Category Archives: Steamship

Nantucket Tourism and the Economy

Steamship Authority passenger traffic between Hyannis and Nantucket for 2009 through July 31 was down 0.4% from last year (Fast ferry was up 0.9%; regular ferry down 1.2%). Auto traffic was down 4.1%, trucks were down 16.8%. (Thanks for Flint Ranney for these figures.)

Enplanements (number of ticketed passengers departing Nantucket Memorial Airport reported by tenant airlines) through July, 2009 are down 24.8% from the same period in 2008. That’s about 37,000 fewer enplanements this year.

Total operations (either a takeoff or a landing) for the period January – July, 2009, are 13.7% below the same period in 2008 – 11,305 fewer operations.

Some trends I’ve been picking up over the past few weeks. This is not a scientific poll, but anecdotal.

Visitors to the island this year are making their plans on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before the weekend they plan to visit, instead of weeks in advance. Our guest houses are not full during the week, even in some weeks of high summer. Visitors are looking for the deal, and looking to bargain.

There seems to be as many weekend private jets here as there have been for the past few years, if not more. There have been more pilots looking for rooms at the last minute than in years past.

The number of visitors to the island in June and July were down about 20% to 30%. August for at least the first few weeks seemed as busy as usual – restaurants may have done as much business as they did last August, but that hasn’t made up for a slow June and July.

Weddings were down this spring, and will be again this fall. However, weddings for 2010 are looking strong again.


Nantucket Economy

On August 1, the state sales tax and meals tax will increase from 5% to 6.25%.

Following are the traffic statistics for the Steamship Authority between Hyannis and Nantucket for 2009 through June 30 compared to the first six months of 2008. Thank you Flint Ranney for providing these numbers.


Fast Ferry, 51,869, down 0.3% (returned to route April 16)

Regular ferry, 109,469, down 3.9%

Total passengers, 161,338, down 2.8%


Regular, 7,132 down 9.3%

Excursion, 12,206, down 1.6%

Total autos, 24,788, down 5.7%

Trucks: 19,456, down 16.9%

Martha’s Vineyard comparisons:

Passengers, 827,790 down 3.5%

Autos, 158,138, down 1.6%

Trucks, 47,867, down 5.1%

Total overall SSA traffic is down 8.8% to date in 2009.

Nantucket Ferry and Air Passengers

Here are the latest Nantucket travel statistics from the Steamship and airport. The season is clearly off to a slow start.

According to an article today from Bloomberg News, after interviewing island realtors, Nantucket weekly summer rental prices are down 20%, and the number of homes rented is down 20% to 30%. There are estimated to be about 2000 homes that are rented out to vacationers each year. Ferry reservations are down almost 14% so far this year. The full article.

Nantucket News 4/21/07

Overfishing of sharks may endanger bay scallops, researchers reported in “Science” journal. Sharks eat skates and rays, which eat bay scallops. Fewer sharks and more skates and rays equals fewer scallops. Fewer scallops means fewer scallop seeds, and the result could be a significant cause of the decline of the industry. However, the Associated Press reports that the director of scientific programs at the National Marine Fisheries Service said that “links between the large sharks, medium size rays and bay scallops were ‘tenuous,'” and that other factors also need to be considered. (Thanks to Zelda for her post on YACK for this tip.)

The Washington State legislature is considering a bill that would make it a crime to cut into the line of cars waiting for a ferry.

Delta Airlines will join JetBlue in providing service between Nantucket and JFK airport beginning in June.

Country Village Real Estate reports that “there are currently 447 properties on the market, with 46 under contract (approximately 9%). All the properties under agreement are under $4,000,000, except for one, the “East Brick” which has an asking price of $11,850,00. The most expensive house in Sconset is now 27 Main Street with a list price of $6,500,000.”

The total value of Nantucket property is now $20.38 billion, 4th highest in the state behind Boston, Cambridge and Newton. The average tax bill for Nantucket is $2569, 32% less than the $3801 average bill for the state.(Source: Nantucket Inquirer & Mirror, 4/12/07)

Nantucket’s New Fast Ferry

We have a new fast ferry. The christening of the Iyanough took place here last Saturday. Rev. Georgia Snell harked back to christening ceremonies of times past, ceremonies involving sacrificial virgins, urine, and other arcane rituals. Attempting to prevent a round of negative nicknames for the Iyanough, Nantucket SSA rep Flint Ranney said what the boat should NOT be called: “I don’t know, I don’t want to go, I won’t go”. Someone will no doubt come up with something Flint hadn’t thought of. The boat was officially christened by Libby Gison, Town Administrator, and Susan O’Brien, wife of the Barnstable rep. Former Nantucket Selectman Arthur Desrocher was there, as was State Representative Eric Turkington.

The 154 foot, $9 million dollar Iyanough has four engines, compared to the two-engine Flying Cloud. It has 347 seats on 2 decks, with 46 exterior seats, with free wireless internet. Those who came over on the ferrry said it was faster, quieter, and with less vibration.

For many more photos, go to Mahon About Town.

This Week on Nantucket

The retrospective exhibit of works by Nantucket women artists from 1910 to 1960, First Ladies of Nantucket, will close on Sunday, March 25th. There will be a closing reception for the show on Friday (23rd) from 5 to 7, at the Artists Association of Nantucket Gallery, 19 Washington Street. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of a closing party for an art exhibition on Nantucket before this one. It may start a new thing – twice as many parties. I’ll need an assistant.

We won’t have the Flying Cloud to kick around anymore. Get a look at a fast ferry that was built to work. The commisioning ceremony for the MV Iyanough begins at 11 am on Saturday (24th) down there at the SSA dock, followed by an open house until 2. Scheduled service begins on March 28.

Godspell opens this Friday night at the High School, the 70’s rock musical about the life of Christ. A collaboration of the Nantucket High School Music Department and the Theatre Workshop, the performance is directed by Gordon McGregor, with musical direction by Robert Behrman. Showtimes at the High School auditorium are Friday and Saturday night at 7:30, and Sunday afternoon at 2.

Over the past few years, a new rite of spring has established itself here on Nantucket, one in which grown men don women’s heels, dresses and plumage to strut through a hooting and hollering, though more appropriately dressed, crowd of imbibers at the A.C. What for? To fund a 2 week humanitarian trip to Guatamala for Nantucket students. Here’s the lineup: Paul Bixby, Chris Carnivale, Richard Diamond, Don Pronk, Patrick Moran, James Lydon, Michael DeHeart, Greg Bourbeau, Micket Beamish, Chris Morris, and Bruce Yancy. Oh yeah, and Dan Sabuda. It’s hardly a contest with Dan in it -he’s been rehearsing for this part for a decade or more. Ms. Mantucket rocks the house (Atlantic Cafe) on Monday the 26th, 6 to 10. $75 gets you in and gets someone to Central America.

Nantucket News

The Muse is on the market for $7 million, which includes the business, 3/4 of an acre, a 7 bedroom house, a three bedroom duplex, and the club with a capacity of about 350. If you buy it, you can hire me to turn it into a sophisticated night club for adults.

The new fast boat MV Iyanough commissioning ceremony will begin at Steamboat Wharf, Nantucket, at 11:00am, Saturday, March 24. Following the ceremony will be an open house until 2:00 pm. Everyone is invited.

Nantucket News

Just the other day, someone was ranting to me about the price of round trip flights to New York. Just one day later, JetBlue announced that they will begin daily seasonal jet service from JFK from May 24 to September 24. One flight a day for that period (JFK to ACK: 5:30 pm, ACK to JFK: 7:30 pm), with second flights on Friday nights, Saturday mornings, and Monday mornings during July and August. Tickets are $49 if booked by March 7 for trips before June 20. JetBlue will also code sharing with Cape Air through Boston beginning March 19, with lower book through prices (estimated up to $80) and easier reservations.

The Steamship Authority new 393 passenger, high-speed ferry Iyanough has been delivered. The all-aluminum catamaran is 154 feet long and 39-feet abeam, and features an “S-Bow” hull shape to provide additional reserve buoyancy during very large seas. The vessel’s top speed, in moderate sea conditions, is 38 knots when fully loaded. Open house celebration on Nantucket on March 24, and service begins March 28.

The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe has won recognition as a sovereign Native American tribe. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the tribe could buy land and build casinos within a 50 mile radius. That includes us.

Nantucket News

Flint Ranney has sent along this photo of the new SSA fast ferry Iyanough on trial runs rounding Brant Point.

Stubby’s at 8 Broad Street will be open on Christmas day from 6:30 am – about 8-10 pm with coffee, hot chocolate, tea, and pastries, as well as the regular take out menu.