Kings Point Ferry could be reopened soon

Published 7:59 pm Tuesday, February 20, 2018

County officials are hopeful the Kings Point Ferry will be back in service soon.

During their Monday regular meeting, county road manager Larry Flowers told the Warren County Board of Supervisors engine repairs are nearly complete to the ferry and new pilots could be hired this week.

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The ferry is the only public access to the Kings Point area since construction of the Yazoo Diversion Canal in 1903 cut it off from the mainland of Warren County. Kings Point is an island made up mostly of hunting camps and timber farming. The ferry runs daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. carrying hunters and workers across the canal. Its busiest periods are deer and turkey seasons, and the peak fishing time.

Rising water from the Yazoo River has caused some concern to speed up the process.

“We are talking to three pilots this week and we hope to be back to normal soon,” Flowers told the board.

He said the repairs to the engine should be completed by the weekend and then “be able to remove equipment off the island. The fact the water is coming up, I’m quite sure the Chickasaw will go under water.”

The county needs new pilots after one pilot quit recently and another is deceased. Two contract pilots also are no longer working for the county because they have regular pilot jobs.

Flowers, whose department is over the ferry, told the supervisors last week, “We’re at the point right now where we don’t have a choice but to shut the ferry down once we get everyone off the island.”

During the down time, road department employees have overhauled the ferry’s engine.

The Board of Supervisors in June paid more than about $200,000 for major repairs to the ferry, including work on the push boat engine assemblies, gearbox engine assemblies, propeller assemblies, and repairs to its bumpers, handrails, ramps, repairing a wheelhouse leak around the searchlight and repairing the horn on the wheelhouse

The present boat for the ferry was purchased for about $600,000 in June 2005. The ferry was damaged in February 2006 when a ramp on the ferry broke away and sank in the canal when the vessel pulled away from Kings Point Island after dropping off a vehicle.