How Fast Does a Ferry Go?

Way back in the olden days (1996), Hy-Line introduced a new and innovative traveling option for the public: a year-round high-speed ferry service to Nantucket. It was the first of its kind in this area and the service took off in a way we’d only ever dreamed of.

Fast Ferries traveling to NantucketShortly thereafter came an increase in demand of traveling on a fast ferry, to hurry-up-and-get-you-where-you’re-going. That demand, and our decision in 1996, put us in the perfect spot to transition to an all high-speed ferry business model 20 years later, in the fall of 2016. That means all of our trips are fast ferry services to the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard from Hyannis.

Ferries Built for High-Speed Travel

The vessels must be well-built, and sturdy enough to ply the waters of Nantucket Sound and the (sometimes finicky) New England weather. Speaking of that weather, cancellations are made based mostly on the wind, wind direction, and sea conditions. Our Operations Department makes the final decision on ferry cancellations.

All of our ferries to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are all aluminum construction catamarans, built locally by Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding in Somerset, MA – except one.

So how fast do these ferries go, you ask? We get that question a lot; humans can be very curious, especially when it comes to how quickly you’ll get to your destination. Hy-Line’s fast ferries can go at speeds of up to 34mph, which if you’re talking in proper seafaring terminology is 30 knots an hour (1 knot = 1.151 mph)!

Here are some more fun facts about our ferries!

Fast Ferry to Nantucket (Crossing Time: 1-hour, Distance: 22 miles)

Nantucket High-Speed FerryGREY LADY IV
Built in 2016 at Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding in Somerset, MA, Grey Lady IV is the newest vessel of the Hy-Line fleet. This high-speed catamaran operates between Hyannis and Nantucket.

Length Overall: 151.4’
Draft: 7.0’
Beam: 34.33’
Engines: (4) KTA-50 Cummins
Total Horsepower: 8800
Passenger Capacity: 493
Approximate Speed: 30 knots (or 34mph)

Grey Lady Nantucket FerryGREY LADY
Built in 2003 at Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding in Somerset, MA, Grey Lady operates between Hyannis and Nantucket.

Length Overall: 143.3’
Draft: 6.43’
Beam: 34.33’

Engines: (4) QSK60-M Cummins
Total Horsepower: 7500
Passenger Capacity: 293
Approximate Speed: 30 knots (or 34mph)

High-Speed Ferry to Martha’s Vineyard (Crossing Time: 1-hour, Distance: 17 miles)

High-Speed Ferry Lady MarthaLADY MARTHA
Built in 1997 at Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding in Somerset, MA, Lady Martha was originally Grey Lady II, the second generation of high-speed catamarans built by Hy-Line. This vessel operated high-speed service between Hyannis and Nantucket until Grey Lady was built in 2003. The vessel was reacquired and renamed by Hy-Line in 2005 and embarked on a new adventure: seasonal high-speed ferry service between Hyannis and Martha’s Vineyard. In addition to this service, she is also our high-speed connection inter-island, between Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

Length Overall: 106’
Draft: 4.0’
Beam: 30’
Engines: (4) MTU-12V 2000
Total Horsepower: 4200
Passenger Capacity: 149
Approximate Speed: 28 knots (or 32mph)

Vineyard Lady Fast FerryVINEYARD LADY
Built in 2007 at Yank Marine in Tuckahoe, NJ, Vineyard Lady was originally operated out of Sheepshead Bay, NY, until 2015 when she was acquired by Hy-Line. She operates seasonal high-speed service between Hyannis and Martha’s Vineyard.

Length Overall: 90.9’
Draft: 4.9’
Beam: 31.4’
Engines: (4) KTA-50 Cummins
Total Horsepower: 3750
Passenger Capacity: 350
Approximate Speed: 22 knots (or 25mph)

Long story short, if you’re looking to take a ferry trip to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard, Hy-Line Cruises can get you there quickly! Spend an hour with the breeze in your hair and taking in the views, and before you know it you’ll be stepping off onto the islands and enjoying your trip!

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