Putting A Car On A Boat Makes Me Supremely Uneasy

Image credits: Kristen Lee
Image credits: Kristen Lee

“But putting your car on a ferry is so fun!” some say to me. “It’s so novel and thrilling!” others exclaim. Both of those statements are false. For me, cars on boats are a dreaded combination and preferable if avoided at all costs.


Yesterday, Komo News reported a story of some BMWs stalling on ferries and needed to be towed. I’m not the only one who freezes up at the thought of getting aboard a car ferry. Apparently,

As the cars sat parked and locked as the ferries traversed Puget Sound, the motion triggered a security feature that made the car believe it was being stolen.

It shut down the car’s systems and made them unable to be driven off the dock.

Putting the poor cars on ferries terrified them so much they thought they were being stolen!


I visited Martha’s Vineyard once and the only way to get there was by ferry. So, I unhappily loaded my car onto the ferry and sat stonily in the driver’s seat, alert. I’d put my parking brake on just in case, but not everyone else did. We were packed in pretty tightly.

The other cars rocked and swayed with the boat’s motion. Salty sea spray washed over the sides of the boat and landed on the clearcoat. I winced. Beneath me, I imagined the yawning and black watery abyss that awaited me if the ferry were to capsize somehow. At least, I thought, this ferry is large.

Illustration for article titled Putting A Car On A Boat Makes Me Supremely Uneasy

Later on in the week, though, we boarded another ferry, if you could call it that, to get to a smaller island. This ferry was nothing more than some planks lashed together with enough room for three cars. It displeased me greatly. There was nothing preventing the cars from falling into the water except for the force of friction.


I don’t understand the thrill of putting a car on a boat. A car is the last thing you’d want falling into the water. A car is an expensive piece of property that would be absolutely Fucked if it fell into a body of water. It’s not like you can fish it back out and plunge it into a bag of rice and hope for the best.

Cars belong on the land and boats in the sea. Cars were designed to be on the land. I’ll accept the argument that you sometimes need a ship to transport a car somewhere, but that should be it. That’s your one-time ticket. Once the car is there, it’s committed to that land.



Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.

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