Cape May-Lewes Ferry Halts Operations Due to Frozen Delaware Bay

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CAPE MAY, N.J. -

The foot or so of snow that fell Thursday, January 4th, has made it difficult for many people across South Jersey to get around.

But in Cape May County, the snow and frigid temperatures are also making it difficult for the Cape May-Lewes Ferry to operate thanks to the Delaware Bay looking more like an ice-skating rink covered in snow.

“We physically can’t get through it [and] when you have these weather conditions, the ice is [approximately] 12-inches thick," said Michael Porch, marketing manager at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry. "Its average is about eight-inches thick right now and it extends out to a half mile beyond the end of the canal.” 

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The crew at the Ferry prides itself on operating seven days a week, 365 days a year. But right now that isn’t happening.

We physically can’t get through it ... the ice is [approximately] 12-inches thick.

“Our marine crews and captains do a great job at operating under a wide range of weather conditions," said Porch. "Occasionally, however, mother nature throws us a curveball.”

That curveball — and it doesn't happen all that often — comes in the form of ice taking over the smooth waters of the Delaware Bay, which is the route the boats take to get to Lewes, Delaware. 

"Three years ago, in 2015, we had it closed for a number of days because of similar ice conditions. And for some historical perspective, back in 1977, during that frigid winter we closed for approximately 40 days of operation,” said Porch.

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Porch says he is hoping this halt in service won’t last nearly as long.

“We’re trying to arrange for a tugboat to come down from Philadelphia to break up the ice in the canal, and then we plan to have a ferry boat — without passengers, of course — go out and break up more of the ice,” said Porch.

He says they are working hard to fix the problem and get people back on board.

“Stick with us. We understand that it’s important for you to use the Ferry for work and for transportation and to see your families and for business," said Porch, "but rest assured we are doing everything to get the Ferry back in operation as soon as possible.”

For up to date information on when the Cape May Lewes Ferry will resume operations log on to cmlf.com. 

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