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It has been proposed that ferries are somehow categorized according to their importance, so that only major routes show up in lower zoom levels. I am not sure this is needed, as I could imagine that non-car ferries or short ferry routes could automatically be suppressed by a renderer, but it should still be discussed. --spaetz 08:30, 3 May 2007 (BST)

Potential criteria for categorization could be: a subjective importance=1..5, boats/day, passengers/day, international traffic, … whatever.

Categorys are necessary! There are also small ferrys in small lakes and crossing a river...
We have also ferrys onli for passengers, for cars, for trucks, for trains.
We also have old spice-sailingroutes, best sailingroutes around the world, discovery routes, modern oiltanker routes, container-ship routes, etc.
We have also regatta-tracks like Americas-cup... --Markus 16:11, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
How about a tag like shedule=*. Possible values:
  • "continous" for no stop, back and forth. Nice in combination with duration=*
  • "signal" to operate some signal to hail the ferry when required.
  • "timetable". url=* to timetable.
  • etc.

Ferry Crossing Duration

For routing applications it would be helpful to know some information about either the speed of the ferry, or how long the ferry takes. A brief discussion on the mailing list indicated that simply knowing how long the ferry took was adequate.

I would propose therefore that duration=time_in_minutes be added to ferry routes (eg duration=30). Comments welcome. Dmgroom 23:38, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

Sounds very good. I agree. Gorm 12:58, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Boarding Time

Duration should always be added to the ferry, the question came up (note 617171) if or if not the boarding time shall be added to the duration and if, the ones for cars or passengers. With the data being usually used for direction, I strongly recommend to always and require to add ferry times including the boarding time. It seems that ferries without duration are not calculated, such I recommend to change "highly recommended" to "required". OSM ccom (talk) 12:11, 23 November 2016 (UTC)

Connection Interval

What good is a ferry that takes only 2 minutes, if it goes once a day? We definately need something to describe how often the ferry goes. Problem ist: some go once a day, others all ten minutes during rushour but less the other times of the day. Suggestions welcome!

How about a tag like interval=time_between_departures_in_minutes or alternatively departures=number_of_departures_per_day. Example: interval=30 duration=5
time_on=* and time_off=* might also be useful.

Ferry or boat? What is transported?

What exactly is a Ferry? A boat that goes regularly from one marina to another? Is a Ferry with a middle station still a ferry? And with more stations? And if its purpose is not arriving, but travelling? In Switzerland, we call this "Kursschiff", it is only for passengers, and its main purpose is enjoying the view and ride, maybe have a good meal. Not even bicycles are transported! Either we create a new "route=ship", or we introduce a tag to specify, what can be transported. Maybe we could use the motorcar/foot/bicycle/...=yes/no tags?

Sure, access tags are already used on ferries to enable routing. --Lulu-Ann 14:41, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
So you add motorcar/motorbike/...=yes/no to the relation or to the way? --RalpH himself 21:48, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
To the way. Try out [:] on ferries from time to time. It does not work now, but I guess it's planned. --Lulu-Ann 08:11, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

Ferry stops

I am missing a link to ferry stops.

I just add the stop points to the route, and set role=stop (as with busses, trains etc.) RalpH himself 16:59, 21 March 2009 (UTC)
It shouldn't be stop, it should be stop_<number> (see Relation:route). So you know the order of stops. -- Skunk 17:55, 21 March 2009 (UTC)
If the stops are nodes of the way (and not next to it like the bus stops), it is obvious in which order the stops are - especially if there are only two of them. (Same argunemtation why numbering of stops is obsolete as with trains btw.) RalpH himself 15:08, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
With the new API 0.6 the numbering of stops is not needed any more as the relation can be ordered. See also: stop_area --Lulu-Ann 14:12, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

route=ferry + route=road?

Some places, at least in Norway, the ferries are part of the road network, a valid question is then, should the ferry route be imported into the road route? --Skippern 18:17, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

I guess the answer is simple: If the ferry is a part of the named, official route then add it. Else the route would be incorrect. --MarcusWolschon 06:33, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

Type of ferry

Just type=* ?

Excellent question!
why restricting only to ferries and not defining a Tag:route=boat ? There exists routes inaccessible to ferries (or not used by them) that are still required for many types of boats (tankers, fishing boats, leisure boats) and sometimes as well mandatory to cross through a protected zone, or marked on maritime maps because they are the only safe way to pass some areas notably within straights. Other routes wmay be dangerous because there will be invisible cables, or sandbanks below the water that are not visible and that could damage the boats (incluing leisure boats).
For this reason, this tag should be generalized as route=boat (and not "maritime" because it should also include rivers, canals, straights entering a bay or in a ria which is a river valley but filled essentially with sea waters). Then we would use access=* for defining the restrictions.
The type of ferry is not very relevant for a route, except for a specific commercial line (but there may be multiple maritime lines using the same route), where as the route exists often for legal reasons and applies to various types of boats or transportation systems or activities)
What I need here is a tag that is similar to what streets/roads/highways are to land routes for transportation lines. May be "boatway=*" ? This type of way would then allow building transportation lines using route=* relations. Note that most canals are already boatways unless they are restricted by boat=no; rivers are also boatways by default, and streams are normally not. Seas and lakes are boatways in general throughout their surface, except in some protected areas where "boatways" will be needed. — Verdy_p (talk) 13:18, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
I don't sail, but there's seamark:type=recommended_track. From what I've encountered, route=ferry ways mostly are "for a specific commercial line"; indeed, several of them might pass a strait following the only safe route, but the part through the strait is a different feature. For the service a map user is seeking - to get from a shore to the other - the type is somewhat relevant, even if the routes were consistently tagged with suitable access tags; that is, which ferries can take hgv's onboard, which are foot only, or can you bring a bike, too. Alv (talk) 22:13, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Motor Vehicles - Inheritance?

Does the tag motor_vehicle=yes automatically include i.e. motor_car, motorcycle, hgv? Or is it necessary to enter each individually? I've seen ferries with only motor_vehicle, with all or parts of them, I just added "motorcycle" as a type to the list. A clear note in the article may be helpful to avoid incorrect assumption either way. OSM ccom (talk) 21:47, 10 June 2017 (UTC)

Yes, Key:motor_vehicle=yes includes all types of motor_vehicles, including motorcycle. This means you don't have to state each type individually. --Hjart (talk) 07:44, 11 August 2017 (UTC)


For small ferries, it can often be usefull to state their capacity (the number of cars/passengers it can (legally) hold). What would be the best way to do this? Also for some of the same small ferries it's recommended to always call them ahead of time to make reservations. How to indicate this? --Hjart (talk) 07:56, 11 August 2017 (UTC)