The Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminal in North Cape May, NJ

Marine Master Plan

The Delaware River and Bay Authority and the Cape May - Lewes Ferry Begin Marine Master Plan Effort 

The DRBA has launched a marine master planning effort that is currently underway. This plan will be focused on master planning for the Cape May - Lewes Ferry fleet and will work alongside the Terminal Master Plans that were finished last year. This effort will begin with a data gathering phase to determine the existing conditions that may impact the fleet. Following the data gathering phase, an analysis of the fleet will be undertaken which will lead to the definition of requirements for future vessels. Finally, a report will be produced detailing analysis findings and recommendations for the future fleet. 

Community and stakeholder input are critical to this plan. The DRBA encourages you to provide feedback and input that could aid in the master planning process. Virtual public meetings will be held throughout phases of the study, with a comment period following the release of the draft report.

The second virtual public meeting for the marine master planning effort will be held via Zoom on Thursday, October 7, from 6pm to 7:30pm, and will focus on sharing the findings of our fleet analysis and how the proposed fleet configuration options compare to one another across key analysis criteria. 
Register for the October 7 Virtual Public Meeting

The first public meeting was held virtually on Thursday, June 17th. For those unable to attend the initial meeting on June 17, a recording of the presentation is available to view below, and a PDF version of the presentation is available for download. Please continue to visit this website for project progress and feel free to submit comments below. Thank you in advance for your partnership in this effort! 

Download a PDF of the Presentation


Project Schedule & Goals




Since launching service in 1964, the Cape May Lewes Ferry (CMLF) has served more than 14 million vehicles and 43 million passengers. The 17-mile ferry ride connects New Jersey and Delaware, providing an enjoyable 80-minute mini-cruise across the Delaware Bay. A capacity of up to 100 vehicles and 1,000 passengers is provided on each crossing, serving local residents and tourists alike.

This Master Plan will thoroughly assess the operational needs and requirements to maximize value – economic and otherwise – to our region over CMLF’s next 40 years of operation. By opening responsible lines of communication between DRBA executives, CMLF crew members and other employees, consultants, and especially the communities we serve, this endeavor will match up our hard-earned experience with modern technology to create an efficient, environmentally transformational design to accomplish the CMLF mission for the next half-century.  

This plan will help DRBA/CMLF to:

♦ Meet the DRBA/CMLF mission into the future, to include

  1. Safe, efficient, and sustainable transportation  
  2. Promoting tourism and goodwill  
  3. Stay focused on customer and team member experiences  
♦ Build upon the input from stakeholders and be informed by an experienced technical team  
♦ Strive for enhanced environmental efficiencies

Public Comments

Do you have thoughts, comments, or feedback? We value and welcome your input during this process, and we invite you to leave a comment below.

Please note the following:

  • All comments are subject to moderation, and it may take up to 24 hours for your comment to post to the site.
  • The comment section will display a maximum of 10 user comments at any given time; once 10 comments are present, the oldest comment will drop off as new comments are added.  
  • All comments will be received, reviewed, and recorded, however DRBA/CMLF reserves the right to withhold public display of any comment for any reason. 
  • You can also email your comments and feedback to [email protected]


Just read some of the comments. I saw some great suggestions that I can endorse: 1) escalator over elevator; you can move more folks at one time. I do enjoy the ride across and back. 2) increase the number of trips across in peak time as well as off-peak times. We used the ferry crossing the Bay of Fundy - long ride approx. 3+ hours (1990) and the price was about $60 with car. Ferry over Bridge.
Enclosed weather protected escalators at each end of the vessel alongside the stairwells would help move more folks and benefit those that struggle with the steep stairs between the vehicle deck and the main deck. Not sure if the existing vessels could be modified to accommodate them but it would be an attractive feature if you plan to build new in the future.
It seems to me that the fleet of Cape May Lewes ferries is very old and due to their age, not very fuel efficient. My wife and I have traveled around the world and have seen some of the ferries used in Europe which were much more modern, had similar car/passenger capacity and provided much faster service. I think DRBA should consider adding some newer modern ferries to it's fleet. A ferry that carried less cars and provided faster service would also be a better choice during the off season when demand is lower.
Is it possible to build a bridge or bridge tunnel between Cape May and Lewes?
An elevator would make my wife willing to go more often. I see no need for an high speed boat I love the ride. A low cost ride during time of low ridership would make us take a day trip now and then. If we received an email say (the night before ) we could say lets to to cape may for lunch.
We are very frequent senior and retired military travelers so added discount beyond six pack would be nice. No real complaints otherwise. We are about safe travel not frills.
Love the Ferry. We have used it for years to go back and forth. Its affordable, and typically we can ride when we want. It would be sad to see the connection between South Jersey go away. Its a nice little get away.
My husband is visually/physically challenged and uses a walker. He uses his cane when taking stairs, but there are too many on the ferry for him to navigate safely to the upper deck. Having an elevator at the car level would be such a benefit.
Since 1991 we crossed on the ferry every few weeks for our business and now monthly due to changes. It is a great break from driving and enjoy the crossing on the ferry. Only suggestions would be run ferries 4 times a day during off season as traffic delays can make for a long wait if we miss our scheduled trip. Also update WiFi as it is spotty on some trips. The staff has always been friendly and accommodating on our trips.
My name is Eric and I take the ferry every other Friday to pick up my daughter in Delaware and then take the ferry back to Cape May. I've been doing this for over 2 years now. Sure there's some things I could complain about but I'm not going to. The ferry and the staff have all been a blessing to my family and continues too. Thanks for everything.

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