The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is a Principal Federal Statistical Agency that provides objective, comprehensive, and relevant information on the extent and use of the Nation's transportation system, how well the system performs, and the effects of the system on society and the environment
The geographic scope of the 2022 National Census of Ferry Operators includes the U.S. and its possessions (i.e., the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the remaining territories, commonwealths and other political units of the U. S.). This includes political units that are an unincorporated territory of the U.S., maintain a Compact of Free Association with the U.S., or are a commonwealth associated with or in political union with the U.S. In addition to ferry operators providing domestic service within the U.S. and its possessions, operators providing services from locations in the U.S. and its possessions to and from a foreign country are also to be included (for example, the British Virgin Islands).
The specific types of ferry operations to be included within the scope of this census are those providing itinerant, fixed route, common carrier passenger and/or vehicle roll-on, roll-off (RoRo) ferry service, as well as railroad car float operations. More specifically, the following types of operations should complete the census questionnaire:
- Ferry or water taxi operations that have fixed routes between two or more different ports of call.
- Ferry or water taxi operations that provide service on a fixed schedule or on demand within a fixed window of time.
- Common Carriers (e.g. for-hire carriers) who serve the general public at reasonable rates and without discrimination.
- Railroad car float operations that utilize a tug and barge combination having two to three parallel tracks, onto which rail cars are rolled for transit across a body of water.
WHO SHOULD NOT COMPLETE THE CENSUS QUESTIONNAIRE?
The following types of operations will not be included in the National Census of Ferry Operators:
- Non-itinerant ferry operations (e.g., “cruise-to-nowhere” services).
- Excursion services (e.g., whale watches, casino boats, day/dinner cruises, etc.).
- Passenger only water taxi services not operating on a fixed route.
- LoLo (Lift-on/Lift-off) freight/auto carrier services.
- Long distance passenger only cruise ship services.
If you are not sure whether your operation should not be included in the census, please contact the U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, at 1-800-853-1351 or email Ferry@dot.gov (link sends email).
The Bureau of Transportation Statistics is conducting a nationwide survey of ferry boat operators for the U.S. Department of Transportation. This census is authorized by law [Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (P.L. 114-94, sec. 1112)] that requires BTS to maintain a database of existing ferry operations across the United States. The Federal Highway Administration also uses the data collected on passengers, vehicles, and route miles to set the specific formula for allocating federal ferry funds (23 USC 147(d)). Your company’s participation in this census is strictly voluntary. By law (5 United States Code 552(b)(4)), any confidential business information we may collect will be kept confidential and will not be made public or shared outside of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Under federal law (18 United States Code 1905), employees and contractors working on this census are subject to penalties if they make public ANY information that could reveal confidential business information. At the end of this census questionnaire, we ask that you identify any information that you consider confidential business information. Please note that information which your business releases to the public on a routine basis or is in the public domain, generally, does not qualify as confidential business information.
The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 states that no persons are required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. The OMB control number for this survey is 2139-0009 (Expires February 28, 2026). If you have questions or comments about this survey, please call 1-800-853-1351 or email Ferry@dot.gov.
Information provided on number of passengers, vehicles, and route miles will be used by the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for funding allocation purposes as outlined by the funding formula described in 23 USC 147(d).
NCFO Project Manager
Bureau of Transportation Statistics
Office of Survey Programs
1200 New Jersey Ave SE
Washington, DC 20590
9:00 am - 5:00 pm ET, M-F
The most time efficient and easiest way to access and complete the NCFO questionnaire is by logging into the web questionnaire from this page using your ferry operation’s unique log-in
and password sent to your ferry operation by email. If you do not remember or have misplaced the unique log-in credentials for your ferry operation, please call the Ferry Census Project
Manager at (202) 366-2468.
The hardcopy version supplied here can be saved or printed and used as a helpful guide to the order and questions that will be asked in the web questionnaire.
If you do not wish to or cannot complete your operation’s questionnaire online, please print and complete the hardcopy supplied here. Once completed, please call the number above and request a paid return envelope to be sent to you.