A look at some facts and history about the Staten Island Ferry (search):

-- The ferries are about 300 feet long and can carry 6,000 passengers.

-- They shuttle about 70,000 people a day between Staten Island and Manhattan (search) -- a 5.2-mile trip that normally last about 25 minutes.

-- People began crossing between the two boroughs in 1713; steamboat service started in 1817.

-- New York City (search) maintains a fleet of seven vessels that make more than 33,000 trips every year.

-- The ferry has been free since July 4, 1997. The trips cost five cents for a good part of the 1900s, but had risen to 50 cents by 1990.

-- The ship that crashed Wednesday, the Andrew J. Barberi, was commissioned in 1981, named for a high school football coach.