FERRY (from Sax, faran, Ger. Fahren, to move, proceed, allied to the Lat. fern, Eng. bear), a passage by boat across water. By the law of England, a man may have a right to keep a boat and to ferry passengers for a consideration, just as he may have 0. right to hold a fair, either by royal grant, or by prescription, from which a royal grant at some previous time will be presumed. No other title, unless conferred by act of parliament, will suffice, for no fair, market, or F. can be set up without license from the crown either actual or presumed. The possessor of such a title need not necessarily be the proprietor of the soil on which the market is held, or of the water over which the right of F. is exercised. In the latter case, he need not be the proprietor of the soil on either side of the river, though he must possess such rights over it as will enable him to embark and disembark his passengers. As fulfilling his part of the bargain with the public, the owner of a F. is bound to keep a boat fit for the purpose of carry ing passengers, whilst on the other hand be has a right of action not only against those who refuse or evade payment of the toll or passage money, but against those who dis turb his franchise by setting up a new F. so near as to diminish his custom.—Stephen, E pp. 663, 664. It has been more than once decided, that, the erection of a second F. in such circumstances is a nuisance to the owner of the old one, who is bound to keep his F. in readiness for the use of the queen's subjects, a burden which is not shared by his rival (North and South Shields Ferry Co. D. Barker, 2 Exch. 136). The rule in Scotland as to rival ferries is the same; but a grant of F. from the crown to one heritor does not prevent his neighbors from keeping private boats for the transport of themselves and their families and servants. Where ferries have not been given out by royal gift, either express or presumed as above described, they are inter regalia, i.e., they belong to the crown for • the public benefit. In this case, they are under the management of the trustees of the roads connected with them, or are regu lated by the justices of the peace for the county, or by special acts of parliament. By 8 and 9 Vict. c. 41, certain rules are laid down for the regulation of ferries. The act is confined to Scotland.
Common rowing boats are generally used for ferrying foot-passengers, but when horses and carriages have to be taken across, a fiat-bottomed barge, with an inclined plane at one end, to rest upon the shore, for landing and embarking, is generally used. This is either rowed across or pulled by a rope. When the current is strong, and the river
of moderate width, the latter is best. The rope stretched across the river passes through rings or over pulleys attached to the barge, and the ferrymen move the barge across by pulling the rope. The chief advantage of the rope is to restrain the barge from drifting in the direction of the stream. With a small boat, this is obviated by the ferryman rowing obliquely, as though he were steering for a point higher up the river; thus he moves through the water upwards to the same extent that the water moves over the land downwards; and by a composition of these motions, and his tending to the other side, is carried directly across. Broad estuaries are now traversed in many places by steam-ferry.
Rafts are sometimes used for ferrying. On the Nile, a sort of raft is made of inverted earthen-pots full of air. For further information on the crossing of rivers, see FORD, FORDD7G.
Flying-bridge is the name given to a kind of ferry-boat which is moved across a river by the action of the combined forces of the stream and the resistance of a long rope or chain made fast to a fixed buoy in the middle of the river. The boat thus attached is made to take an oblique position by means of the rudder; the stream then acting against the side, tends to move it in a direction at right angles to its length, while the rope exerts a force in the direction towards the buoy. If these two forces be represented by the sides of a parallelogram, the actual course of the boat would be in the direction of the diagonal (see Comrosmox AND RESOLUTION or' FORCES); but as the length of the rope remains the same, the boat must continue always at the same distance from the buoy, and therefore its course is a curve, a portion of a circle, of which the .buoy is the center, and the rope the radius. The course of the boat and the action of the two forces are strictly analogous to the path of a rising kite, and to the forces of which this path is the resultant. The holder of the kite corresponds to the buoy, the wind to the tidal stream, and the tail to the rudder. Flying-bridges are used for military pur poses, aud the modes of adapting them to the varying circumstances of the width of rivers and the velocity of their currents, forms a part of the study of military engineer ing. An important element in the problem, is the determination of the right point of attachment for the rope. In the case of a wide river, the rope or chain requires to be of considerable length, and must be supported by movable buoys or by small boats.