Galveston-Port Bolivar Ferry
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Galveston-Port Bolivar Ferry

Day schedule

One vessel is in operation 24 hours per day. A second vessel will be placed in service at 6:30 a.m. After this departure, the two vessels will operate based on traffic volumes, and will space themselves to carry traffic as efficiently and safely as possible. A third vessel will be placed in service during the afternoon period in necessary. Up to five vessels may be operated for summer and holiday traffic.

Night schedule

Departs Galveston Departs Bolivar
No. 1 Ferry No. 2 Ferry No. 1 Ferry No. 2 Ferry
12 a.m.   12:30 a.m.  
1 a.m.   1:30 a.m.  
2 a.m.   2:20 a.m.  
3:05 a.m.   3:30 a.m.  
4 a.m.   4:20 a.m.  
5 a.m.   5:30 a.m.  
6 a.m.  6:30 a.m. 6:30 a.m.  7 a.m.


No, the ferry is a toll-free service operated by the TxDOT.

The ferry operates between Galveston Island and the Bolivar peninsula.

No, the ferry operates 24 hours a day. A schedule can be obtained from the ferry web site at (hyper link). In times of severe weather, service may be temporarily reduced or stopped for safety reasons until the severe weather event has passed.

  • Galveston Ferry 1000 Ferry Road Galveston, TX 77550
  • Port Bolivar Ferry 123 SH 87 Port Bolivar, TX 77650

You can call 409-795-2230

Yes, there is an elevated parking garage and a parking lot located at the Galveston side, on the Bolivar side there is a parking lot. Restroom facilities are provided on both Galveston and Bolivar sides. As with the ferry service it is free to park in the lots while riding the ferry.

Yes, Pets and animals, other than service animals as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, must remain inside the owner's vehicle.

It takes approximately 20 minutes to make the crossing and approximately 10 minutes to unload/load, so a round trip takes about 1 hour.

Yes, Passenger restrooms are located on both the Galveston and Port Bolivar sides near the vehicle staging areas, also on the upper deck of all ferry vessels. An additional wheelchair accessible bathroom is located on the Bolivar end of the main car deck.

No, the transportation of hazardous materials including gas can are forbidden with the exception of propane tanks attached to recreational vehicles as integral equipment and two extra federally approved gas tanks in trailered boats.

No, no smoking is allowed anywhere on the ferry, including inside your vehicle. This includes vapor and e-cigarettes.

Yes, please feed the seagulls at the rear of the ferry only.

No, Vehicles must be turned off as soon as you are parked on the ferry vessel or when directed to do so by the ferry crew. Please set your parking brake. Please do not walk in front of or behind any parked vehicle while the ferry is approaching and/or entering the landing. Please remain in your vehicle until the ferry has departed.

You can see various things while crossing, you may see dolphins, pelicans, seagulls, pelican island with navy destroyer and a submarine, the Selma concrete ship, the Bolivar Lighthouse, and Fort Travis. You can also see various large ships heading to port as well as sailboats, fishing boats, tugs, crew boats and cruise ships.

Yes, you may call ahead if you like to let us know and please inform the crew after the vessel has loaded and left the landing. You may spread the ashes from the rear of the ferry.

You may call the ferry office at 409-795-2230 to inquire about any opening and to get the link (hyper link) to search for open positions at the ferry.

We have two lanes reserved to allow for vehicles directed into dedicated lanes for processing, one for Federally required screening of vehicles and the other for Medical Priority Boarding (MPB) being directed into the Medical Priority Boarding Lane, does not exempt you from the random inspection process if selected. These lanes when they have vehicles, are loaded first as vehicles pulled out of line to be inspected and are loaded to be boarded next on the vessel and the medical priority boarding line is boarded first due to medical reasons.

If accommodations are needed due to a handicap or special need, please contact the Ferry Operation in advance so vessel parking accommodations can be made prior to your arrival. For more information, please call 409-795-2230. Once aboard, please ask any ferry crew member if you need assistance.


  • Feeding the seagulls: after boarding and the ferry has left the landing, you must go to the rear of the ferry to begin feeding the seagulls. Please be mindful of other passengers and vehicles near you. As the ferry approaches the landing you must return to your vehicle if you drove on, walk-on’s must return upstairs (or a safe area) or return to front of the ferry to walk off the ferry.
  • Sightseeing on ferry: sights to see when on the ferry. After the vessel has fully loaded and left the landing you may get out of your vehicle and walk about the deck and go upstairs. You may see dolphins, pelicans’ seagulls, cargo ships, tugs, sailboats, and cruise ships. Other sights are pelican island that has a navy destroyer and submarine also the Selma a concrete shipwreck. Nearing Bolivar you can see the Bolivar lighthouse and Fort Travis.
  • As you enter the staging area you may be randomly selected for a federally required inspection of your vehicle. You will be directed into an inspection lane and required to exit your vehicle and open your hood (if you need assist opening your hood you can request the guard to help), console, glovebox, and trunk. This will only take a few minutes to complete, after which you will be boarded as soon as inspection is completed. This lane will be loaded ahead of the regular traffic. Failure to allow this federally required inspection will result in denial to board the ferry for up to 24 hours.
  • When driving on/off the ferry follow all directions from the deckhands to ensure the safety of all vehicles and passengers. Please remain in your vehicle until all loading has been completed. As the ferry approaches the landing please return upstairs if remaining on the ferry, walk to front of the ferry if walking off the ferry or return to your vehicle if driving off the ferry. Please follow all directions given by the deckhands.
  • During the high traffic wait season the wait times can be 2+ hours to cross. During these times, please note that alternate routes (hyper link) are available to reduce the time it takes to and from Galveston and Bolivar Peninsula. You can go to our website (hyper link) to check wait times and explore these alternate routes to determine which routes will reduce your wait times.
  • TxDOT has a total of 7 ferries presently. The number of operational ferries depends on several factors ranging from time of year, volume of traffic and shipyard/maintenance schedules. TxDOT strives to provide a safe and efficient transportation service while ensuring that the fleet is well maintained and inspected by USCG and ABS regulatory bodies. Making sure the traveling public can depend on a ferry service that has operated safely, efficiently, and consistently for over 90 years is job one for TxDOT and the Galveston/Bolivar ferry system.


The Galveston-Port Bolivar ferry takes travelers on SH 87 between Galveston Island and the Bolivar Peninsula.

Vehicles should not exceed 80,000 pounds, may have a maximum length of 65 feet, a maximum height of 13.5 feet and a maximum width of 8.5 feet.

Ferry service between Galveston Island and the Bolivar Peninsula began on April 12, 1930. Six daily round trips were made and only daylight service was provided. The ferries Galveston and Jefferson were operated by Southern States Transportation Company for approximately two years before being sold to Galveston County.  The county operated them for the next six months and then turned them over to the State of Texas. A nominal toll was charged until 1950.

Today, this toll-free service of the Texas Department of Transportation operates 24 hours each day in all weather conditions.  A link in State Highway 87, the ferry route connects Galveston and Bolivar Peninsula. The trip across Galveston Bay is 2.7 miles long.  The crossing takes approximately 18 minutes, a round trip approximately 50 minutes.  A secure, lighted parking area is provided on both sides for those passengers who wish to walk aboard.

There are 133 full-time employees.

In the past 10 years, the six ferries carried on average 1,565,290 vehicles, 4,932,980 passengers and made 40,072 crossings per year.

The Gibb Gilchrist was built by Jeffboat, Inc. in Jeffersonville, Indiana at a cost of $5,000,000.  This boat is powered by two GM Electro-Motive Diesel engines rated at 1,500 hp each.  Each engine is coupled to a 900-kW generator, which provides power to a 2,000 hp electric motor at each end of the vessel.  This boat is 264 feet long and 66 feet wide.  It carries approximately 70 vehicles. The Gilchrist has a standard propeller at each end with a rudder behind each propeller.

The Robert C. Lanier was christened on April 4,1991 and entered service May 1, 1991.  Built by Alabama Shipyard, Inc. of Mobile, Alabama, the Lanier cost $6.2 million and is 264 feet long, 66 feet wide and carries 70 vehicles.  It is powered by two GM Electro-Motive Diesel engines rated at 1,500 hp each and a Voith Schneider Cycloidal 24G11 propeller at each end.

The Dewitt C. Greer was christened on January 27,1995 and entered service on February 1, 1995.  It replaced the Cone Johnson which retired from active service on February 2, 1995.  The Greer was constructed at a cost of $6.8 million by Trinity Industries, Inc., Moss Point Marine Shipyard, in Escatawpa, Mississippi.  It is 264 feet long, 66 feet wide and carries 70 vehicles.  It also is powered by two GM Electro-Motive Diesel engines rated at 1,500 hp each and a Voith Schneider Cycloidal 24G11 propeller at each end.

The Ray Stoker, Jr. entered into service on November 12, 1997.  The Stoker is a replacement vessel for the R. S. Sterling which retired from active service on October 5, 1998.  The Stoker was constructed at a cost of $8.3 million dollars.  Like the Greer, the Stoker is 264 feet long, 66 feet wide and carries 70 vehicles.  It is powered by two GM Electro-Motive Diesel engines rated at 1500 hp each and a Voith Schneider Cycloidal 24G11 propeller at each end.

The Robert H. Dedman entered service on February 18, 1999.  It is a replacement vessel for the E. H. Thornton, Jr. which retired from active service on July 27, 2000.  Halter Marine, Inc. at their Gulfport, Mississippi Shipyard constructed the Dedman at a cost of $9.4 million.  It is 263 feet long, 65 feet wide and carries 70 vehicles.  Two GM electro-Motive Diesel engines rated at 1,500 hp each power it and a Voith Schneider Cycloidal 24G11 propeller at each end.

The John W. Johnson was commissioned into service into on November 3,2011. Conrad Shipyard out of Amelia, Louisiana constructed the vessel at a cost of $24 million. The Johnson is 264 feet long, 66 feet wide and carries 70 vehicles.  It was originally powered by two GE 8V22 Diesel engines and our first Siemens S120 Variable AC Drives.  The Johnson is currently undergoing a $22,000,000 engine and propulsion upgrade at Southwest Shipyard in Houston, Texas.  This upgrade will match the Johnson propulsion with our newest vessel the Esperanza “Hope” Andrade.  It will include four C18 Caterpillar 800 hp engines with Siemens Blue Drive Plus C propulsion system and a Siemens Blue Vault Battery System rated at 1898 Kilowatt hours (KWH); making the Johnson our second Diesel Electric with Energy Storage vessel. The Johnson uses a standard propeller inside a kort nozzle on each end with flanking rudders behind each propeller.

In March, 2024, The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) proudly unveiled its latest maritime marvel, the Galveston to Port Bolivar ferry, in a momentous dedication ceremony honoring the esteemed pioneer of Texas transportation infrastructure, Esperanza "Hope" Andrade. This marks a significant milestone as it is the first ferry to be named after a woman and the first to be named after a Latina. Furthermore, this celebration coincides with Women's History Month, adding an extra layer of significance to the occasion.

Esperanza "Hope" Andrade's indelible mark on Texas transportation is beyond compare. As the inaugural female chair of the Texas Transportation Commission and the historic first Latina Texas Secretary of State, Andrade's legacy resonates throughout our state's infrastructure landscape. With the christening of this vessel bearing her name, we pay homage not only to her remarkable accomplishments but also to the beacon of progress she embodies.

The debut of the Esperanza "Hope" Andrade ferry heralds a new era characterized by efficiency, sustainability, and safety. Stretching an impressive 293 feet, this state-of-the-art craft showcases cutting-edge propulsion technology and pioneering battery energy storage systems, setting a precedent for environmental stewardship and passenger welfare. As we embark on this journey of transformation, this ferry stands poised to serve generations of Texans with distinction.


YEAR BUILT 1977 1991 1994 1996 1998 2011 2023
AGE 46 32 29 27 25 12 0
L ENGTH- FT 264.1 263.33 263.33 263.33 263.33 263..33 293
WIDTH - FT 66.1 65.33 65.33 65.33 65.33 65.33 66