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How To Plan A Banquet – A Guide To Planning Perfect Banquets For Company Or Private Parties

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First time planners are often stricken with complete fear! Even those that plan events over and over again still fear that something will go wrong and they will be the subject of ridicule. Hopefully we can allay the fears and quell the butterflies in your stomach by helping you through the entire project.

There are a lot of questions you need to ask. First timers probably don’t have the foggiest idea what questions to ask, so, the first thing we’d better do is outline these for you.

Perhaps the easiest way to do that is to fill out a form. (I love forms!)
If you were to phone me and ask me to help you make arrangements for a special event, the first thing I would do is reach for a blank form, and over the phone we would fill it out. When I had all the information, I would be better prepared to help you.

Before you continue reading, you may want to print the banquet planning worksheet(PDF) from my website. That way you can follow along with the worksheet as I describe the planning process. I’ve also included a pre filled sample planning worksheet that you might help.

Let’s begin with fact finding.

PURPOSE

The first question to ask is, “What is the purpose of the event?” This question should be really easy, but it’s perhaps the most important. The purpose of your event will determine your event’s agenda.

DATE

Break out your calendar to decide a date for your event. Look for possible conflicts. It might be tough to get people out to a Saturday night banquet if it’s a three-day holiday. It would be unwise to put on a church social if your local school, where most of your congregation had children attending, were having an open house or play that night.

Pencil in a date and then try to think of possible conflicts. I know of one organization that booked a very popular and relatively expensive Jewish comic into the club house of a predominantly Jewish retirement community. Attempts to sell tickets failed miserably, because they had not realized they had scheduled his appearance on a Jewish holiday – a very expensive oversight!

BUDGET

There are many, many determining factors in establishing a budget. First of all, how many are expected to attend? You might have a pretty good idea for a company party, but in some cases you might just have to make a “guess-timate” until you can get more information. Make the best possible estimate based on what facts you have, and proceed.

TICKET PRICE

Another factor to determine before we select a location is how much your attendees are willing to pay. Sure, we can work the other way: we can pick a location, hire a band, select the menu, etc., and then add up how much it all costs and thus determine how much everyone needs to pay, but doing so will probably leave you hurting in the end.

If you expect 1,000 people, and you determine $25.00 a person is acceptable, then your entire budget for food, printing, entertainment, etc., is $25,000. If you expect only 20 people and you know they won’t come if it’s over $5.00 a person, then you know you’re far more limited.

LOCATION

Determine the geographical area where the event is to take place. If you live in the area where the event will take place, you may already know of various hotels, country clubs, restaurants or catering halls that can accommodate your group. If you don’t live in the area, be sure to go look at the potential location before you book it. If the event is in a distant city and it’s not possible for you to travel there, and the event is a significant one, I suggest you hire a professional meeting planner.

I once attended a banquet in a quaint “50’s malt-shop-type restaurant. The party planner had not gone there to look at the room where the party was to be. She had just taken the word of a friend. True, it was a great restaurant, but their “room” had about 5 permanent booths on each wall. Guests were facing in all different directions. This made it almost impossible for the magician they had hired to perform. To further confuse the issue, it was not even a private room. Restaurant customers could not get to the restroom without disturbing the party, and the 50’s music continued to blare through the ceiling speakers throughout the evening because it was piped throughout the whole restaurant and could not be isolated from one room. A visit beforehand could have prevented this nightmare.

Many, if not most, facilities do not charge a fee for the use of the room but instead absorb the rental fee into the price of the meal. For instance, in our example of 200 people, a banquet facility would be delighted to supply a private room in order to sell 200 dinners.

Usually they will have several dinners to choose from – perhaps a chicken dinner, complete with beverage, salad and dessert, for $12.00 per person; or prime rib at $18.00 each; or sirloin steaks at $25.00 per person. In our example we are charging $30.00 per person. Let’s select the prime rib at $18.00.

Does that include tax and tip? Oh, Oh! Find out if it does, or you may get a surprise at the end of the night. Let’s say it does not. 15% tip and 8% (or whatever) tax makes the dinner a total of $22.14 per person. Our sample budget calls for 200 people at $30.00 each for a total of $6,000. If all 200 people attend, dinner will cost $4,428. That leaves $1,572 for all other costs.

By the way, the facility may ask you for a deposit and guarantee. If you guarantee 200 people, you will have to pay for 200 dinners even if only 175 show up. Generally, a facility is prepared to serve about 10% more people than you guarantee. So it makes sense to guarantee a lesser number than you expect. Even some of those who told you absolutely they would be there, maybe even gave you a deposit, don’t show for one reason or another.

Just to be on the safe side, in our example of 200 people, I would guarantee the restaurant 185. If you’re pre selling tickets, which I recommend, you can always adjust your estimate upwards with the restaurant a day or two ahead of time if needed. Ask the facility about their requirements in regard to a change in the guarantee.

AGENDA

The evening agenda is largely determined by the event’s purpose. A typical event might go like this:

6:00 – 7:00 – Social or cocktail hour

7:00 – 8:00 – Dinner

8:00 – 8:15 – Meeting/Awards/Business

8:15 – 9:00 – Entertainment/Speaker

9:00 – 9:10 – Raffle/Door Prizes

9:10 – 1:00 – Dancing

Having an hour to “gather” is always good. You and the facility both will want everyone present when you actually sit down to eat. It’s been my experience that almost everything starts late, so plan for it and don’t be disappointed when it happens.

Will you be having a cocktail hour? A “Hosted” bar means that drinks are free to the party-goers. If you choose to host the cocktail hour, be prepared to spend about $1200 for our sample group of 200 people. Most organization-sponsored events have a ‘No-Host’ bar, in which guests buy their own drinks. It’s appropriate to announce ‘Hosted’, or ‘No-Host’ in the invitation.

Some form of entertainment during the cocktail hour is certainly a plus. The facility may have music piped in through its sound system, which is certainly the most economical; however, for around $300 you could have live music. Most banquet facilities have a piano, sometimes on wheels, and will let you either rent the piano or use it for free. Fee for the piano rental should be around $50 to $100 and a piano player anywhere from $150 to $250.

Other cocktail hour entertainment could include a chamber group, a jazz or “society” trio, harpist, or a strolling accordionist. A strolling “close-up” magician, performing from group to group or table to table, is always fun. Other forms of entertainment for the cocktail hour could include celebrity look-alikes, mechanical or conventional mimes, a balloon animal sculptor, caricaturist, graphologist, palm reader, tarot card reader, stilt walker, or just about anything else you can think of! Again, your budget is your gauge.

DINNER

This is pretty easy. When the Maitre’d says dinner is ready, have your party sit down!

The vast majority of banquets have certain people assigned to sit at the head table while everyone else may sit where they wish. If you choose to have a head table, you should make small place markers for those assigned to sit at the head table, and don’t forget to discuss table arrangements with the facility.

OPENING

Someone, perhaps you, should step to the microphone and announce that dinner is ready and ask everyone to take a seat. When this has been accomplished your President, or whoever is presiding, should welcome everyone.

It is appropriate at most banquets to have someone lead the flag salute, followed by a blessing on the food. People should not be called upon for these jobs extemporaneously, but should be asked in advance and their names and responsibilities should be listed on the printed program if there is one. Following the flag salute and prayer, your Master of Ceremonies (or who ever is conducting) should introduce the people sitting at the head table, introducing himself last.

THE PROGRAM

If business of any sort needs to be conducted, begin when dessert is finished, or at least served. Make sure that the facility knows that you do not want any bussing (clearing of tables) or coffee served after the program starts, as it can become an irritating distraction and take away from the enjoyment of the program.

ENTERTAINMENT

Following opening remarks, and/or other business, you could either introduce the main speaker, or present some form of entertainment.

This could be the highlight of the evening! There are many outstanding after-dinner performers and speakers. If you really want to have a successful event, hire a professional. At this writing $500 to $1,000 can buy you some pretty top-notch entertainment.

How about a comedian-magician who uses a member or two of your group and does some hilarious bits of business and audience participation magic tricks – 30 or 40 minutes of non-stop laughs!

Or picture this…the dessert has just been served and in walks “Lt. Columbo,” complete with overcoat and cigar…”Oh, excuse me,” he says, “I was looking for somebody else.” All eyes are riveted on this familiar figure as he turns and starts to walk out. “Oh, one more thing, is this the Walker party?’ Then for the next 30 minutes or so he does a comedy routine in the style and delivery of Peter Falk as Lt. Columbo, using names of people in your group.

That will rock your people out of their seats with laughter. These are just a couple of suggestions. Everybody loves to laugh, and a good professional entertainer can make you a hero.

How do you find that kind of entertainment? Again, watch out for the well-meaning friend. Sometimes hiring a friend of a friend who tells jokes or plays the banjo can put a wet blanket on the evening if they don’t live up to your expectations.

Probably the best way to secure talent is to work with a professional talent agent that specializes in special events. Ordinarily there is no fee for his services. He can make recommendations and suggestions based on what your needs are, and work within your budget limitations.

Some entertainers may have special requirements, like a stage, spotlight, two mics or something else, and these items need to be arranged with the facility. There may be a rental fee involved.

RAFFLE/DOOR PRIZES

Giving away door prizes or raffle prizes should not be held until after the entertainment or main speaker. Perhaps it’s an inducement for your guests to stay until the end.

If you’re selling raffle tickets, again you need to make out a budget. How many tickets do you expect to sell and for how much money? Do you want to make a profit? Let’s say you expect to sell 100 tickets to those 200 people expected to come, and we sell them at the banquet for $2.00 each. That’ll give you $200 to buy prizes with. You can put this in your general budget or assign someone to take care of the whole raffle, including purchasing the prizes and selling the tickets.

DANCING

Following the raffle, the formal portion of the program is really over. Your people can now go home. If you’ve elected to have a deejay or band, they may stay for dancing.

The facility might charge to set up a dance floor. Sometimes this is a portable dance floor they build right on top of the carpet. A band will cost anywhere from $150 per band member to $450 per band member for four hours. A small trio of keyboard, drum and guitar could be anywhere from $750 to $1,500.

An $1,800 to $3,500 five-piece band, including a vocalist, is average. If you hire a band, you may be able to use one or more of those same musicians to provide cocktail hour and/or dinner music for a small additional fee. You normally need to make a deposit at the time you hire the band. Anything over four hours’ playing time is considered overtime, and you should talk with the band or agent about the cost of overtime when you make the initial arrangements. Bands also need to take a 10-15 minute break each hour. Ask if the band will supply recorded music during their breaks.

MOBILE DEEJAY

Sometimes you might prefer a DeeJay playing recorded music instead of hiring a band. This gives you the advantage of hearing the original recording artist instead of a dance band’s rendition.

Another advantage is that most mobile DeeJay units will set up before dinner and offer to play dinner music at no additional cost, and of course, a DeeJay does not take a break during the evening, so you have non stop music for your event.

Cost-wise, there is not a lot of difference between a 3-piece band and a DeeJay. Some DeeJays offer a full light-show that few bands do, and even with an additional charge, this could be a real plus. I think it’s just a matter of taste. Some people insist on a live band and others are just as adamant about a DeeJay.

PHOTOGRAPHER OR VIDEOGRAPHER

Video taping an event, except for historical purposes, is unnecessary. Seldom will the video tape or DVD be watched more than once after the event. Yes, maybe a Bar or Bat Mitzvah will watch his or her recording years later when they grow older, and maybe even a bride and groom would watch a well-edited and condensed recording. A company or organization’s banquet, however, will be seldom if ever watched.

I would recommend that you hire, budget permitting, a professional photographer rather than leaving it up to one of your guests or a friend of a friend who only takes photos twice a year. You can have the photographer deliver prints or a CD of digital photographs in which case you could print just the photos you want.

PROMOTION

Probably the most traumatic thing that could occur is that you planned the entire event and then no one came. If it’s a company party and the food, entertainment, drinks and dancing are all free, I don’t think you will have a problem, as long as you let everybody know when and where and that it’s FREE!

But if that’s not the situation, you may need to promote the event. Once you have all the facts (WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, WHO, and HOW MUCH), you can create a flyer – a piece of paper with all the facts on it, designed to motivate people to attend.

If you’re an artist, great! You can create the flyer yourself. If not, maybe someone in your group is and they can help you. Otherwise, you need to “rough it out” the way you’d want it and take it to a graphic artist to do the “camera-ready copy” for you, then off to a printer to print however many you’re going to need. How many you need will depend on how you’re going to distribute them.

The layout, printing, envelopes and postage all need to go into your budget. There are, of course, additional ways you can promote the event – word of mouth, bulletin boards, phone committee, club or company newsletter, posters. If your event will be open to people outside your organization, you might try using the publicity channels of other related groups, companies, schools, etc., as well as your own. Have a “brainstorming session” with your committee, if you have one, to think of all the ways you can get the word out.

And remember that if you want people to come to your activity, you can’t just tell them. You have to tell them and tell them and tell them! Use all the resources at your disposal, and don’t hesitate to repeat yourself. The more times you tell them, the more will come!

TICKET SALES

There are as many ways to handle this as there are ways to promote the event. If you have to lay out funds ahead of time (which is usually the case), it is good to get as much money as you can up front. Pre selling your tickets will help you do that. Of course, your publicity must state your requirements and deadlines. This also will help you get a handle on how many are going to attend. Remember though, that there will still be some last minute cancellations and additions, so stay flexible.

TABLE ASSIGNMENTS

As mentioned earlier, most organizations assign only the head table, and the rest of the attendees are left to sit where they wish. Some groups insist on drawing pictures of the tables on a sheet of paper, numbering them, and then assigning people to specific tables.

I think it’s far more work than necessary, but if you must, then have at it.
Some banquets, especially those honoring individuals or groups, offer entire tables “for sale.” 10 people per table at $30 each means that for $300 someone could reserve a whole table. Make sure you put a “reserved” sign on that table, showing the name of the host.

THE PRINTED PROGRAM

When all the facts are in, if the budget will permit, a nice printed program could be put at each place setting or handed out as people arrive. It should contain the agenda for the evening and credits given to all those who contributed to the event.

Many organizations have been successful in selling ads in the program to defray the cost of printing or even to raise some extra money. I’ve put $250 income under the income column of our example. Don’t you think you could convince 10 people to give you their business card and pay $25 to be advertised on the back page of the program? Of course, this idea could be a little tacky if the event is to celebrate little Bobbie’s 10th birthday. Use your best judgment.

DECORATIONS

This could be a big item or not – strictly up to you. If you picked a beautiful location, and it’s not a special seasonal event like a Christmas or Halloween party, why not just enjoy the facility’s decor? If you feel you need decorations and you have a sufficient budget, call a party decorator who uses balloons. They go a long way towards dressing up a room without spending a lot of money.

Centerpieces on each table look nice. You can ask someone to donate these or have someone clever make something for each table. Many facilities make such a nice table layout that a centerpiece is not necessary. Don’t spend money unnecessarily, but do remember that the nicer the ambience, the better the memories or the event will be in the minds of those who attend, which means that they will want to come to your next event, too!

One note of caution. If you’re having entertainment, be careful that large
centerpieces, particularly balloons, don’t block the view of the performing area or even the people sitting on the opposite side of the table who want to see and talk to each other.

YOU DID IT!

Yes, you will fret and worry until the whole thing is over, but every party planner does. Just relax, do your best and enjoy! (Here’s a secret: If you enjoy what you’re doing, the people you are doing it for will enjoy it, too!)

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Are Loaded Longboards Right for Me?

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Although the longboard style of skateboarding has been popular for quite some time Loaded longboards are an enticing possibility for riders who have moved beyond the beginner level, and have started to learn about features that are most advantageous for their type of longboard riding.

Types of Loaded Longboards to Consider

The company is based in California and currently has six skateboard models to choose from. Some of the differences between the models include the overall length, and the size of the wheelbase. The boards are also designed with eye-catching patterns so riders can glide in style.

All of the boards are built for high-performance, but some have features that cater to specific types of riding or environments.

For example, some skateboarders prefer to spend most of their time at nearby skate parks. These areas feature large pavement spaces and hills that are perfect for achieving impressive speeds. Another advantage of skate parks is that they allow people to share tips and get encouragement from other riders. The skateboarding community is generally very close-knit and supportive of each other’s efforts. People who want to ride Loaded longboards at a skate park might prefer the Fattail model. It’s perfect for paved areas and parking garages, and also has a large tail to promote quick turning ability.

Alternatively Loaded longboards that focus on the freestyle discipline have shorter wheelbases for extra responsiveness while performing tricks and staying secure through tight turns.

Purchasing Loaded Longboards

Understandably, the cost of longboards is of great concern to many riders, especially if their income is limited. As with most other types of investments, it’s well worthwhile to consider the personal significance of the purchase, and also consider how the enjoyment of the skateboard continues over time, especially as a rider’s skills develop.

Also, keep in mind that the ultimate cost will depend on which Loaded model riders choose, and whether they wish to make their own customizations to the board after buying it.

To aid in the purchasing process of your own Loaded longboards, start by making a list of certain characteristics that are most important. Then, do research to see which model of longboard offers all or most of those features. Whether you’re looking for a commuter board, or a compact deck, Loaded has a model to suit your needs.

If you need help, consider asking your chosen retailer about the most commonly selected model among other riders who also perform your favourite discipline. Although the board types look similar at first, they’re designed with features that excel for certain needs.

Even though a methodical purchasing process takes more time and effort overall, it will help you get a board that’s more fun to ride, and can bring years of satisfaction.

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Inspirational Quotes for the Disheartened Soul

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You sometimes hurdle times where in you feel extremely down that you just want someone to throw you some inspirational quotes. Here are some selection of inspirational quotes and ways to apply it in real life.

1. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That is why we call it the present. – Babatunde Olatunji

Most people, they set their future goals too high that it is almost impossible to reach it at a realistic timeframe. Stop complaining about the past. No matter what you do, time will never rewind itself on that day you made a mistake. So cherish the moment now. Who knows, you may regret the time that you never took a chance to ride that roller coaster when you still can.

2. Do not let what you cannot do stop you from doing what you can do. – John Wooden

This inspirational quote tells us that everyone has a weakness but that does not mean you do not have strength. You must be good at something and that is what you should cultivate.

3. Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. – Confucius

This inspirational quote says that the heart of a champion always pursues his goals. That is why when they reach their aim, they often reap the sweetest glory for the reason that they rose after the fall.

4. To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all. – Oscar Wilde

True indeed, most people are solely on earth for mere extinction. The bible even tells us that we should do things in the name of the Lord. At the start of the day you should say, “I dedicate my work to you, oh Lord.” That way, you do not just exist, you are living. One distinction between living and existing is HAVING A PURPOSE.

5. The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything. – Theodore Roosevelt

Of course, how can you achieve something if you do not act on it? You are a human being, not a thing who does not move or breathe.

6. Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting. – Elizabeth Bibesco

This inspirational quote tells us that when we give or share something, we oftentimes expect something in return. But it is indeed always better to give than to receive. You may not be compensated here on earth, but God will not forget that good deed you just made.

7. If you want to be happy, be. -Leo Tolstoy

Most people wallow in sadness because they choose to. If your lover left you for another person, why mourn over them. There are more than 6 Billion people around the world and one of them can appreciate you even more and will be afraid of losing you. So choose to be happy instead.

8. Never tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon. -Anonymous

This is the real world and as crazy as it is, you are only limited by how far you think you can achieve. So do not stop achieving your dreams.

9. Everything is okay in the end, if it is not ok, then it is not the end. -Anonymous

This is one of the inspirational quotes that tell us not to give up. Challenges are already part of life what you need to do is keep going until everything falls into the right place.

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The Different Types of Modern Ferry

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The simple task of carrying passengers and sometimes cargo across a body of water might not seem that remarkable, but it is something that dates back centuries. There are various writings and published works from ancient times that suggest the profession of a ferryman was a crucial aspect of former cultures and civilisations.

Today, ferryboats remain an essential means of transport all over the world. In several waterside cities and destinations, these vessels form part of the public transport system, providing the means to travel over water without the use of a bridge or tunnel.

What’s more, ferries are also commonplace in larger seas or oceans, connecting countries and even continents. Although the manufacturing and construction of these colossal vessels is staggering, each and every component, no matter how tiny they may be, can be crucial. Therefore, we like to think our range of high quality products, from BSP adaptors to NPT fittings, might come in handy.

But what is the history of the ferry? How many different types of vessel are there? And what are the biggest ferries and busiest routes in the world?

History of the ferry

In Greek mythology, Charon was the ferryman of Hades, who carried newly deceased souls across the rivers Styx and Acheron, which separated the worlds of the living and the dead. You still had to pay a fare to Charon though, usually a coin placed in or on the mouth of a dead person. In the days before steam and diesel, this ferryman’s chosen method of propulsion was a long pole held in his right hand, while receiving the deceased with his left.

In Anonymus De Rebus Bellicis, a piece of 4th century Roman literature, there is speculation that a pair of oxen once propelled a ferry. This principle could theoretically work, especially when you consider Kevin J. Crimson’s booked entitled When Horses Walked on Water: Horse-Powered Ferries in Nineteenth-Century America.

But the first steam-powered ferry was said to be the Juliana, invented by John Stevens. It began operating on 11th October 1811 between New York City and Hoboken, New Jersey. However with the advent of diesel engines in 20th century, steam-powered ferryboats have become a rarity and are reserved for special occasions or tourist routes.

While the majority of modern ferries still use diesel as their primary fuel source, the shipping industry is constantly looking at cleaner alternatives, which won’t damage the environment as much. Studies have found that vessels running on Liquefied Natural Gas are slightly more efficient, while electric and hybrid alternatives have also been developed in recent years.

Types of modern ferry

Despite the fact there are several different types of ferry in operation today, each one usually shares certain characteristics. However, the length of the route, the passenger or vehicle capacity, speed restrictions or requirements and the weather conditions will determine what ferry is used at a particular location.

Double-ended

The front and back of this kind of ferry, known as the prow bow and stern, are interchangeable. Therefore, they can travel back and forth between two ports of call without having to turn around. While this saves a great deal of time, it is sometimes absolutely necessary due to the size and area restrictions of certain terminals.

Famous double-ended vessels include the Staten Island Ferry, Washing State Ferries, Star Ferry and numerous boats on the North Carolina Ferry System and the Lake Champlain Transportation Company. There are also double-ended ferryboats in operation in the Norwegian fjords, British Columbia and Sydney, Australia.

Hydrofoils

Even though hydrofoil ferries might seem like a fairly advanced concept, prototypes date back over 100 years. Essentially, a hydrofoil is a boat that initially floats on the surface, but when velocity is increased the hull lifts out of the water, decreasing drag and allowing for greater speeds. The benefit of this type of vessel is that passengers can be transported quickly while minimising fuel costs. For this reason, they are commonplace on the English Channel and compete against Eurostar trains that use the tunnel.

However, they have their disadvantages too. Due to their technically complex nature, they are expensive to build and require ongoing maintenance. What’s more, a hydrofoil’s sharp edges that reside in the water during operation can also injure or kill marine mammals such as whales.

Hovercrafts

The development of the modern hovercraft is typically attributed to British mechanical engineer Sir Christopher Cockerell. In the 1950s, he developed a seagoing vehicle that used blowers to produce a large volume of air below the hull. The difference in air pressure above and below the hull generates lift and allows a hovercraft to float above the water surface.

Due to their adaptability and cost-effectiveness, they soon became a commercial success, predominantly around the UK and in the English Channel. Before long, hovercrafts were also adopted by the military and even used for recreational purposes.

But just like hydrofoils, they require a great deal of maintenance and can be susceptible to damage from adverse weather conditions. On top of that, hovercrafts are constrained to a given payload and their sea keeping ability is dependent on size.

Catamarans

These ferries feature two parallel hulls of equal size, which are geometry-stabilised. Due to their lightweight nature, thin hulls that reduce drag and no ballasted keel, a catamaran has a shallow draught and can travel at fast speeds. They also heel much less than a monohull, allowing for a more comfortable and efficient ride.

Traditionally, they relied on the wind for power and their sails would spill less than alternatives. But modern-day catamaran ferries combine the features of a motor yacht with the characteristics of a multihull.

Due to their countless advantages, catamarans are the ferry of choice for several high-speed services. They can replicate the speeds of a hydrofoil without suffering the effects of strong waves or foul water.

Roll-on/roll-off

Mainly used to transport wheeled cargo such as automobiles, trucks and trailers, roll-on/roll-off ships have built-in ramps that allow vehicles to effortlessly embark. When the vessel reaches its destination, the cargo can exit the other end just as easily.

In the past, vehicles had to be specially prepared before being hoisted into a ship’s hold, which was a time-consuming and expensive exercise. On top of that, the cargo was subject to damage as well. But in 1849, Thomas Bouch came up with the idea of a train ferry featuring an efficient roll-on, roll-off mechanism to maximise efficiency.

While these were used extensively in World War I, purpose-built landings ships capable of carrying military vehicles were developed for World War II. Today, they are still widely used for passenger and commercial purposes.

Cruiseferry

The combination of a cruise ship and a ‘Ro-Pax ferry’, this kind of vessel is typically used by holidaymakers on seagoing vacations or simply as a means of transportation. They are like a cruise ship in that they have numerous on-board facilities such as restaurants, bars and even entertainment or accommodation. RoPax ferries are those with a large garage intake and substantial passenger capacity.

Cruiseferries are typically found across Europe in the Baltic Sea, North Sea, Irish Sea, English Channel and Mediterranean. However, they also operate between China and Australia.

Pontoon ferry

Not the most advanced or modern vessels in the western world, but pontoon ferries are widely used in less-developed countries. Due to their inexpensive yet versatile nature, pontoon ferries are often used to carry people and vehicles across large rivers or lakes where the cost of a bridge is too expensive.

The most common pontoon ferries borrow design ideas from a catamaran. But instead of featuring two narrow hulls, they usually have pontoons either side of the platform or raft. Ramps will be installed on either side of the vessel to increase the efficiency of passengers and vehicles getting on and off.

Cable ferry

Also known as a chain ferry, swing ferry, floating bridge or punt, this type of vessel is guided and often propelled across the water by cables connected to both shores. Traditionally, rope or steel chains were used, but by the late 19th century, more stronger and durable wire cable became commonplace.

A reaction ferry uses the power of the river to tack across the current whereas a powered ferry has an engine or electric motor to wind itself along. Cogs or drums on-board pull the vessel, but the cables or chains have a fair amount of slack, as they have to sink below the surface and allow the vessel to pass.

Fast-disappearing hand-operated ferries are also still in existence, such as the Stratford-upon-Avon Chain Ferry in the UK and the Saugatuck Chain Ferry in Michigan, USA.

Modern ferry facts and figures

World’s largest car ferry in service – The MS Ulysses, operated by Irish Ferries between Ireland and Wales. Launched in March 2011, this vessel stands 12 decks high, but six are specifically designated for vehicles. In total, the Ulysses can carry 1,342 cars and 240 trucks.

World’s largest passenger ferry in service – The Stena Hollandica and Britannica, operated by Stena Line between the Netherlands and Great Britain. This ship features 1376 beds, 538 cabins, an on-board cinema, lounge, bar, buffet and a la carte restaurants, a sun deck and free Wi-Fi throughout.

World’s fastest car ferry in service – The Luciano Federico L, operated by Buquebus between Montevideo, Uruguay and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Capable of a maximum speed achieved in sea trials of 60.2 knots, it holds a Guinness World Record. The boat can also carry 450 passengers and 52 cars along this 110-nautical mile route.

Oldest ferry service in continuous operation – The Mersey Ferry between Liverpool and Birkenhead or the Rocky Hill to Glastonbury Ferry. This is a contentious record, as a couple of different ferries claim to be the oldest service still operating today. In 1150, monks from the Benedictine Priory in Birkenhead used to charge a small fee to row passengers across the Mersey Estuary. However, there may have been a break in service following the dissolution of the monasteries. The ferry between Rocky Hill and Glastonbury, Connecticut, which has been running ever since 1655, only stops operating when the winter freezes over in winter.

World’s largest ferry system – On Scotland’s west coast, Caledonian MacBrayne operate a fleet of 29 vessels, which call at 50 different ports. Elsewhere is the world, BC Ferries in British Columbia have 36 ships that visit 47 terminals, while Washington State Ferries own 28 boats, which go to 20 destinations around Puget Sound.

Even though jumbo jets and high-speed trains have replaced ferryboat routes in some areas, they remain an incredibly important and crucial means of transportation for millions of people worldwide. The most modern vessels are also incredibly quick, very efficient and can transport scores of passengers in comfort and style.

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