The N.C. Department of Transportation's Ferry Division is celebrating 75 years of service this season!
While ferries have long been a part of life along the rivers, sounds and inlets of eastern North Carolina, the State of North Carolina began running its first fully-owned route back in 1947, when it began service between the North Carolina mainland at Manns Harbor to Roanoke Island, connecting people and their vehicles to Manteo and the rest of the Outer Banks.
Since then, the Ferry Division has grown to become the second largest state-owned ferry system in the United States, running seven regular routes along the entire North Carolina coast:
- Currituck-Knotts Island
- Cherry Branch-Minnesott Beach
- Swan Quarter-Ocracoke
- Cedar Island-Ocracoke
- Southport-Fort Fisher
In addition, the Ferry Division runs a passenger-only service between Hatteras and Ocracoke Village in the summer months and maintains an emergency route between the mainland (Stumpy Point) and Hatteras Island (Rodanthe), which is put into service when N.C. 12 becomes impassible due to storms or other damage.
Through the years, the Ferry Division has served the people and visitors of eastern North Carolina through busy summer seasons, hurricanes, winter weather and a pandemic. It has seen proposals and weddings, rescued stranded boaters and kayakers, and marked the scenic beginnings and bittersweet ends of millions of vacations.
NCDOT will be hosting events and contests throughout the year to celebrate 75 years of safe, affordable and efficient ferry service across eastern North Carolina.
Share Your Ferry Tale or Photo
NCDOT is collecting Ferry Tales, special moments onboard a North Carolina Ferry through the years—a child’s first ride, a first date, a proposal, a wedding, or just a beautiful sunset or special vacation moment.
A photo contest is also being held through the summer. Get out your camera and send the department your best shot in the following categories:
- Ferries From the Past (old photos of ferry trips)
- Families on the Ferry
- Scenic Splendor
- Enjoying the Ride
- Four-legged Friends (pets on the ferry)
Some of the best entries will be awarded a special edition Ferry 75th Anniversary lapel pin.
Share a Ferry Tale or Photo Now!