Want to get from Martha's Vineyard to the mainland in less than half an hour? Take the Quickwater, which makes the trip from Oak Bluffs to Falmouth in about 23 minutes, several times a day, except Sundays — year-round.
For a video glimpse of what it's like to make the passage, please see A Trip to Falmouth Aboard the Quickwater.
Owned and operated by Patriot Party Boats of Falmouth, the 48-foot Quickwater is a converted oil rig crew boat from New Orleans, according to a 2007 article by Tom Flynn in Martha's Vineyard Magazine.
Read "The Little Boat That Could."
Its chief business is freight: the Quickwater hauls newspapers and magazines, truck tires, car parts and other cargo between the mainland and the Vineyard.
But the vessel is also licensed to carry passengers and can accommodate up to 40, according to a notice in the cabin.
A trip on this rugged little ferry is far different from your usual, smooth Steamship Authority ride. There is no snack bar and the cargo is carried on deck, where things can get wet when the wind and sea are up.
An enclosed cabin offers passengers shelter from the elements.
The boat loads and unloads next to the Island Queen berth on Oak Bluffs Harbor. In Falmouth, Quickwater comes and goes from the Clam Shack dock at 227 Clinton St. near the entrance to Falmouth Harbor. Depending on the volume of freight on any particular run, the boat may depart up to half an hour late.
On the Falmouth side, a free shuttle drops passengers off at shopping hotspots like Walmart and the Christmas Tree Shops, then returns to bring them back to the dock.
Passenger tickets are a flat $12 each way. A 10 ride ticket book costs $90 in advance. Bicycles are carried free with their riders' paid passage.
Find out more at patriotpartyboats.com or call 508-548-2626 for schedule information.
Have you taken the Quickwater? How do you like the service? Tell us in the comments.
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