A British Sealink ferry carries both walk-on passengers and cars. Ferries are usually used for coastal or short-distance transportation.
Ferries are often used in cities with rivers, lakes, or other bodies of water that pose obstacles to transportation. Ferry technology includes ferryboats and, to a lesser extent, hovercraft and hydrofoils. Ferryboats are used to carry people, and often motor vehicles, over short distances. Sizes vary from small boats that can hold a few passengers to large vessels that can carry as many as 200 automobiles and 2,500 passengers. A hovercraft rides on a cushion of air created by air pressure underneath a specially designed skirt (see Air-Cushion Vehicle). Large hovercraft are popular for crossing the English Channel between France and England. Hydrofoils are large boats with submerged fins or foils. As the speed of a hydrofoil increases, its hull rises out of the water and the boat rides on the foils. Because less of the vessel is in the water, resulting in less resistance to the motion of the hydrofoil, it can reach much higher speeds than a regular boat.