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Cross Sound Ferry's New London terminus, and New London skyline, viewed from across the Thames River

Cross Sound Ferry is a passenger and road vehicle ferry service operating between New London, Connecticut and Orient, Long Island, New York. The service is privately owned and operated by Cross Sound Ferry Services, headquartered in New London.



Though there have been multiple proposals to bridge the sound at various points, there is currently no bridge, nor any active plans for a bridge east of the Throgs Neck Bridge, which connects the New York City boroughs of Queens and the Bronx. Therefore, Long Island motorists located east of that bridge must first drive west, cross one of the three city bridges to the mainland, and then drive east to reach most New England destinations. This circuitous route could, at the extreme, add as much as 200 miles to a trip to or from Long Island to New London and points north and east.[1] In addition to the saving in mileage, use of the ferry or the other major Long Island-Connecticut ferry from Port Jefferson to Bridgeport, Connecticut avoids heavy urban traffic in New York City and on Interstate 95 in Connecticut.[2]

The ferry serves over one million passengers annually,[3] about half of whom live on Long Island.[4]

MV John H offloading at Orient.

The company owns a fleet of seven vehicle-passenger ferries and a single high-speed, passenger-only ferry, the Sea Jet I. The fleet consists of both new build vessels and vessels retrofitted at sister company, Thames Shipyard and Repair in New London. The fleet has been added to and upgraded over the years to serve a surge in demand for service caused by a number of factors, including the growth of Long Island's population, congestion on all-highway routes and, the convenience offered by the ferry service and improved amenities the company provides including a Rewards program. The company annually invests substantially in fleet improvements and major upgrades. One such upgrade commenced in 2010 and has resulted in the repowering of almost the entire fleet to EPA Tier 2 and most recently Tier 3 emissions standard engines. These improvements have significantly reduced the carbon footprint of the fleet in addition to the environmental benefits realized by the miles traveled saved by motorists using the service.

The ferries are the 'Cape Henlopen' (built 1943) the 'John H' (built 1989), the 'Mary Ellen' (built 1983), the 'Susan Anne' (built 1964), the 'New London' (built 1979), the 'Jennifer C.' (Built 1950), the 'North Star' (built 1968) and the 'Caribbean' (built 1972). The 'Caribbean' and the 'North Star' are the two smallest in the fleet; however, the North Star's public licence has since expired and is now only used for private services to Fisher's Island and Plum Island. The Caribbean, however, does still run, but it only runs in the summer.

Cross Sound Ferry has attempted to establish service between New London and the South Fork of Long Island in East Hampton. A local ordinance passed by the Town in 1997 prohibits vehicle ferry service within the Town's borders and places limits on the speeds of both passenger vessels and road vehicles. Cross Sound Ferry filed a lawsuit against the town in 2004 to overturn the ruling, which was eventually dismissed.[5]

Cross Sound Ferry operates year-round with up to 32 daily departures with the lone exception of no service on December 25, Christmas Day. .[6]


Local officials on Long Island's North Fork have criticized Cross Sound Ferry for causing increased vehicle traffic on New York State Route 25. The Orient terminal is located at the eastern terminus of Route 25, and all traffic must use Route 25 to get to and from the ferry terminal; travelers coming from points further west must travel through several towns, including Riverhead and Southold in the process. In an attempt to verify this, the Town of Southold commissioned a corridor study in 2007. However, the results of the study found that "the section of SR 25 in the vicinity of the Cross Sound Ferry currently operates with a Vehicle to Capacity (v/c) ratio of .18. This means that the roadway is currently running at 18% of its total capacity. This also means that the roadway can handle approximately five times the current traffic." [7]

In 2005, the town of Southold filed a lawsuit in the New York State Supreme Court against Cross Sound Ferry for a series of zoning law violations, as well as for safety hazards caused by vehicles parking along the shoulder of Route 25 in Orient. [8] The town agreed to drop the case after Cross Sound Ferry agreed to stop drivers from parking on the shoulder of Route 25, and also made changes to the ferry company's zoning and site-plan.

In early 2003, the family of Michael Zuber filed a lawsuit against Cross Sound Ferry. Zuber was inside a semi-truck on board the Susan Anne on November 19, 2002 when it mysteriously rolled off the stern of the vessel, drowning Zuber. The Zuber family accused the ferry company of not securing the truck's back wheels with wheel chocks. The two sides eventually reached a $3.2 million settlement in 2008.[9]



  1. ^ "US Congressional Record". US Government Printing Office. 1997: 23876. Retrieved July 30, 2017. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ "New Ferry Added to Cross Sound Ferry Fleet". Patch. September 3, 2016. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  3. ^ "U.S. Department of Transportation Awards $123.5 Million to Improve Passenger Ferry Services, Ferry Boats and Terminals". US Department of Transportation. June 2, 2014. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  4. ^ Bruzzone 2012, p. 25.
  5. ^ "A Lawsuit Rocks the Boat On Ferry Limits, Southold, Shelter Island, ferry company sue town - The East Hampton Star". East Hampton Star. Retrieved September 7, 2017.
  6. ^ "CSF - Cross Sound Ferry".
  7. ^ (Town of Southold Corridor Study FINAL REPORT February 13, 2007 prepared by Schneider Engineering, PLLC Coram, NY)
  8. ^ Rather, John (January 1, 2006). "State Supreme Court to Rule on an Injunction to Shrink Ferry Service". New York Times. Retrieved September 7, 2017.
  9. ^ "Family Of Ferry Accident Victim Settles For $3.2M - Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder". Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder, PC.


  • Bruzzone, Anthony (2012). Guidelines for Ferry Transportation Services. Transportation Research Board.

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