s chairman and CEO.

“We are very proud that we have earned their trust with a gold standard that repeat customers like Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company and McAllister expect from a shipyard. We look forward to adding another state-of-the-art auto and passenger ferry to their fleet.”

Steel cutting for ESG Hull 228 commenced in January 2023 and a delivery is set for this fall.

The ferry will operate between Bridgeport, CT and Port Jefferson, NY.

Andrew Theodorakis/Yellow House Images
The ferry landing in downtown Port Jefferson, N.Y. Credit: Andrew Theodorakis/Yellow House Images

Fred Hall of Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company called the vessel “state of the art.”

“The new build will join a fleet which includes two other vessels previously built by Eastern: the P.T. Barnum (1999) and the Grand Republic (2003),” he said in a statement. “We look forward to the arrival of an exceptional high-quality vessel that will serve our customers, our crews and our company for many years to come.”

Click here to learn more about the ferry company’s storied and colorful history.

Top: A rendering of the new Sound ferry before its big debut Friday in Panama City, Fla. Credit: Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc., which operates three shipbuilding yards on the Golf Coast.

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