One atypical ferry operates on the Kennebec River at Caratunk, where Appalachian Trail hikers are provided sake passage across. Crossing rivers was important to commerce and transportation even in the early decades of the 20th century. Some were displaced by bridges, others became obsolete as new roads and faster automobiles became available.
This description about their role is typical:
Ferry boats provided transportation across the Sandy River at several locations in Starks. The name of the ferry usually referred to the operator, thus, over a period of time, the same crossing site might be known by several different names. Some were Davis, at the foot of Sand Hill; Piper’s at the Clifton Quimby Farm; Butler’s below the Madison Electric Dam; and Moore’s, near the mouth of the river at the Lewis Tracy farm. . . . Service [at the latter] had ended by 1930 and no bridge was built to replace it.
The Days Ferry area in Woolwich was the eastern terminal of the Hockamock, which ferried passengers across the Kennebec River to Bath until the construction of the Carleton Bridge. A Fairfield–Clinton service operated at Pishon’s Ferry, near Hinkley. It is not unusual for town to have a village or location with “ferry” in its name. Rumford Point had a ferry on the Androscoggin River well into the 1930s. That is a big clue that there once was a crossing in the area and a bridge exists in its place.
Access to Maine’s populated islands is highly dependent on ferries. These include private vessels as well as those of the State Ferry Service, operated by the Maine Department of Transportation. Both public and private services have seasonal schedules.
For the larger islands served by the State system (Frenchboro, Islesboro, Matinicus, North Haven, Swan’s Island, and Vinalhaven), the goal is year-round access except in particularly dangerous weather.
Portland Harbor Ferries
Casco Bay Lines is operated by the Casco Bay Island Transit District (CBITD), a quasi-municipal, non-profit corporation, established in 1981 by the State legislature. Its mandate to to serve populated Casco Bay islands every day of the year. Specifically it serves Chebeague, Cliff, Great Diamond, Little Diamond, Long, and Peaks islands.
The mainland terminal is on the City’s waterfront where passengers obtain schedules, tickets and board the vessels. Peaks Island is the largest and has its own dedicated ferry, carrying thousands of commuters and tourists each year.
Bar Harbor and Lamoine Steam Ferry Company: Incorporated for the Purpose of Establishing and Maintaining a Ferry Line between Sand Point, near the celebrated ovens, Mount Desert Island, and East Lamoine Point, directly opposite, on the main land. 1889.
Gale, Nellie Isabella. Some Ferries and Covered Bridges of Maine. Orono, Me. University of Maine. 1932. [Maine State Library]
Libby, Mark S. Fast Ferry Report; Phase I. Augusta, Me. Maine Department of Transportation. 1999.
Libby, Mark S. Fast Ferry Operations and Issues: Phase 2. Augusta, Me. Maine Department of Transportation. 2003.
Maine. Dept. of Economic Development. Coastal Maine Passenger Boat and Ferry Service. Augusta, Me. 1959. [University of Maine, Raymond H. Fogler Library, Special Collections; Maine State Library]
Maine Port Authority. The Establishment of the Maine State Ferry Service. Portland, Me. 1960. [University of Maine, Raymond H. Fogler Library, Special Collections]
Starks Bicentennial Committee. Starks, Maine Bicentennial 1995 Calendar. Starks. 1994. (Cataloger note: Includes Act to Incorporate and By-laws of the company.) [University of Maine, Raymond H. Fogler Library, Special Collections]
Office of Public Advocate, Maine Public Utilities Commission, Maine Department of Transportation. A Study of the Casco Bay Ferry Services: Final Report. Augusta, Me. The Office. 1988. [Maine State Law and Legislative Reference Library]