Every summer you can count on a handful of things on Chautauqua Lake, good fishing, boating and the Bemus Point - Stow Ferry. A ferry has crossed the thousand foot straight, every year, for more than 200 years.
“It's been here forever, and that's the way across the lake unless you went all the way around either end,” said Martha Anderson, a volunteer that helps run the ferry.
The boat, which can carry up to nine cars at a time, has lost some importance over the decades.
“It was a meaningful part of people's lives until 1982 when the bridge went in,” said Gifford Lawrence, also a volunteer with the ferry.
The current ferry was built in the 1920's and is up for its 10 year inspection.
“Right now, we're dead in the water,” said Anderson.
The boat needs a lot of work.
“We're disappointed that we're not able to start on Memorial Day,” said Lawrence.
The ferry is solely run by volunteers and operates on donations.
“We have been told by some people that it's going to take a lot more money than we have,” said Anderson. “We're looking for any help that we can get from organizations and in people that are willing to help.”
The boat will be inspected by the state at the end of the month. That's when they'll have a better idea of how much it's going to cost. They'll also know when or if they'll start making the journey back and forth between Stowe and Bemus Point again.
“I'm confident that we'll be running sometime this summer,” said Lawrence.