Better Streets Miami Beach

Poseidon Ferry Launches Between Miami Beach and Miami: What To Know


The third incarnation of the Poseidon Ferry, connecting Miami Beach and Miami, launched on a rainy Sunday, June 30, 2024. We were on board the maiden voyage alongside two other passengers and four crew members, under dark storm clouds. As we departed from Miami Beach’s Sunset Harbor, the weather rapidly changed across the three miles of Biscayne Bay, with the Miami skyline vanishing from view.

Fortunately, both levels of the 149-person vessel are covered. The lower level is completely shielded from the elements, featuring windows and air-conditioning.

After a smooth and brief 18-minute ride, we arrived at Miami’s Sea Isle Marina, just south of Margaret Pace Park, at 17th Street and Miami’s Biscayne Bay Baywalk.

This new route is a direct shot across the bay, unlike the previous ferry route that connected South Beach to the Knight Center on the Miami River. The docking procedures are much simpler, allowing for a quicker turnaround. After a quick tie-up, we departed on schedule at 8:00 AM without picking up any new passengers and returned to Miami Beach.

The ferry operates close to the northern tip of the Venetian Islands, offering views of both old and new architecture of the houses on the water. It also travels within no-wake zones, contributing to a relaxed and smooth ride.

Multimodal Connectivity

Miami Beach: The ferry serves as the “trunk” service between the two cities. It’s expected that riders will take advantage of the transportation options in Sunset Harbor including:

Miami: On the Miami side, the Omni Terminal has a Metromover stop (offering service to Downtown, Brickell, and regional connectivity at Government Center) as well as a few bus routes at the formerly bustling bus station, where bus service has decreased since the introduction of the Better Bus Network last fall. It’s about a 10-minute – 1/3 mile walk from the dock at Sea Isle Marina to the Metro Mover. There’s also a Citibike station within walking distance.

First Day Observations

The first thing we noticed upon arriving at the Marina at Maurice Gibb Memorial Park, just off Purdy Avenue and 18th Street, was the lack of wayfinding signage. This was a challenge in their previous operations, and we were surprised to see no signage, especially since there is not a clear pedestrian path from the street, requiring riders to navigate across the parking lot and boat launch. They’ve had ample time to prepare for the launch, considering the service was originally scheduled to start last fall, prior to Art Basel 2023, and we had higher expectations. Multi-modal connections will be key to this service’s success, and clear and frequent signage will be essential for riders to easily navigate to and from the dock.

Once on board, the ticketing system wasn’t programmed properly for Miami Beach residents, with the point-of-sale system showing a fare of $6 for residents. Notwithstanding the first month being no charge, the resident fare is supposed to be $5.

There’s plenty of seating, whether open-air at the front of the ship, inside, protected from the elements on the first level, or in an open-air area (with a roof) on the top level. Inside, there are tables and chairs. Bikes and micromobility are stored at the front of the ship, just as before, without any special racks to secure them.

Our Take

We hope this year-long pilot, supported by $600,000 from the City of Miami Beach, is successful and offers a viable alternative to existing transportation options across Biscayne Bay. Previous Miami Beach subsidized or sponsored water-taxi services didn’t gain much traction, but they were much smaller boats. The Poseidon Ferry is large and comfortable, and has the capacity to potentially have an impact on congestion, especially during special events in high season.

However, the initial lack of wayfinding and integration with multimodal transportation options is a concern. Fortunately, there is ample opportunity for the operator to refine and enhance the service during the quieter summer and early fall months.

The discounted parking (50% off) and no additional charge for bikes and micromobility devices are positive steps towards improving connectivity.

Nonetheless, the absence of coordinated efforts with the City of Miami raises concerns. We can’t help but draw parallels to the Cross-Bay Express bus service experiment by the City of Miami, which had a brief and unsuccessful pilot. Collaboration between cities is crucial for the success of such initiatives.

Furthermore, the $12 fare is simply too high, especially compared to other alternatives, and without a City of Miami resident discount, too many potential riders are being excluded.

If You Go

Operating Hours: The Poseidon Ferry operates daily, 7:30 AM to 7:30 PM, with service running hourly. Departures from Miami Beach are scheduled on the half-hour, and from Miami on the hour. There is no service from 2:00 pm to 3:00pm.

Miami Beach Residents Ride Free: Miami Beach residents will enjoy free rides during the first month of operation upon presenting a valid ID, through July 31.

Tickets: Tickets for the Poseidon Ferry can be purchased in advance or directly onboard. The regular adult fare is $12. Children under 12 ride at no charge. Beginning August 1, City of Miami Beach residents will pay $5. Seniors 65 years of age or older and disabled military personnel will pay $6, and Miami-Dade County Golden Passport holders will ride for free.

Bike and Micromobility Policy: Bicycles and micromobility devices (such as eScooters) can be brought aboard at no additional charge.

Learn More at the Poseidon Ferry‘s website and from the City of Miami Beach.