Governors Island sells extra ferry on ebay

At Monday’s meeting of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation’s board of directors, we announced the sale of the M/V Islander, a ferry that we purchased in 2007 to provide additional service to Governors Island. The ferry has never been in use here, but was bought to provide additional ferry service for Island visitors.

If you’ve ever been to the Island, you probably noticed that you need a boat to get here.  Most people get here on the Coursen, our main ferry boat.  For several years, we’ve been trying to figure out how to make sure that we have an alternative available when the Coursen is out of service.  The M/V Islander was one of the possible options that we found after more than a year of looking for used passenger and vehicle ferries as a backup for the Coursen

At the time we bought the ferry, we understood that approximately $3 million would be required to ensure that it could safely transport passengers and vehicles across the Harbor. After the purchase, we were able to inspect the ferry in a much more detailed way. These inspections revealed that there was a huge amount of deferred maintenance and that the ferry is generally in much worse condition than we could have anticipated when we purchased it.  

The effect of this deferred maintenance, combined with today’s economy and the dramatic increase in the cost of steel, make the cost of rehabbing the ferry more than four times what we budgeted. The cost of replacing the steel alone would be between $6-7 million. Investments in the ferry’s necessary improvements are impossible and therefore we are selling the Islander, which will be auctioned off on Ebay.

This summer, visitors to Governors Island will still take the Island’s primary ferry, the Coursen. The seven minute ferry ride between Manhattan and the Island will be free. The Island opens on Saturday, May 30.

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2 Responses

  1. Did you not have anyone that knew about ferries inspect it before you bought it. I can not believe that you bought it with out an inspection.

    • We conducted several inspections of the Islander before we purchased the vessel, and we were aware that the vessel would need substantial investment before we could put it into service. Given the time pressure of the auction in which we purchased it, we were only able to make visual inspections, as well as a test drive. At that point, we estimated total repair costs in the neighborhood of $3 million.

      After we purchased the boat, we were able to conduct much more detailed inspections over several months, including thickness testing of every steel element of the vessel. These tests showed significant deferred maintenance, and generally worse conditions than could have been initially determined by the visual inspections. The cost of steel also significantly increased during this time, and therefore making improvements to the ferry, as well as maintaining it, fell outside the parameters of what was possible with our budget.

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