St. Johns River Ferry dry docked for 2 weeks

Rope damages ferry propeller, puts it out of commission

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Transportation Authority said Tuesday that St. Johns River Ferry has been dry docked for repairs after the propeller got tangled with a rope and was damaged.

It will be out of service for about another two weeks, a JTA spokesman said.

As the ferry began to dock at the Fort George slip early Thursday morning, the ferry operations team reported hearing an unusual noise, a spokesperson said.

The ferry was still able to dock and the customers got off without any issues. 

The ferry returned to the Mayport slip so workers could figure out what was causing the noise.

Shortly after divers were sent to inspect underneath the vessel, they found that a submerged rope had gotten entangled in the propeller system, causing damage requiring repairs.

The ferry was removed from service and lifted out of the water Tuesday. An initial inspection by JTA and the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed the damage to the propeller shaft, which will need repairs before the ferry can return to service.

JTA officials estimate that could take approximately two weeks.

"The Jean Ribault will be back in the water as soon as those repairs are completed and we can guarantee the safe passage for our customers and our ferry staff," JTA spokesman David Cawton II said.

The St. Johns River Ferry links Mayport Village to Fort George Island -- just short of a mile distance -- and goes back-and-forth between the two every half hour. 

According to JTA, the ferry saw record ridership in 2018 with more than 400,000 passengers carried. Through June of this year, more than 263,000 passengers and 146,000 vehicles have used the ferry.

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