Frequently Asked Questions
Boarding the Ferry:
Security on the Ferry:
Questions with Answers:
The ferry is free.
The ferry does not take reservations, nor are they necessary.
General wait times can vary from 15-30 minutes. You can avoid longer wait times by avoiding peak traffic times of 6-8 a.m. and 4-6 p.m., Monday through Friday. During the summer months the wait could be longer depending upon events taking place in the area.
If on the Jamestown side please use the address for the Jamestown Settlement:
2110 Jamestown Road
Williamsburg, Virginia 23185
If on the Surry side please use:
16289 Rolfe Highway
Surry, VA 23883-3102
The ferry runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
There is a condensed schedule for the Peanut, Pork and Pine Festival, in addition to Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Years Day.
There are two ferry schedules. One schedule operates from Memorial Day until Labor Day. The other schedule begins after Labor Day and continues as the Fall/Winter/Spring schedule.
The ferry takes approximately 15-20 minutes to cross the river one way.
Boarding the Ferry:
Once the ferry is moving, feel free to move around on the deck. Note: Under certain security threat levels, passenger access around the ferry may be limited. Also, under adverse weather conditions ferry passengers may be directed to stay in their vehicles. The crew will provide directions in these situations.
There is no place around the ferry for motorists to leave vehicles unattended. However, you may get dropped off and walk aboard the ferry.
Yes, as long as you are riding it, or it is securely hitched to a trailer being towed by another vehicle.
Yes, you may bring or ride your bike aboard the ferry.
Yes. Make sure it is properly secured before travel.
Some of our ferries can accommodate vehicles up to 56,000 pounds. Tractor Trailers up to 56,000 pounds travel on the Pocahontas, Surry and Williamsburg. The Virginia is limited box trucks weighing up to 24,000 pounds. Please call ahead for information on which ferries are in service.
Large buses are allowed however, please plan ahead. The ferry can only accommodate five large buses at a time. If you have more than that in your group, some buses may have to wait for the next ferry.
Unfortunately no, the ferry is under strict regulations by the Coast Guard to have all vehicles turn off their engines while the ferry is underway, no exceptions.
[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 46, Volume 3]
[Revised as of October 1, 2010]
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
CHAPTER I--COAST GUARD, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (CONTINUED)
PART 78_OPERATIONS--Table of Contents
Subpart 78.40_Vehicular Ferries
Sec. 78.40-5 Securing of vehicles.
(a) The master shall take all necessary precautions to see that
automobiles or other vehicles have their motors turned off when the
ferry is under way, and the motors shall not be started until the ferry
is secured to the landing. In addition, the vehicles at each end shall
have their wheels securely blocked, while the vessel is being navigated.
Yes, you may bring your dog in your car onto the ferry. Leashed dogs are allowed on the ferry deck, and owners must maintain control of them at all times. Only service animals are allowed in the passenger lounge.
We can’t guarantee the group will ride the same ferry. However, you can call ahead to notify the crew about your large group. On the day of your event, your group should show up in its entirety and then the crew will do its best to load your group together. Call 1-800-VA Ferry.
Security on the Ferry:
The Virginia Department of Transportation takes the security of ferry passengers and crew very seriously. Security officers stationed on each dock conduct random screenings of passenger vehicles daily and are on-site 24 hours a day to respond to security threats.
Ferries depart at their posted times. However, plan to arrive a few minutes early to ensure your vehicle can be properly screened before boarding.
We encourage passengers to arrive early and be patient with the security officers screening vehicles. It is also important to be prepared to open trunks and enclosed containers should you be selected for screening. Security officers will work to make the screening process move as quickly as possible.
All passengers must consent to security screening to board the ferry. If passengers refuse screening they will be denied access to the ferry vessel.
- Unaccompanied baggage or packages
- Explosives and incendiary devices
- Hazardous materials
- Items that could result in significant loss of life, environmental damage, or a disruption to the transportation system
The ferry can only transport liquid or materials as long as they aren’t required to display a HAZMAT placard as required by Department of Transportation rules.
The Future of the Ferry
The Powhatan is under construction at VT Halter Marine Shipbuilder in Pascagoula, MS. The Powhatan will be able to carry 70 cars and will replace the Virginia, which was built in 1936.
(Above) The Powhatan under construction at VT Halter Marine Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, MS.
Photo taken March 2018.