Marine Master Plan (Archive)

The Future of the Ferry Fleet: The DRBA and the Cape May - Lewes Ferry Begin Marine Master Plan Effort 

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

The MV New Jersey

The Marine Master Plan public meeting February 23, 2023 summarized the planning and analysis to date for the future planned ferry fleet of four (4) 75-vehicle ferry vessels. The meeting presented the notional, or preliminary design concept for the new 75-vehicle ferry. Please refer to the meeting slide deck for graphics of conceptual deck arrangements (will be available by end of day February 27, 2023). This preliminary design concept is the first step in the vessel design process. The design will continue to be refined through additional analysis and engagement with stakeholders. 


The second virtual public meeting was held via Zoom on Thursday, October 7, 2021, and focused on sharing the findings of our fleet analysis and how the proposed fleet configuration options compare to one another in terms of cost, vehicle and passenger capacity, schedule flexibility, and many other key metrics. For those unable to attend the meeting, 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!

The first public meeting was held virtually on Thursday, June 17, 2021. 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. 


Download a PDF of the 6/17 Presentation

Community and stakeholder input are critical to this plan. The DRBA encourages you to provide feedback and input that could aid in shaping the future Ferry fleet. Virtual public meetings will be held throughout phases of the study, with a comment period following the release of the draft report.  To see questions and feedback provided to date, click the button below. 

Questions & Comments To Date



Project Schedule & Goals



Engagement Graphic


Chart of the Marine Plan


Since launching service in 1964, the Cape May Lewes Ferry (CMLF) has served more than 17 million vehicles and 46 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.

The first vehicle

This future fleet planning effort 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]


i would use your service more frequently if u offered more trips per day. perhaps smaller ships and more frequent service.. you seem to stop crossings around sunset. is this trip too risky after dark?
We love the ferry too. If they just had a later leaving from CM than 6 pm, that would be perfect. A lot of us who relocated to DE from NJ often spend the day and have to cut it short and leave by 3 or 4 pm to make it. An 8 pm leaving would be perfect. Also any savings of time on a faster boat would be ideal. Otherwise we are looking forward to the new plans for the future. Thank you.
Love the ferry! It’s the only way to travel between DE & NJ as far as I’m concerned and I am always recommending it to friends and family. A mini vacation and the bonus of sometimes seeing dolphins. Staff is always pleasant and professional. Always a great ride.
I love the ride across to Cape May and back, but sometimes we want to get there faster. It's only 17 miles yet it takes quite a bit of time. Was buildng a bridge ever a consideration? It is financially comparative to overhauling the ferries? It would be great to have an option.
I travel on the ferry a lot. Within the last 2 years it has been difficult to reserve a vehicle crossing from Lewes on a weekend day within one week of departure. Many crossings sell out fast. I suggest adding more crossings to the schedule to accommodate the demand, especially during peak travel times.
We use the ferry several times over a year both in season and off season and have always been impressed with the efficiency and courtesy of staff. With the Sussex County population growing, we expect that ferry usage may also increase year round. A fleet of 75-car ships is likely the smallest size that will accommodate this population and limit rocky rides. Having a better elevator for the upper deck would be appreciated by the many senior travelers.
Energy efficiency and education (e.g. about energy efficiency efforts, about nearby bird and mammal life, about water quality, etc.), especially when considering the urgent challenge of climate change, are most important. Thank you for your consideration.
Actually not only faster but cheaper than driving from Central NJ gas tolls n time Especially the hour or more wait at Del Memorial Bridge
I love the ferry! It is the only way I travel by car to NY. Peaceful and great service, the best. Suggestions: upgrade the food offerings on the boat, add more disability elevators, we’re all getting older, and more frequent trips- may need to add a boat. Thanks!!!
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.

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