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Sistersville Ferry reopens

By Staff | Jul 20, 2011

The Sistersville Ferry is one of four ferries still operating on the Ohio River, and the only vessel still providing service along the West Virginia border.

The historic Sistersville Ferry is operational once again, after sitting idle for a week due to a transmission problem.

According to the ferry board chairman, the vessel has been repaired and is running fine.

The ferry shuttles passengers across the Ohio River between Sistersville, W.Va. and Fly, Ohio. Known as the oldest ferry operations in West Virginia, the ferry service dates back to the early 1800s. Sistersville’s boat is one of four ferries still operating on the Ohio River and the only one along the 277-mile stretch of river on the West Virginia border, making it unique.

Unpredictable weather and high water hampered the ferry operation earlier this year, bringing the revenue numbers low for the season. As a result, rumors of the ferry’s demise spread throughout the community. But amid tough times and rumors of its closure, the operation remains and will remain for years to come according to Sistersville Mayor Dave Fox. “People like the ferry. It’s what makes Sistersville and Tyler County, unique.”

Recently, the Sistersville City Council approved Great American as the insurance provider for the ferry operation. The premium, which will cost the city more than $15,000 this year, will take a large portion of the money banked by the operation this year. While some of the council members have reservations about the ferry, Mayor Fox is confident the service will stay afloat in spite of the numbers.

“We have applied for grant money, and I am confident we are going to get enough funding so we don’t have to worry about the cost of our insurance,” he said.

Fox pointed out that the ferry is an operation with an income, unlike the bridges utilized in counties.

Currently, the Sistersville Ferry is in operation Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

After 6 p.m., the ferry can be rented by the hour for personal use, including birthday parties, family reunions or for a cruise on the Ohio River.

For more information, contact the Sistersville City Building at 304-652-6361.