Sistersville residents’ commute to Ohio may be a little longer this year if the ferry does not operate this year.
The ferry’s longtime pilot retired over the winter and the search for a new operator continues.
“It’s very hard to find people because we can’t pay what the towboat operators are paid,” said Barbara Gage, Chair of the Sistersville Ferry Board. “What we would pay them is about half of what they would make on one of the bigger, large systems.”
The city of Sistersville owns the ferry but the Board, ran by community volunteers, are in charge of responsible for budgeting, funding and hiring maintenance.
The popular Ohio River Ferryboat Festival was canceled due to the uncertainty of the ferry and without a pilot, residents may be without their historic ferry for the first time since 1817.
“The service has been going for over 200 years,” said Greg Gage, a Sistersville Councilman. “We really want to keep it going, it’s historic. And so we’re really trying to ask the community if there’s anyone out there who can pilot a ferry who has a master’s of towing license and would be willing to come and work with us.”
The ferry operating season is set for May through September.
If you are qualified to apply for the pilot position, please visit the Sistersville Ferry Legacy Facebook page.