NYC Will Create The First-Ever Hybrid Ferry Service, Going To Governor’s Island

New Vessel Will Be First Public Hybrid Ferry of its Kind

The city government and the Trust for Governors Island released plans on Wednesday to create the first-ever hybrid vessel in the ferry fleet. 

According to the mayor’s office it will be launched next summer, traveling between Governors Island and Manhattan through the New York Harbor. 

The new ferry will be equipped with a hybrid propulsion system that will reduce air pollution by allowing it to toggle between zero-emission battery-only power and battery-assisted hybrid with diesel backup. 

The battery-assist mode will allow the new ferry to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 600 tons annually. Future plans for rapid vessel charging installation will enable the ferry to operate with zero-emission battery-only propulsion, at which point emissions will drop to nearly zero.

After criticism from the public and city officials last summer, ferry usage in Brooklyn is remaining steady. The city’s restoration of the stop at India Street in Greenpoint last November – and the new hybrid Governors Island Ferry – shows the high potential of ferry transit in waterfront neighborhoods.

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Ahead of the ferry’s launch, Mayor Adams and the Trust launched a citywide competition to name the new vessel. All New Yorkers are invited to participate by suggesting names on the Governors Island website from today until May 25, 2023, with the final name expected to be announced in summer of 2023.

Internal rendering of the new, hybrid Governors Island Ferry. Photo credit: Elliott Bay Design Group

“Visiting Governors Island is a great way to support cutting-edge climate solutions, and soon, visitors will be able to go one step further just by traveling there,” said Mayor Adams. “As New Yorkers transition to greener forms of transportation, the city and our partners are leading the way with cleaner, more efficient ways to go just about anywhere. The next generation deserves a green city and a vibrant Governors Island, and this first-of-its-kind ferry will help us deliver both.”

“This hybrid ferry marks a historic step forward in expanding access to Governors Island while promoting state-of-the-art and sustainable technology to power our ferry fleet,” said Trust for Governors Island President and CEO Newman. “Each year, hundreds of thousands of visitors board our vessels and journey to Governors Island to experience our rich recreational, cultural, and educational resources. We are thrilled to make the journey easier for our visitors while helping to lead the charge in electrifying the vessels of New York Harbor.”

The new ferry will have capacity to serve up to 1,200 passengers at a time. It has a cruising speed of 10 knots and features modern passenger amenities, including a lower-level ADA-accessible lounge and restrooms on each level.

It will replace the diesel-powered Lt. Samuel S. Coursen, the Trust’s current vehicle and passenger ferry, which was commissioned by the U.S. Army in 1956 and has been in continuous use since.

Elliott Bay Design Group designed the hybrid-electric ferry and will provide technical support services to the Trust as the ferry progresses through construction. The ferry is under construction at Conrad Shipyard’s facility in Morgan City, Louisiana.


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