Cape May-Lewes Ferry Engine Failure Strands Passengers

Cape May-Lewes Ferry MV New Jersey

The Cape May-Lewes Ferry is back on schedule after an engine failure stranded more than 140 passengers on the water for a couple of hours Friday.

The ferry MV New Jersey left Cape May bound for Lewes, Delaware at 1 p.m. and its starboard engine malfunctioned about 20 minutes later, according to the Delaware River and Bay Authority. The captain used the ferry’s other engine to return to the mouth of the canal, where it waited for a tugboat from Northstar Marine to help with docking.

“With only one engine, maneuvering in the dock area is difficult,” explains Delaware River and Bay Authority spokesman Jim Salmon.

Salmon says the ferry made it back to the dock at 3:15 p.m., and during the two hours the passengers were waiting, they “received free refreshments and a voucher for a future trip on the ferry.” The passengers were able to catch a 6:00 p.m. ferry leaving Cape May for Lewes, five hours after their intended departure.

Ferry marine mechanics repaired the MV New Jersey and she was back in service by Sunday, operating on an adjusted schedule. Officials didn’t say specifically what caused the engine to malfunction.

-Meg Walburn Viviano