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ferry,vessel providing passage over a river, lake, or other body of water for passengers, vehicles, or freight; the term is also applied to the place where the crossing is made and, by extension, to overwater train or airplane transit. Ferries were especially important in the days before engineers learned to construct permanent bridges and tunnels across bodies of water. At first most ferries were small boats or rafts, propelled by oars or poles and sometimes assisted by sails. Some ferries today still make short passages by winching themselves back and forth along a chain fastened to the shore on both sides. Other ferries rely on the force of the current against the side of the boat to push the ferry. Most ferries for heavier traffic and longer passages are powered by diesel or diesel-electric engines, such as the largest ferry in the world, the GTS Finnjet; others, such as the Staten Island ferry in New York City, are steam powered. Where railroad bridges are impracticable, there are train ferries; these may use paddle wheels for maneuverability or may simply be barges pushed by tugs. The train ferry that made through service possible between London and Paris after 1936 was largely replaced by the Channel TunnelChannel Tunnel,
popularly called the "Chunnel," a three-tunnel railroad connection running under the English Channel, connecting Folkestone, England, and Calais, France. The tunnels are 31 mi (50 km) long. There are two rail tunnels, each 25 ft (7.
..... Click the link for more information. in 1994. An innovation during the latter half of the 20th cent. was the "fast ferry," high-speed ferries that have become an important component of transportation systems around the globe. This alternative provides a critical link for commuters and travelers in many world regions. Such passenger-only or combination motor vehicle and passenger ferries are relied upon in coastal ports in Europe, Asia, and Australia. The designs of these ferries incorporate features of catamaranscatamaran
, watercraft made up of two connected hulls or a single hull with two parallel keels. Originally used by the natives of Polynesia, the catamaran design was adopted by Western boat builders in the 19th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. , hydrofoilshydrofoil,
flat or curved finlike device, attached by struts to the hull of a watercraft, that lifts the moving watercraft above the water's surface. The term is often extended to include the vessel itself.
..... Click the link for more information. , and air-cushion vehiclesair-cushion vehicle
(ACV), craft designed to travel close to but above ground or water. It is also called a ground-effect machine or Hovercraft. These vehicles are supported in various ways.
..... Click the link for more information. .
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A boat which carries people, automotive vehicles, or goods across a river or other body of water, usually traveling back and forth on a regular schedule.
To deliver aircraft or ships by operating them under their own power.
To transport personnel and materiel by air.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. a vessel for transporting passengers and usually vehicles across a body of water, esp as a regular service
2. a legal right to charge for transporting passengers by boat
3. the act or method of delivering aircraft by flying them to their destination
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005