The New Jersey Ferry, run by Seastreak Ferry, is a major means of transportation for tourists and natives alike. It is free of charge, spacious, and runs frequently between Atlantic Highlands and Highlands in New Jersey and lower Manhattan. The multi-level boats can carry hundreds of passengers and crew on a single trip. Rows of seating are available throughout the boat. Some passengers choose to stand at the perimeter of the boat during the trip to enjoy the view or make a quit exit from the boat. Once the boat is fully docked and the gates on the deck open, the exits get backed up since the boats are usually rather full with passengers. The ferry ride is generally smooth and peaceful, perhaps due to the larger size of the vessels and the relatively flat current on the Hudson.
On January 9, 2013, the ferry made a hard landing straight into the Manhattan dock. The reason for this still appears to be under investigation. Though the operation of a ferry is somewhat complicated in that it involves the study of the mechanics of the vessel and an understanding of the current, landings in this area are not typically expected to be dangerous. The ferry operator on January 9, 2013, Captain James Reimer, was questioned at length after the accident. He and the five member crew were given alcohol and drugs tests, the complete results of which have yet to be released. Captain Reimer said the controls and engines failed, which prevented him from reversing the boat at the appropriate time to slow it and effectuate a smooth landing. The ferry engines have a data storage feature, which will allow an in depth investigation of what happened at the controls just before the crash.
There have been numerous ferry accidents. In 2009, the same ferry was involved in a hard landing which resulted in a large gash being made in the boat. In 2010, a boat was involved in a crash which punctured a hole in the port side of the same boat. The unrelated Staten Island Ferry also has been in several accidents, the most notable being the 2003 crash in which the operator lost consciousness at the controls after taking pain relievers which had drowsiness listed as a known side effect. As a result of this accident, eleven people were killed.