The Ferries Of The Rockaway Boat Lines

Photo courtesy of John Landers

The dock entrance in Sheepshead Bay (Photo courtesy of John Landers)

If television has taught me anything, it is that one should be wary of any “three hour tours” unless you don’t mind getting stranded on an island with a scientist, a goofy first mate and an angry skipper. Luckily, the tours once advertised by Rockaway Boat Lines only offered tours ranging from one to two and a half hours, saving people the fate of trying to figure out how to wire a radio out of a coconut. The pictures were provided by Sheepshead Bites read John Landers, who had previously sent us a picture of the Columbia, which sailed from Sheepshead Bay to Breezy Point and the Rockaways.

Landers has provided us with more vintage pictures including a shot of the dock entrance at Sheepshead Bay and other ferries docked at the Sheepshead Bay Marina. Thanks for the great pictures John!

Photo courtesy of John Landers

Photo courtesy of John Landers

Photo courtesy of John Landers

Photo courtesy of John Landers

  • zen3344

    I vaguely remember that they were run by Circle Line at one point. Does anyone else remember that?

    • Jody Ruth Steinhardt

      I remember the boats well, but really don’t remember them being run by Circle Line. Sorry babes.

    • Ron Darcy

      Hi I worked on the ferris in 1977-80. Sonny Clair owned the ferry, and his dad Francis Clair was 1 of 5 owners of circle line. I was 17 and was a deck hand. Great summers, great memories!

      • Jim

        So Ron, I assume you were a disciple of Captain Willie Sutherland!
        To this day the unforgetable person I ever met!

  • bruce b

    You neglected to mention that getting stranded on that three hour tour would enable you to meet the incredible Dawn Wells and Tina Louise (MaryAnn and Ginger). Dawn Wells was incredibly hot (and not innocent!) in roles well before Gilligan’s Island. And Tina Louise? Well.
    What this has to do with the article is beyond me.

  • rich debona

    i remember them well and use to be used for fireworks on the 4th and each year they take out two boats of gettho kids for rides .

  • Philip Reid

    I believe my great grandfather had an interest in the ferry company just after the turn of the century. His name was Philip Howard Reid and he also was a financial baker of the Rockaway Point Bungalow Colony and the Sheepshead Bay Speedway. I am looking for any additional information anyone can share. Thank you.

    • Jim

      Your great grandfather did own the Ferry and I believe his father owned a Ferry from Carnise to Rockaway. One of the Ferries was named C Washington Colyer who was an uncle to your great grandfather. He was a banker with the East New York Savings Bank financed the Rockaway Point Bungalow Colony. Email me at if you have questions