With origins dating to the mid-1920s, the N.C. Department of Transportation's Ferry Division runs the second largest state-run ferry system in the United States.
About 800,000 vehicles and 1.8 million passengers, each year, cross the rivers and sounds of Eastern North Carolina, making the ferry system a vital lifeline for those who live and work in the region and an economic necessity for businesses.
Ferry operations involve more than 20 ferries on seven regular routes across the Currituck and Pamlico sounds as well as the Cape Fear, Neuse and Pamlico rivers. Two routes – Hatteras-Ocracoke and Ocracoke-Cedar Island – are officially part of The Outer Banks National Scenic Byway.
The ferry system also plays a crucial role during coastal emergencies, moving thousands of people out of harm's way in advance of hurricanes. An emergency route also runs between Stumpy Point and Rodanthe, when N.C. 12 is damaged due to storms and other issues.