The first ferry to ply the waters of Long Island sound for the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company was the Nonowantuc. The 120 foot wooden hull vessel featured a boiler, compound engine to turn the propeller and two masts rigged with staysails to keep her from rolling excessively. She was licensed to carry 350 passengers and carried a crew of six.
PARK CITY 1898-1949
Built by the noted Port Jefferson shipbuilding firm of Mather and Wood, this 143.5 foot ferry was licensed to carry 600 passengers and was delivered at a cost of $50,000. Christened the Park City in honor of the city of Bridgeport, the ferry was affectionately known by many as “The Lady of the Sound”.
Purchased for service between Bridgeport and Port Jefferson in the year 1903, the steam powered Victor faithfully served the route from 1905 to 1910. The 120 foot ferry was the only side-wheel vessel to be employed by the company.
LONG ISLAND 1924-1936
The Long Island was purchased by the company in 1924 and served the Bridgeport and Port Jefferson route until 1936. This steamer had previously been used by the City of New York for transportation to and from a prison facility.
PRISCILLA ALDEN 1936-1946
In 1936, the Long Island was replaced by the Priscilla Alden. She served the route until 1946 along with the original Park City.
Originally built as a Hudson River freight boat, the Catskill saw service in Boston during WWII tendering prisoners from ocean-going ships to shore. Entering Bridgeport to Port Jefferson service in 1946, she served the route until 1967. The Catskill was the last steamboat used and she was the company’s first steel-hulled ferry.
MARTHA’S VINEYARD 1968-1985
Constructed in 1923 as a steamer for service in Massachusetts, she was converted to diesel electric prior to commencing service across the Long Island Sound. Her “new” engines had seen service in the USS Finback, the submarine that rescued future President George Bush after his plane was shot down during WWII. The “Martha”, as she was affectionately known, was 200 feet in length, carried 35 cars and 1,000 passengers.
GRAND REPUBLIC 1983-2003
The first new vessel built for the Bridgeport to Port Jefferson route since 1898, the Grand Republic ushered in a new era for service across Long Island Sound. The 280 foot vessel had a capacity of over 90 vehicles and 1,000 passengers. She could do the trip 15 minutes faster than the old Martha’s Vineyard and, for the first time in many years, the company was able to publish twelve month schedules instead of “Summer Only”. She was sold to another ferry company in March 2003.
PARK CITY 1986-PRESENT (Our "Green" Ferry)
The second ferry to bear Bridgeport’s nickname, the Park City entered service across Long Island Sound in the summer of 1986. Two Hundred Eighty feet long with a 47’ beam, she possesses excellent sea-keeping qualities and carries up to 95 vehicles and 1,000 passengers.
How the PARK CITY became our "Green" Ferry:
With the assisance of a grant for 42% of the cost, we replaced the engines and generators on the M/V Park City with state-of-the-art engines that meet EPA’s most stringent existing emission limits. This project has resulted in a 40 – 55% reduction in diesel emissions and has also achieved substantial fuel consumption savings. By reducing both diesel emissions and fuel consumption, BPJ is making a significant contribution towards improved air quality in and around local marinas and in the Long Island Sound in general.
PT BARNUM 1998-PRESENT
The first president of The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Co. was circus impresario, P. T. Barnum. Named in his honor, this ferry began transiting the Bridgeport, CT to Port Jefferson, NY route in 1999. Measuring 300 ft. by 52 ft. by 12 ft. she is capable of holding up to 120 vehicles and 1,000 passengers. Bringing the fleet total to three, the company could now offer hourly service for the first time.
GRAND REPUBLIC 2003-PRESENT
Built in 2003, this ferry is the second to be proudly named Grand Republic. Constructed at Eastern Shipbuilding in Panama City, Florida, she is 300 feet in length and has a beam of 52 feet. With a capacity of up to 120 cars and 1,000 passengers, this ferry is capable of transiting the 15 mile route at speeds up to 20 knots.