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Oriental To Pecan Grove Ferry
Service To Commence April 15
April 1, 2011

F
erry service in Oriental has long been badly needed, but financial constraints have prevented ferry operators in the past.

A breakthrough this week has changed that – an anonymous benefactor has donated the 120 ft ferry “Herbert C. Bonner” to the Oriental Rotary Club. Rotarians have immediately seized the opportunity.

Rotarian Sam Myers measuring the ferry deck to achieve maximum vehicle occupancy. Myers says 40 vehicles can be loaded on the ferry with “tight spacing and aggressive chocking.”

Ferry service is scheduled to commence April 15 – just in time for the Oriental Boat Show. “This is a huge boost for the show,” states Oriental Boat Show Manager Sam Myers. “We could have had raised attendance by about 5,000 last year if we could have solved the traffic problems. This totally bypasses Oriental’s big big traffic clog – that damned bridge.”

The problem Myers refers to is bridge congestion. “Its really bad there – it’s just like LA,” said Oriental resident Woody Fuller. “At times traffic backs up so bad it can take many time units – it seems like forevah.” The Oriental Ferry will totally bypass that traffic clog – the route is shown in the above diagram.

Ferry service will connect Oriental’s Town Dock with Pecan Grove. Landing the 120-foot Herbert C. Bonner ferry at Pecan Grove Marina proved difficult. Instead an agreement was made with Endurance Seafood. Motorists will depart the ferry at Endurance Seafood, utilizing Endurance’s lawn and driveway to access Highway 55. Ferry service is as follows:

  • Oriental Town Dock to Pecan Grove, :15 past the hour, every hour 6:15am – 9:15pm 7 days a week.
  • Pecan Grove to Oriental Town Dock, :45 past the hour, every hour 5:45am – 8:45pm 7 days per week.

No ferry service after 5pm Mondays during Rotary meetings.

Unlike the Minnesott Beach Ferry which is run and subsidized by the state, the Oriental Ferry must pay its way – and earn a profit for the Rotary Club. Tickets are $2 per vehicle, $1 for pedestrians and bicyclists. Dogs are free.

The Ferry will be mostly operated by Rotary club members, with the addition of some “hired guns.” The ferry crew was practicing this week by the Town Dock.

Ticket Agent Bob Andrews and Safety Officer Dave Mauney man the Oriental Ferry Terminal. Motorists taking the ferry from Oriental purchase a ticket on Hodges Street, then drive over the curb and on to the Town Dock to board the ferry. “The Town Dock is now a multi-use facility,” states Mauney.
Safety Officer Dave Mauney points to carefully placed chocks designed to prevent anxious vehicles from driving into the harbor awaiting the next ferry.
The entrance to the Pecan Grove Endurance Ferry Terminal
Ferry Amenities

While state-run ferry service is often spartan, the Oriental Ferry service will be modeled after more prestigious lines like the Dover, UK to Calais, France run across the English Channel. Initial amenities will include the availability of Bean coffee at the Oriental Terminal, and fresh seafood at the Endurance Terminal. High speed internet will be available at an additional charge to passengers so they can maximize productivity during the 7 minute ferry ride. Starting in May, Myers plans to add a casino to the inside facility.

The 2nd floor ferry cabin is being upgraded to include two blackjack tables.

Casino patrons will be able to play only while the ferry is at sea to avoid pesky state and county gambling regulations. Given the short duration of the ferry ride, an unlimited ferry ticket will be added in May to allow players to ride multiple times for one price. A FERRYMAXX ticket for just $199 per month allows unlimited ferry rides.


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