BHC lone bidder for Salem ferry service

FEBRUARY 10, 2013—Boston Harbor Cruises, Boston, MA, is the only bidder to operate a high-speed ferry service between Salem, MA, to Boston for the 2013 season, according to local reports.

The Salem News says that Boston Harbor Cruises (BHC), which operated the service during 2012, was the only company to respond to the Request for Proposals from the City of Salem. Bids were expected to be opened on February 7. The RFP was issued on January 21. The city proposes a one-year contract, with four additional one-year options.

Allison Nolan, General Manager of Boston Harbor Cruises, is quoted by The Salem News as saying that the ferry carried 43,046 riders during the 212 season and that BHC hopes to increase that to 80,000 in 2013.

The winner of the bid would operate the 149-passenger, 92 ft catamaran ferry Nathaniel Bowditch, which can reach speeds of 33 knots. The ferry would run from May 23 to October 31, seven days per week on a limited schedule in commuter, sightseeing and tourist service. The ferry was built in 1994.

The ferry is named for a native son of Salem born in 1773, Nathaniel Bowditch who was a brilliant mathematician that had a profound impact on modern maritime navigation. He published The New American Practical Navigator in 1802. The book is still published today by the U.S. Government’s Defense Mapping Agency Hydrographic Topographic Center as the American Practical Navigator. The book is often referred to simply as the “Bowditch.”