Cape May-Lewes Ferry Sees Strong Summer Rebound, Continuing Fall Surge

November 15, 2021

Cape May-Lewes Ferry Sees Strong Summer Rebound, Continuing Fall Surge

Two Thirds of Passengers Say Ferry Safer Than Other Modes of Transportation

CAPE MAY, NJ - Today, Cape May-Lewes Ferry officials announced the peak summer season ferry and travel trends from May 1 through August 31. And the data are encouraging. Summer traffic was close to 2019 pre-Covid highs, while initial Fall data (September and October) is even more impressive, showing ferry traffic during the shoulder season, so far, to be the highest in more than five years. Of particular importance is that passengers feel the ferry system to be a very safe way to travel, when compared with other modes of transportation. 

Based on passenger survey results compiled by Customer by Design, LLC, Fair Lawn, NJ on behalf of the Cape May-Lewes Ferry system, it is clear that passengers feel very safe riding the ferry, despite the summer uptick in Covid-19 cases due to the Delta variant. 

Ferry in Cape May Canal

“Over 90% of passengers surveyed indicated that they felt very safe riding the ferry,” said Heath Gehrke, Director of Ferry Operations at the Delaware River Bay Authority. “One advantage we have over other modes of transportation is that – for the most part – the trip across the Delaware Bay can be an outdoor experience, where they can enjoy the bay breezes and fresh air with plenty of distance from other passengers.” 

“The total number of passengers per ferry crossing this past summer was very close to 2019 summer highs,” added Gehrke, indicating that the ferry system remains a preferred mode of transportation for visitors and residents alike as they travel to the many destinations on either side of Delaware Bay. 

“Even more encouraging is that the strong summer season really seems to have carried over into the current shoulder season, with vehicle traffic up 12% over 2019 highs in October, and passenger traffic up 5% over the same period. While these trends support broader travel and tourism patterns, the widespread recognition of the ferry system as a safe way to travel has no doubt helped us achieve these near historical highs,” concluded Gehrke.

For October 2021, vehicle and passenger counts were the highest for month since 2007 and 2008 respectively. 
Vehicle Traffic
                               2019       2020        2021
May                      25,520     4,715      23,194 
June                     30,931     15,945    27,815 
July                      39,900     21,093     33,573 
August                 40,305     21,740     33,396 
September           29,592     19,702     29,961 
October                21,168     15,648     23,676 
Grand Total        187,416     98,843    171,615 
Passenger Traffic
                              2019        2020         2021
May                      66,437      8,134       59,668
June                     96,587    36,745       83,507
July                    146,356     57,196     119,792
August               152,231     64,697     114,843
September           86,927     53,159      79,279
October                51,976     39,562      56,461
Grand Total         600,514   259,493    513,550

About the Cape May-Lewes Ferry 
Owned and operated by the Delaware River and Bay Authority, the Cape May – Lewes Ferry is open year-round and has carried more than 43 million passengers since its inception on July 1, 1964. As an integral transportation system connecting the communities and economies on both sides of the Delaware Bay, the Ferry service is a significant catalyst for economic growth and regional tourism activity in New Jersey and Delaware. Its operations sustain over 4,000 jobs while generating tens of millions of dollars in local taxes and hundreds of millions in regional economic activity. For schedules and rates, please visit or call 800-643-3779.