A ferry is a merchant vessel used to carry passengers, and sometimes vehicles and cargo as well, across a body of water. Most ferries operate regular return services. A passenger ferry with many stops, such as in Venice, Italy, is sometimes called a water bus or water taxi.

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World's Most Famous Ferries (Staten Island Ferry in New York, USA)

World’s Most Famous Ferries (Staten Island Ferry in New York, USA)

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Ferries form a part of the public transport systems of many waterside cities and islands, allowing direct transit between points at a capital cost much lower than bridges or tunnels. However, ship connections of much larger distances (such as over long distances in water bodies like the Mediterranean Sea) may also be called ferry services, especially if they carry vehicles.

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Stena Line Ferries

Stena Line Ferries

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A contender as oldest ferry in continuous operation is the Mersey Ferry from Liverpool to Birkenhead, England. In 1150, the Benedictine Priory at Birkenhead was established. The monks used to charge a small fare to row passengers across the estuary.
The world’s largest ferries are typically those operated in Europe, with different vessels holding the record depending on whether length, gross tonnage or car vehicle capacity is the metric. In 1811, inventor John Stevens’ ship the Juliana, began operation as the first steam-powered ferry (service was between New York City, and Hoboken, New Jersey).

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