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Ferries have long provided travelers with easy transit between coastal locations. They have also served along the American and Canadian border for years as an excellent way to transit between the two countries’ coastal cities. One such ferry is The CAT which has serviced cities in Maine and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, for years.

Recent years have brought constant challenges to the ferry as it has sat anchored at its dock in Yarmouth. First, the end of its lease with Portsmouth cost it a season, then the COVID-19 cost it two more seasons, as it did for much of the travel industry. However, with travel restrictions being rolled back in both the US and Canada, The CAT is making a comeback, and travelers looking easily journey between Nova Scotia and Maine will once again be able to do so.

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2022 Welcomes The CAT Ferry Back To Nova Scotia

As of the Spring of 2022, the Cat has returned to servicing Nova Scotia. After an absence of several years, the Cat has returned to its route running between Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and Bar Harbor, Maine.

The high-speed ferry was last active along this route in 2018. At that time, it ran from Nova Scotia to Portland, Maine. The return of the ferry means a revitalization in tourism in Nova Scotia, with the return of easy access. Tourism is a major industry in Yarmouth, second only to their fishery, so the local industries have been happy to see the ferry’s return.

The Nova Scotia government has made sure to honor its 5-year lease with Bay Ferries, and Bay Ferries made sure that the Cat would be ready to run the moment it could.

Related: Nova Scotia Vs. New Brunswick: Which Is Worth It?

Why Was The CAT Closed For Three Seasons?

For the past few years, the CAT has been plagued by challenges over that past few years that have prevented it from opening. The 2019 season had to be canceled after the port call in Maine was switched from Portland to Bar Harbor. Bar Harbor wasn’t yet ready to receive the ferry at that time. 2019 was followed by 2020 and the onset of border restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It wasn’t until this year, 2022, that border restrictions began to be loosened, and with Bar Harbor having plenty of time to prepare for the Ferry, the Cat was finally able to return to service.

The constant ferry closure over the past years has been felt by the community, and its reopening doesn’t just revitalize the economy of Yarmouth but all of Nova Scotia.

What To Know About The CAT

The CAT ran for 12 seasons before 2018. During this time, it brought 1.7 million travelers from Maine in the US to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in Canada. This isn’t the first time The CAT has made a comeback, though. Its story starts in 1998 as a replacement for a decommissioned ferry passage between Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and Bar Harbor, Maine.

The first interaction of The CAT was the HSC INCAT 046. It was an ultra-fast Australian-built catamaran that ferried passengers between Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and Bar Harbour, Maine. The second version was the INCAT 059, which replaced the old model in 2006 as service was extended in the Gulf of Maine to include routes between Portland and Bar Harbor as well as Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

Unfortunately, ferry services were suspended in 2009 until The CAT came under new ownership in 2016. Until the end of the 2018 season, The Cat ran between Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and Portland, Maine.

The current iteration of The CAT is a former Hawaiian super ferry. It gets to keep its title as The Cat, but it is a chartered ship from the US Navy operated by Bay Ferries.

The return of The Cat also comes with a return to its classic route. It will be running between Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and Bar Harbor, Maine, as it did when it first came into service.

Related: Nova Scotia To Ontario: Guide To This Three-Day Road Trip

How to Ride On The CAT

Running its route from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, to Bar Harbor daily until the end of its season, scheduling a ride on The CAT is as easy as visiting its website to check out its schedule. The CAT departs from Yarmouth at 9:30 am and then departs from Bar Harbor at 3:00 pm for its return journey to Yarmouth.

  • Contact - 1-877-762-7245
  • Duration - 3.5 hours
  • Adult (14-59 years) - $115 (1-way), $210 (round-trip)
  • Youth (7-13 years) - $70 (1-way), $125 (round-trip)
  • Child (0-6 years) - FREE
  • Senior (60+ years) - $110 (1-way), $200 (round-trip)
  • Special Offers

Did You Know?

  • Length - 106 meters (349 feet)
  • Installed Power - Four MTU-8000 diesel engines
  • Top Speed - 43 knots or 51 miles per hour
  • Propulsion - Four Rolls Royce KaMeWa 125 MkII water jets
  • Capacity - 866 passengers and 200 cars
  • Fun Facts - The CAT aided in two high sea rescues of Maine lobstermen in 2016