DRBA, Local Officials Celebrate New Delaware City-Salem Ferry Service - Passenger Service Connects Historic Cities; First Public Sailing May 4, 2013
(Delaware River, NJ/DE) -- Today, Delaware River and Bay Authority officials joined with representatives from both New Jersey and Delaware to announce the relocation and rebranding of the Three Forts Ferry system. Reflecting the ferry’s new port of call, the renamed “Delaware City-Salem Ferry” will operate between Delaware City, Delaware; Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island, and Barber’s Basin at the Port of Salem. The passenger ferry service will begin its public schedule on Saturday, May 4, 2013.
“We’re really excited to bring the service to the City of Salem,” said Ceil Smith, DRBA Commissioner from Salem County. “Although Superstorm Sandy dealt the ferry service a blow, we had the ability to turn a negative situation into a positive one. The opportunity to relocate the dock closer to the City of Salem offers visitors more opportunities to enjoy the heritage and eco-tourism that the City of Salem has to offer.”
The Delaware City-Salem Ferry will begin public service in May, operating on Saturdays and on Memorial Day weekend, and then on Saturdays and Sundays in early June. Beginning June 12, the ferry service will operate up to five days a week, Wednesday through Sunday (and holidays) through September 2, 2013. For details and group reservations, go to http://www.destateparks.com/park/fort-delaware/ferry.asp or call 877-98-PARKS.
“I am very excited to have the DRBA ferry docking locally, connecting the historic towns of Salem City, New Jersey with Delaware City, Delaware,” said Charles Washington, Jr., Mayor of the City of Salem. “We are looking forward to helping increase ridership from the New Jersey side for the ferry and even more so to receive riders who can experience the history, architecture and fine business establishments of Salem City. We are grateful to the Authority for believing in Salem City and giving us the opportunity to showcase some of our most prized landmarks and enjoyed activities held in the City, as well as to give our business district the opportunity to be patronized.”
"Delaware City and Salem serve as the gateways to incredible recreational opportunities in Delaware Bay, from exploring military history at Fort Delaware State Park and accessing high quality bike trails to enjoying some of the best birding and hunting in the world,” said Collin O’Mara, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. “This new ferry service will introduce these historic and natural resources to thousands of new visitors every year."
“The Delaware City-Salem Ferry links the tale of two cities rich in many natural and historic treasures and architectural styles with the Civil War Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island.” said Scott Green, Executive Director of the Delaware River and Bay Authority. “And because the City of Salem was a key stop on the Underground Railroad, visitors can now experience another slice of history from this era.”
The schedule will include two dockings at Barber’s Basin, one at 9:30 a.m. departing for Delaware City and a 3:00 p.m. arriving back at Barber’s Basin. Limited visitor parking is available at Barber’s Basin for customers using the ferry service. Biking is permitted in Delaware City and in Salem City but not at Pea Patch Island.
Last October, Superstorm Sandy severely damaged the pier facility at Fort Mott. Because the timetable for repairs to this pier were uncertain, the relocation of the ferry service to another New Jersey port was necessary. Damages to the Delaware docks were less extensive and have been repaired.
In 1997, the Authority took over ferry operations from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), which owns and operates Fort Delaware through its Division of Parks and Recreation. Formerly named the Three Forts Ferry, the service connected Fort Mott, New Jersey; Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island; and Fort DuPont in Delaware City, Delaware.