Facelift for the Cape May-Lewes Ferry [video]

The Cape May-Lewes Ferry rechristened one of its newly refurbished ships today ushering in the summer season; the upgrades also come ahead of the ferry’s 50th birthday.


The M/V Cape Henlopen is one of four vessels in the Cape May-Lewes Ferry‘s fleet, owned and operated by the Delaware River and Bay Authority. Put on display, the ship received everything from a fresh coast of paint to brand new seats.


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The M/V Delaware and M/V New Jersey also received makeovers for a grand total of $800,000.

“They have reclining seats, they have cupholders, we have seatback tray tables, we have all of the amenities that you would expect on a modern airline, but with a little bit more room,” Heath Gehrke said. The director of ferry operaions added, “We also have all new carpets and vinyl flooring. We have outlets on there now because everybody likes to charge their cellphones.”

Gehrke says since crewmembers did the lion’s share of the work on board the three vessels, putting in 300 man hours and using 231 gallons of paint, the DRBA got a lot of bang for its buck.

Meantime, Gehrke says the ferry’s fourth ship, M/V Twin Capes, will have some new seating and flooring installed this winter, but not on the same scale as the three other ferries.   

Excited about the renovations, Delaware Governor Jack Markell, D-Delaware, checked out the ferry’s facelift for himself.

“This is going to be for a whole new generation of ferrygoers, who are going to appreciate the work that has taken place here in 2013, and they will, they’ll enjoy this for years to come,” Markell said.

An interstate compact between Delaware and New Jersey created the DRBA in 1962, which eventually led to the creation of the ferry two years later. Depending on the season, the Cape May-Lewes Ferry makes the 17-mile, 85 minute cruise anywhere from four to as many as 15 roundtrips a day.

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