Data collection for the National Census of Ferry Operators (NCFO) began on June 1. The Passenger Vessel Association is urging all its ferry members (both public and private) to participate.

Every two years, the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) conducts the NCFO. It provides the most accurate nationwide snapshot of ferry transportation throughout the U.S. and its territories. The information collected from the census is maintained in a national ferry database containing information regarding ferry routes, vessels, passengers and vehicles carried, funding sources, and other information. BTS conducted the initial NCFO in 2006 and has conducted NCFOs in 2008, 2010, 2014, 2016, and 2018.

The 2018 NCFO shows 181 ferry vessel operators nationwide with 749 vessels. The industry carried 126.2 million passengers and 27 million vehicles. Not every potential respondent participated in the census, but almost all of the significant ferry systems did so.

BTS conducts the census primarily by contacting prior respondents by email. The initial email was sent out on June 1. The email message provides a web page link through which the participating ferry operator can respond. The operator’s 2018 data should be preloaded, so that only updated or corrected information needs to put in. This should make the response process easier.

The web page of the 2020 ferry census is:

PVA uses the statistics developed by the National Census of Ferry Operators to advocate for government policies that promote ferry transportation. The data is also used by the Federal Highway Administration to determine the dollar amounts each state and territory receive under the Federal Ferry Boat Formula Grant program.

Direct questions to:

National Census of Ferry Operators
BTS Office of Survey Programs
1200 New Jersey Ave SE
WashingtonDC 20590

United States

[email protected]

Phone: 800-853-1351

Alt: 202-366-3282

Business Hours:
8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. ET, Monday-Friday