Everything to know about the new ferryboat that’s headed to Port Jefferson


The much-anticipated arrival of a brand-new ferry vessel to Port Jefferson is set for October or November of this year.

And the 1,000-passenger boat will be called the Long Island.

It will actually be the second Bridgeport to Port Jefferson ferry to have the name. The first served the route from 1924 to 1936.

That’s all according to Fred Hall of the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company, which commissioned Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc. to build the 302-foot boat from scratch.

The Long Island hit the water Friday in Panama City, Fla.

“While the launch is an important step in the building of a new vessel, there remains a tremendous amount of work to be done prior to placing the vessel in service. Plus, the Long Island must undertake a three- to four-day trip from the shipyard in Florida” to Long Island, Hall said.

At a top speed of 17 knots with room enough for 124 cars, the trip time across the Long Island Sound will remain one hour and 15 minutes.

But we had more questions for Hall. Keep scrolling.

Q: With the addition of the Long Island, will four ferries now be running daily?

A: The plan at the present time is to have a four vessel fleet, which will give the company the opportunity to offer three vessel service on weekends year round, even if one ferry is in the  shipyard. This is not possible when only three vessels are in the fleet. While scheduling four vessels is not possible due to conflicting arrivals and departures, the extra vessel can be used to operate as a shuttle during particularly busy periods.

Additionally,  a fourth ferry can be assigned charters, excursions and special events. Examples from the past have included trips to Rye Playland and even overnight trips during foliage season on the Hudson River to Albany, N.Y.

Q: Are there any plans for later services to and from Connecticut?

A: The latest that the company schedules runs on weekends is 10 p.m. from Port Jefferson, and 10:15 p.m. from Bridgeport. This generally accommodates the majority of events [from New England]. Some later trips have been added at the specific request of Bridgeport entertainment venues but this does not mean that all entertainment travel needs can be accommodated. When a later-than-normal trip is available, it will be noted on the ferry website.

Q: Can you highlight some new features of the Long Island to look forward to?

A: “Something we have added to the new vessel is a cabin to accommodate those traveling with pets. This was suggested by customers who are allergic or made nervous by pets in the other passenger spaces. The Long Island  has been engineered with the environment in mind. Technologically advanced Tier 4 engines will provide reliable propulsion with reduced emissions. And, in 2024, the company expects to take over 500,000 vehicles off the highways on both sides of Long Island Sound thus becoming a substantial  and integral part of transportation solutions in our area.”

This will be the fourth ship in the ferry company’s fleet, and the third active ferry built by Eastern Shipbuilding. Two others, the PT Barnum (1999) and Grand Republic (2003) also hold up to 1,000 passengers, each with room for 120 cars.

The smallest in the fleet, Park City (1986) holds up to 1,000 passengers and 94 cars.

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

Top: The Long Island made its public debut at a launch ceremony in Panama City, Fla. Photo courtesy of Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc., which operates out of three Gulf Coast shipyards.

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