Eastern Shipbuilding Launches New Ferry for Long Island Sound

Ferry for McAllister
Courtesy ESG

Published May 5, 2024 9:07 PM by The Maritime Executive

Eastern Shipbuilding Group has launched and christened a new vessel to help Long Island's commuters dodge traffic. The newly-built Long Island will serve passengers on the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company line, which offers departures every 60-90 minutes on a short and convenient trip across Long Island Sound.

The newbuild ferry has Tier IV engines and can carry up to 124 cars across the Sound at speeds of up to 17 knots. Its design is based on two previous ferries that ESG built for the same operator in years past, the PT Barnum and Grand Republic. (Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat is a division of McAllister Towing, a longtime customer of ESG.)

Steelcutting for the future Long Island began in January 2023, and delivery is scheduled for fall 2024. It will be the fourth ferry in the company's fleet. 

“A lot of engineering goes into [this vessel]. And most of it’s on the inside. You know, miles and miles and miles and miles of cable, pipe, all sorts of data, equipment, server rooms, huge ventilation systems," ESG President Joey D'Isernia told local media at the launch ceremony. 

The Bridgeport to Port Jefferson line serves an important role for Long Island and Connecticut. The I-95 freeway corridor that connects the Bronx with Stamford is notoriously congested (one stretch may have the worst traffic in America). When conditions are favorable, it's a 100-mile, two-hour drive between these two seaside towns. When traffic is heavy, it can easily jump to three hours. By contrast, the ferry takes about an hour for a scenic ride from terminal to terminal. 

"Our business essentially takes traffic off of the I-95 Freeway in Connecticut and the Long Island Expressway in Long Island. That traffic is terrible these days," Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat CEO Buck McCallister told local media at the ESG yard. "We’re very, very excited to finally get this boat in the water and get it that much closer to going to work."

"We are honored to partner with our friends at McAllister Towing and contribute to enhancing the transportation infrastructure for the residents and tourists of Long Island. This ferry will not only serve as a vital link between communities, but also exemplify our commitment to delivering excellence to our valued customers," added ESG's Joey D'Isernia in a statement Monday.