2017-09-01 / Amenities

Cross the ship channel aboard ferries

A new ferry is expected to join the Port Aransas fleet this fall.

The fleet currently consists of seven vessels, five of which carry up to 20 vehicles. Two of the ferries carry up to 28 vehicles.

The new ferry will be the Amadeus Saenz, which will be capable of carrying 28 cars. It will replace one of the 20-car ferries.

At press time, the Saenz was scheduled to arrive in Port Aransas approximately in late summer and go into service a few weeks later, after crews have had a chance to train on the new vessel, and the Coast Guard has inspected it, according to The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), which runs the ferry system).

TxDOT also is planning to build new stacking lanes where vehicles will wait for ferries on the Mustang Island side of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel. The lanes are expected to prevent ferry traffic from backing up on Cotter Avenue and Cut-Off Road.

Construction on the stacking lanes could begin in spring 2018, according to TxDOT.

The ferry system operates 24 hours a day, every day.The vessels can accommodate everything from pedestrians to large motorhomes, but vehicles carrying hazardous waste aren’t allowed.There is no fee to cross on the ferry.

Wait times for ferries are displayed on electronic message boards on Harbor Island and on The Island Road.

You also can get an idea of how long the ferry lines are by going to www.portasouthjetty.com, click on “links,” then “ferry wait times.” That will show the wait times from Port Aransas to Aransas Pass, and from Aransas Pass to Port Aransas.

Motorists can call the ferry operations center at (361) 749-2850.

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