Before the ravages of Covid-19 set in, the U.S. ferry market was showing just how dynamic a sector it is.
In 2019, ferries carried 113.6 million passengers, up from 110.7 million in 2017, according to the recently released 2020 National Census of Ferry Operators (NCFO).
Sixty-seven percent of operators reported passengers using ferries to commute to work and 59% of operators take passengers to recreational destinations, according to figures from the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). (Operators may choose multiple responses, so percentages may not total 100.)
The 246 operators who responded to the survey provided service through 760 terminals on 1,106 unique route segments in 40 states, three U.S. territories, and two Canadian provinces, using a fleet of 839 vessels.
Data collection began in June 2020 for the biennial report the government uses to set funding formulas. The 2020 data is available here.
Here’s a look at some of the comparative numbers from BTS:
Passengers 110.7 million 113.6 million
Vehicles 24.2 million 27 million
Fleet size 739 839
High volume states
Passengers 28.3 million 31 million
Vehicles 2.2 million 2.1 million
Passengers 27.4 million 28.7 million
Vehicles 11.5 million 11.9 million