Sydney ferries

A Sydney ferry © Getty Images

A Sydney ferry © Getty Images

Sydney in Australia is one city that has a regular ferry service that runs every day carrying passengers to different parts of Sydney Harbour. Workers use the ferries to get to work, and tourists travel on them to get to see the sights of Sydney.

Sydney Harbour ferries are double- ended ferries.

This double-ended ferry sails between the islands of Manhatten and Staten Island in New York in the United States of America. Getty images

This double-ended ferry sails between the islands of Manhatten and Staten Island in New York in the United States of America. Getty images

Double-ended ferries are built so that they can be sailed back and forth without the need to turn around. 

Hydrofoils and hovercrafts

Hydrofoils and hovercrafts are  fast, passenger-carrying ferries.

The hovercraft was invented by Christopher Cockerell in 1956. 

It is a vehicle that floats over any smooth surface on a cushion of air that has been forced under the craft by a powerful fan. The air is pushed downwards by the fan against the surface the craft is floating over, causing the craft to lift.

A hovercraft ferry ©Getty Images

A hovercraft ferry ©Getty Images

A fabric ‘skirt’ keeps the cushion of air contained and prevents it from escaping. Once the craft is lifted, thrust is created to move it forward either by the engine that creates lift or by a separate engine. Steering the hovercraft is done by rudders behind the fan which are controlled by handlebars at the front of the craft.

Hovercraft come in many sizes. Large craft are used as passenger ferries. Hovercraft are used by the armed forces and for search and rescue. Small hovercraft l are used for racing and other leisure pursuits. They hover over any flat surface, including water, ice, snow, sand, mud and grass and can travel at speeds up to 70 km/h.

Catamaran

Catamarans are boats with twin hulls instead of one hull like traditional boats.  They are used for very large ferries that travel at high-speed. The largest of these can carry up to 1500 people and more than 300 cars.

Sometimes a cable ferry is used to travel short distances across a river. This kind of ferry is pulled across the river by cables which are connected to each shore.

At the front of this ferry there is a ramp that can be raised and lowered to let cars drive on and off. Getty Images

At the front of this ferry there is a ramp that can be raised and lowered to let cars drive on and off. Getty Images

Ferries dock (stop) at specially built places where there are ramps from the ferry to the shore so that passengers can walk off and vehicles can be driven off the ferry.  

 

On board a ferry

On ferries there are seats for the passengers. Some seats are inside the ferry and some are on the deck in the open air. Some ferries have restaurants and shops where passengers can buy food.  On very large ferries there are cabins where passengers can sleep. The crew sails the ferry and takes care of passengers. There are life jackets for passengers in case of an emergency or an accident. There is also safety equipment in case they need to fight a fire on board. 

This small ferry takes passengers along the River Thames in London. ©Getty Images

This small ferry takes passengers along the River Thames in London. ©Getty Images

 

Watch a video here that shows how to make a hovercraft out of a CD:

 http://www.monkeysee.com/play/15475-wind-power-science-project-hovercraft

Read this kidcyber page for more about ships:

Ships and boats, a timeline