NY Waterway’s new 400-passenger fast catamaran ferry Molly Pitcher, built for service between New Jersey and New York City, completed its first sea trials and will start carrying passengers before the end of July, company officials predict.

“It’s been to New York once, and its back at Yank Marine now to get the final details finished,” said Pat Smith, a spokesman for NY Waterway. As the final fitting out progresses the company is awaiting final approvals from the Coast Guard too, he said.

NY Waterway founder and CEO Arthur E. Imperatore made a big bet back in 1986 that people would gladly take to the water to avoid commuter hell on trains, buses and the city’s overcrowded bridge and tunnel crossings. The company has two new boats coming from the Yank Marine yard in Tuckahoe, N.J. – significantly, the first city ferries built in New Jersey since the heyday of the trade in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The 109’x26’x6’ Molly Pitcher has a lot of freedom for maneuver. Its New Jersey port at Belford, on the harbor’s southernmost shore in Raritan Bay, needs frequent dredging for deeper-draft fishing boats, so that shallow draft will ease operations when there is traffic.

Molly Pitcher is named for a Revolutionary War heroine at the 1778 battle of Monmouth that happened a few miles inland from Belford.The forthcoming sister ship Betsy Ross recalls the Philadelphia seamstress said to have fashioned the first American flag.

07.14.15 Molly Pitcher2Both will have extra legroom seating on two decks, Art Deco styling, fully tiled bathrooms, wi-fi so passengers can have internet access to and from work, and flat-panel video screens. There is LED lighting throughout and a full service, marble surface drinks and snack bar on the lower deck for coffee in the morning and cocktails on the ride home.

With two 2,300 horsepower diesels the boats are Tier 3 compliant with EPA standards and will make their usual runs in 28 knots, the company says. From their New Jersey terminal the boats have stops at Pier 11 near Wall Street on the East River, the World Financial Center on the Hudson River, Paulus Hook in Jersey City and Manhattan’s West 39th Street terminal.

A monthly pass on the ferry is $635, a little more than $200 a month more than a commuter would spend on a comparable train pass. But along with the views and the drinks, there is NY Waterway’s biggest pitch: “Commuters save up to two hours each day, the equivalent of a one-month annual vacation.”