Casco Bay Lines

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Casco Bay Lines (emblem).png

Casco Bay Lines (also known as the Casco Bay Island Transit District, CBITD) is a publicly run transportation company that services the residents of the islands of Casco Bay. These islands include Peaks Island, Little Diamond Island, Great Diamond Island, Diamond Cove, Long Island, Chebeague Island and Cliff Island.

The company has a fleet of five vessels. Schedules to the islands vary seasonally. During the summer months, many more ferry trips go back and forth to the islands, while there are significantly fewer trips during the winter.


The Casco Bay Lines ferry Maquoit II, passing Peaks Island on the mail boat run down the bay.

The Casco Bay Steamboat Company began providing permanent year-round service to Casco Bay Islands in 1878. In 1881 the Harpswell Line began providing regular service to the outer bay islands. The lines merged in 1907 as the Casco Bay and Harpswell Steamboat Company. The company shut down in July 1919 as a direct result of World War I. A smaller company named Casco Bay Lines was formed that winter.[1]

CBITD is a non-profit organization that was established through emergency State legislation in 1981. CBITD acquired CBL assets through bankruptcy proceedings to ensure the continuation of transportation service between their primary terminal hub in Portland, Maine and the islands of Casco Bay. CBITD is governed by a board of 12 directors, 10 of whom are elected from the island communities. One is appointed by the City of Portland; another is appointed by the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Transportation.

Many workers from the island communities depend on CBITD to get them to work every day and to take them home. All school children who live on the islands have to use CBITD service to get back and forth to school (this applies to 6th grade and up.) There is a car ferry that services Peaks Island and a freight ferry that services all of the "down bay" islands (Long Island, Chebeague Island, and Cliff Island.)

The signature color patterns of the Casco Bay Lines fleet is (from bottom up): black, yellow, white, and red. Casco Bay Lines was once located at Custom House Wharf but was moved in the 1980s to its current location on the Maine State Pier. When the company was first established it used steamboats to transport its cargo. Some of the more famous steamboats included the Aucocisco, Maquoit, and Machigonne. Its first ferry was the Abenaki, which operated on Casco Bay for nearly five decades.

The Portland Ferry terminal received a substantial renovation and addition in 2014 designed by Scott Simons Architects.[1]


One of the newer ferries in the Casco Bay Lines fleet, the Aucocisco III, which replaced the Island Holiday in 2006.
Casco Bay Lines Island Romance ferry docked in Portland
  • Aucocisco III
  • Maquoit II
  • Machigonne II
  • Bay Mist
  • Wabanaki (Christened February 2014 and entered service shortly thereafter)

Retired Vessels[edit]

  • Machigonne
  • Maquoit
  • Quickwater
  • Abenaki (now a charter boat on the Hudson River in New York City named Half Moon)
  • Aucocisco
  • Aucocisco II (built by Blount Marine in 1953 Hull#11)
  • Emita II (sold first as a canal boat on the Erie Canal and again sold in 2018 to Harbor Country Adventures in New Buffalo, MI)
  • Sunshine
  • Gurnet
  • Berkley
  • Island Adventure
  • Island Romance (sold in late 2014 to El Dorado Cruise LLC, Staten Island, NY)
  • Rebel
  • Island Holiday (sold on 11/15/06 to Chattanooga Water Taxi, LLC; renamed Fat Cat)
  • Narmarda
  • Admiral
  • Tourist
  • Sabino (now a tour boat at Mystic Seaport in Mystic, CT)
  • Emita
  • Joan
  • Edward B.
  • Sebascodegan
  • Pilgrim
  • Nellie G. III


The Casco Bay Lines Ferry Terminal is located in Portland, Maine on the Maine State Pier. It was originally constructed in the 1980s. In the summer of 2014, a major renovation and addition designed by Scott Simons Architects opened to the public---effectively doubling the size of the original building.[2][3] The new terminal received an Honorable Mention at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) New England Design 2014 Design Awards and an AIA Maine Honor Award in 2016.[4][5][6]


  1. ^ Koenig, Seth (4 September 2013). "Bangor Daily News". Portland Celebrates Project Size of Ferry Terminal. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  2. ^ Delage, Sarah (7 August 2014). "WCSH6". Casco Bay Lines cuts ribbon for renovated terminal. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  3. ^ Koenig, Seth (4 September 2013). "Bangor Daily News". Portland celebrates project doubling size of ferry terminal. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  4. ^ "2014 Design Awards". AIA New England. 2014. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  5. ^ "Winning Entries | AIA Maine". AIA Maine. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
  6. ^ "Casco Bay Ferry Terminal Addition and Renovation | AIA Maine". AIA Maine. Retrieved 2016-05-16.

External links[edit]