In November, we gave readers a look at the new Citywide Ferry vessels, under construction in Alabama and Louisiana. Last Tuesday, the first of those vessels left Horizon Shipyard in Bayou La Batre, Alabama on its maiden journey to New York City. Instead of going around the coast of Florida after crossing the Gulf Mexico, the vessel, currently named Hull 200, or H200 (but will get a more lofty rename later), began to make a cut across Lake Okeechobee, navigating around alligators and narrow passages.
The NYCEDC has released photographs and a video of the Hull 200 leaving port:
As reported in the New York Times this morning, Hull 200 touched the bottom of the channel. Though it has been successfully released without damage, the channel has been deemed too narrow for the vessel and Hull 200 will make the navigation around Florida after all. When the vessel left, the NYCEDC estimated that Hull 200 would cover about 280 nautical miles every 12-18 miles. With the detour, it will take the vessel another 2-3 days (or another 165 miles) to sail up to New York City, but it is still on time for an early April arrival in New York Harbor. You can follow the progress of Hull 200 on the Citywide Ferry Twitter account.
Once the first trial vessel makes it to New York successfully, the rest of the 20-strong fleet will follow after undergoing week-long sea trials. The Citywide Ferry system is expected to launch this summer.
Here are some fun facts you might not know about the new Citywide Ferry system:
- All 20 vessels are being made with the equivalent of 77 million cans of aluminum, which is lightweight and efficient
- While all the vessels may look the same, three of them underneath will “rock” more powerful engines on the Rockaway route since the water into and out of Jamaica Bay is a bit rougher.
- Surfs up! All the vessels will be equipped to store surfboards for those looking to catch some Rockaway wave
- All ferry routes combined will cover over 60 miles of waterway at over 21 landings across Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx by the end of 2018.
- Citywide Ferry will carry an estimated 4.6 million trips per year across six route
- Once both phases of Citywide Ferry launch, riders will be able to sail from the Soundview section of the Bronx to the Rockaways for just $2.75, the same price as a MetroCard.