New Port Jeff ferryboat makes a splash at shipyard in Panama City, Fla.


Long Islanders have seen the renderings.

On Friday, the newest ship built for the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company finally made its public debut at a launch ceremony in Panama City, Fla.

It’s expected to arrive in the Long Island Sound this October or November.

The vessel was christened by Rosemary McAllister of Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc., at the event that was also attended by representatives from the ferry company, which is a subsidiary of McAllister Towing.

“This launch is a testament to the dedication and expertise of our team at Eastern Shipbuilding Group,” said Joey D’Isernia, the shipbuilder’s chairman and CEO. “We are honored to partner with our friends at McAllister Towing and contribute to enhancing the transportation infrastructure for the residents and tourists of Long Island.

“This ferry will not only serve as a vital link between communities, but also exemplify our commitment to delivering excellence to our valued customers.”

Scroll down for more photos as the 1,000-passenger ferry makes a splash at Allanton Shipyard.

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.

The new boat will be the largest by 2 feet, at 302 feet in length, with space enough for 124 cars. Fred Hall of Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company called the vessel “state of the art.”

“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,” he said.

The ferries usher people over the Long Island Sound between Port Jeff and Connecticut.

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

Caption: The new ferry made its public debut at a launch ceremony in Panama City, Fla. Photos courtesy of Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc., which operates out of three Gulf Coast shipyards.

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