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The Sistersville Ferry returns

With her previous captain back at the helm, a ferry service returns to the Ohio River
The Sistersville Ferry makes its way across the Ohio River from Sistersville, W.Va. to Fly, Ohio.
The Sistersville Ferry makes its way across the Ohio River from Sistersville, W.Va. to Fly, Ohio.(Zach Shrivers)
Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 6:19 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va (WTAP) - After a summer without a ferry service, the Sistersville community welcomed Captain Bo Hause and his deckhand back to the riverfront again on Thursday.

Officials say the ferry has crossed the Ohio River between Tyler County, West Virginia and Monroe County, Ohio for more than two hundred years. However, the ferry service stopped in September of 2018, when its latest pilot, Captain Hause, left to find steadier work.

“When Bo alerted us that he wouldn’t be available to pilot last year, we did a regional, almost national search to try and find a pilot that would fill in and take over as captain of the boat and it was unsuccessful. Part of the problem was the seasonal nature of the work, we can’t really compete with what fellas can make with his credentials on long haul tow boats. We were unable to open last year because of that,” said Eric Peters, Executive Director of the Tyler County Development Authority.

Peters says the ferry board and the City of Sistersville worked to find Hause full-time work in the off-season. Now he’s back at the helm for his eighth year as the vessel’s captain. After another delay created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ferry began carrying people across the river again on Thursday. Despite being away from the ferry for more than a year, Hause is no stranger to anyone.

“It feels good [to be back]. I enjoy it. I like driving, I like being on the river,” said Hause. “The majority of these people I’ve met before. I’m bad with names, I don’t remember everyone’s name, but everybody is an acquaintance.”

Most of the ferry’s customers were glad to see the vessel operating again as it is a big time saver for drivers. It can take around 40 extra minutes to reach the other side without the ferry.

“It’s a very good thing to have the ferry back open. It helps people out a lot if they are running behind and to get to work and so on, if they have busy days,” said Brandon Cochran, one of the ferry’s passengers.

“We weren’t able to get a bridge here because they put one in St. Marys,” said Sue Hause, Captain Hause’s wife. “This has been the main transportation across this river.”

Not everyone takes the ferry to get somewhere though, some are just along for the ride. It’s only a dollar to walk on and some of the locals like to take their kids for fun.

“If a person wanted to, they could hangout for a couple hours, they could pay a dollar and ride the ferry back and forth across the river all day long,” said Hause. “My grandkids will do it sometimes.”

Hause says the prices one way, per vehicle, are $5 per car, $4 per motorcycle, $1 for walkers and bicyclists, and $3 per axle on utility trailers. The ferry runs from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday and runs 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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