Delaware City – Salem Ferry Expands Service - Ferry Returns to Fort Mott; Special Tuesday Service from the City of Salem
(New Castle, DE) Today, Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) officials announced that the Delaware City-Salem Ferry (DCSF) service has expanded operations to include Fort Mott in Pennsville, New Jersey. The Delaware City-Salem Ferry operates between Delaware City, Delaware; Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island, the City of Salem (via Barber’s Basin at the Port of Salem) and Fort Mott in New Jersey.
“We are happy to be able to return to Fort Mott this year and yet continue to serve Salem, NJ,” said Heath Gehrke, Director of Ferry Operations for the Delaware River and Bay Authority. “Fort Delaware and Fort Mott have so much to offer – with a glimpse into two separate and very important time periods in our nation’s history - plus you get to take our ferry on the scenic Delaware River!” Gehrke noted that the ferry service served Fort Mott for fifteen years until 2012, when Superstorm Sandy severely damaged the pier facilities. Because the timetable for repairs to the pier were uncertain last year, the relocation of the ferry service to Salem was necessary.
“It’s so exciting to be able to restart the connection of world class coastal defense fortifications at Fort Mott and Fort Delaware that was severed by Superstorm Sandy,” added Raymond E. Bivens, Delaware Director of Parks.
According to Mark Texel, State Park Service Director, the New Jersey DEP and the State Park Service are very pleased to see this important heritage tourism linkage between our historic forts on both sides of the river reestablished. “It is very unfortunate that Superstorm Sandy impacted our ability to offer access to Ft. Mott from the River in 2013,” Texel said. “We have overcome these hurdles and are excited to be partnering once again with the DRBA and the DNREC to make this ferry service available between Fort Mott, Fort Delaware, and Delaware City.”
On April 26, 2014, the passenger ferry service will begin service between Delaware City, Fort Delaware and Fort Mott, on Saturdays only, through May 17, 2014. Beginning on May 24, the DCSF will expand operations to include weekends and holidays. As of June 11 and continuing through Labor Day, the DSCF will operate Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. On weekends and holidays, the service operates until 7:00 p.m. Visitors take a ½ -mile ferry ride from Delaware City to Pea Patch Island. A jitney provides transport from the island dock to the granite and brick fortress.
Beginning Tuesday, June 17, 2014, the DCSF will also continue to operate limited service every Tuesday from Delaware City to Salem (Barber’s Basin) and Fort Delaware through August 26, 2014. Passengers can drive their cars to Barber’s Basin, board the ferry vessel for Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island, and take a walking tour of the historic fort. The ferry service from this port is available via reservations only by calling 1-877-98-PARKS or online at http://delawarestateparks.reserveamerica.com.
The cost is $11 for adults, seniors and military members $10, and $6 for children 2-12. Children under 2 are free. Special rates for groups of 20 people or more are available including school groups, daycare facilities, and summer camps. Bicycle clubs welcome with reservations. No bikes will be permitted on Pea Patch Island.
At Fort Delaware, visitors experience authentic reenactments of Civil War episodes, both civilian and military as well as demonstrations of how people lived in the 1800s. Have a chat with Edmund Bryan, the only regular army soldier posted to Fort Delaware in the summer of 1864. Being the Ordnance Sergeant, he is in charge of all the ammunition in the fort. Visit the laundry and meet Julia Gunning, one of the fort's laundresses. Help her wash clothes the 19th-century way! Or ask Reverend Isaac Handy how he came to be a political prisoner at Fort Delaware.
Fort Mott was part of a coastal defense system designed for the Delaware River in the late 1800s. The fortifications seen today at Fort Mott were erected in 1896 in anticipation of the Spanish-American War. Today, visitors can wander through the old batteries following interpretive signs with detailed descriptions of the fort. Just beyond the fortifications is the Delaware River. The shoreline offers good spots for walking and picnicking. The NJ Coastal Heritage Trail Welcome Center accommodates displays defining Fort Mott’s place in history and the environment.
For departures and other information on activities and events in the area, please call Fort Delaware at 302-834-7941 (www.destateparks.com/park/fort-delaware) or Fort Mott at (856) 935-3218 www.njparksandforests.org. Or simply visit www.decitysalemferry.com.
Planning a wedding, anniversary, or business mixer? Let the Delaware City-Salem Ferry be part of your party. For more information call Cape May-Lewes Ferry customer relations at 1-800-643-3779.
About the Delaware River and Bay Authority
The DRBA, a bi-state governmental agency created by Compact in 1962, owns and operates the Delaware Memorial Bridge, the Cape May- Lewes Ferry, and the Delaware City – Salem Ferry Crossing. The DRBA also manages corporate and aviation properties through its economic development powers - two airports in New Jersey (Millville Airport and Cape May Airport) and three in Delaware (New Castle Airport, Civil Air Terminal and Delaware Airpark). All DRBA operating revenues are generated through the bridge, ferry and airport facilities. For more information, visit www.drba.net.