Against a backdrop of swinging cranes and stacks of construction debris at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday announced the hiring of 200 employees for his forthcoming Citywide Ferry Service.

“We’re here to celebrate so many aspects of Citywide Ferry Service, but one of the most important is it’s going to create opportunity,” de Blasio said, praising the job creation and improved transit access he believes the fast ferry network will bring.

With the first phase set to open this summer – the mayor did not offer a more specific date – the service will eventually expand to 20 vessels operating at 21 docks across four boroughs, save for Staten Island, in 2018.

“Unfortunately for decades American cities have turned away from their waterfronts,” de Blasio added. “Over the years that’s been recognized as a mistake.”

New jobs range from captains to deckhands – all “living wage ferry jobs,” according to James Patchett, president and CEO of the city’s Economic Development Corporation.

The Brooklyn Navy Yard will eventually become the headquarters for the service, which is anticipated to carry about 4.6 million riders per year. That’s in part thanks to the 500,000 people who live within a half-mile of the planned landings, according to the mayor.

De Blasio said the service will be the first of its kind in about a century in the city and a “great reason” for New Yorkers to stop driving to work. For those who do, there will be food and alcohol served on each boat.

A ferry ride will be priced at the rate of a MetroCard – “the coin of the realm” for New York transit, as de Blasio put it – but will not be integrated with the MTA’s fare payment system. That means riders will have to pay an addition fare for transfers.

“It would be ideal if we could find a way to do it as a single fare,” de Blasio said. “Let’s remember a couple of things: For a lot of New Yorkers, ferry service for example will take them from where they are to where they want to go – period – and there’s no need for a transfer.”