News Releases

4/21/2017: Pamlico Sound Ferry Routes to Run Amended Schedule Due to Shoaling

Pamlico Sound Ferry Routes to Run Amended Schedule Due to Shoaling

Posted 4/21/2017 10:59:51 AM

Ocracoke– Due to critical shoaling in the federally-controlled channel at Bigfoot Slough, the North Carolina Ferry Division will run a limited schedule on its routes between Ocracoke, Swan Quarter, and Cedar Island beginning Saturday, April 22. The schedule will be as follows: Ocracoke to Cedar Island: 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Cedar Island to Ocracoke: 7 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Ocracoke to Swan Quarter: 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Swan Quarter to Ocracoke: 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Water levels in Bigfoot Slough are critically low, especially at low tide. “We have asked the Army Corps of Engineers to perform an emergency dredging operation as soon as possible, and we’re hoping to see that operation begin next week,” said Ferry Division Interim Director Jed Dixon. “Until then, we have to limit our schedule in the area in order to operate safely.” The limited schedules will remain in effect until the dredging operation is complete. (NCDOT)
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4/10/2017: Hatteras-Ocracoke Spring Ferry Schedules Begin Tuesday

Hatteras-Ocracoke Spring Ferry Schedules Begin Tuesday

Posted 4/10/2017 1:56:50 PM

(HATTERAS) – Just in time for a round of beautiful spring weather, the North Carolina Ferry System will be switching to a spring schedule on its popular Hatteras-Ocracoke route on Tuesday, April 11. The new schedule, which increases the number of daily round trips from 18 to 26, will include a new 10:30 a.m. run from Hatteras. The added departure was specifically requested by Ocracoke restaurant owners to get hungry visitors to island restaurants in time for the lunch rush. “The business owners asked us to fill an hour-long gap in the schedule, and we listened,” said Ferry Division Interim Director Jed Dixon. “They believe it will give daytrippers a chance to fit a lunch stop into their visits, and we want to help them any way we can.” The enhanced spring schedule will remain in effect until the peak summer schedule starts May 16. In past years, the schedule reverted to off-season levels between Easter and the start of the summer tourist season. “Ocracoke is seeing more and more shoulder season visitors every year through fishing tournaments, fun runs and other events, and we’re doing our best to accommodate those extra visitors, “ said Dixon. A downloadable copy of the new schedule is available on the Ferry System’s website. (NCDOT)
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4/4/2017: M/V Sea Level Runs Soft Aground Near Ocracoke

M/V Sea Level Runs Soft Aground Near Ocracoke

Posted 4/4/2017 2:20:37 PM

(Ocracoke) – The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Ferry M/V Sea Level ran soft aground in shallow water near Ocracoke Island at approximately 9 a.m. today. The vessel was able to eventually free itself under its own power three hours later. There were no injuries to any passengers or crew members. The grounding occurred in Bigfoot Slough as the M/V Sea Level was on its way to Ocracoke from Cedar Island. The vessel slowed as it approached the shallow water, but strong 25-knot winds out of the southwest pushed the ferry onto a sandbar. The crew of the Sea Level immediately informed the 16 passengers on board of the situation and confirmed that all were unharmed. As the tide came in, the Sea Level freed itself from the sandbar under its own power and safely completed the trip to Ocracoke to unload all passengers and vehicles. Crews will inspect the vessel for damage, though none is expected.   “The area where the Sea Level ran aground is a federal channel that is susceptible to rapid shoaling,” said Ferry Division Interim Director Jed Dixon. “We have previously asked the Army Corps of Engineers for some dredging assistance at that location, and we’re hoping they are able to work on it as soon as possible.” (NCDOT)
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1/12/2017: 2017 Hatteras Vendor Priority Passes Still Available

2017 Hatteras Vendor Priority Passes Still Available

Posted 1/12/2017 10:27:46 AM

(Hatteras) - The North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division continues to accept applications for 2017 Vendor Priority Loading Passes on the Hatteras Inlet route. As of January 1, any vehicle wishing to use the priority loading lane must have a valid 2017 Priority Pass. Under legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2016, applicants must pay a $150 fee for each pass and be verified as a provider of regular commercial services to Ocracoke Island. The pass holder must also make at least 24 trips to Ocracoke annually. A business may purchase as many passes as they need to do business. Applications can be found on the Ferry Division’s website or picked up at the Hatteras Ferry Terminal. Completed applications will take a minimum of one week for processing. Upon approval, the fees can be paid by cashier’s check or money order and the pass will be issued at the terminal. The new legislation does not affect the Ocracoke Resident Priority Passes, which are issued free to Ocracoke residents every three years. (NCDOT)
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12/21/2016: 2016 Brings Stability, Storms and New Service to N.C. Ferry Division

2016 Brings Stability, Storms and New Service to N.C. Ferry Division

Posted 12/21/2016 12:48:01 AM

(Manns Harbor) - The North Carolina Ferry System met the challenges of two storm-based evacuations, found stability through new legislation and took the first steps toward establishing new passenger ferry service during a very busy and productive 2016. “This was a very good year for the Ferry System,” said Ferry Division Director Ed Goodwin. “Under the leadership of Governor Pat McCrory, we’ve ended years of tolling uncertainty and solved the issue of funding ferry replacement. We’re developing a new passenger ferry service for Ocracoke that will alleviate our summertime congestion problems. And we quickly and efficiently got thousands of North Carolina residents and visitors out of harm’s way when storms threatened the coast.” A look back at the Ferry Division’s year reveals several major milestones that put both the importance and potential of the state’s ferry system on full display. This year’s state budget, signed by Governor McCrory, ended years of uncertainty over ferry tolls by keeping all four of the system’s untolled routes free to the public. In addition, it provided for a recurring expenditure of $4 million per year to replace aging ferry vessels. The budget also provided a one-time expenditure of $3.5 million to establish a passenger ferry service between Hatteras and Ocracoke’s Silver Lake terminal. Planning for the passenger ferry service, which also received a National Park Service grant, is already underway, with a projected start date in the summer of 2018. Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew impacted the North Carolina coast this year, resulting in the mandatory evacuation of Ocracoke Island. Over the course of those two emergencies (one during the busy Labor Day weekend), North Carolina ferries carried 3,251 passengers and 1,447 vehicles to safety. In addition, the N.C. Ferry Division christened its new, state-of-the-art Dredge Manteo in May and opened a new terminal/visitors center in Currituck in August. A heroic ferry crew rescued boaters from a charter boat fire near Swan Quarter in July. Looking ahead to 2017, the N.C. Ferry Division will celebrate its 70th Anniversary, open a new terminal/office building at Cherry Branch and start construction on new facilities at Hatteras and Ocracoke in anticipation of passenger ferry service beginning in 2018. “The Ferry Division charted a new course in 2016,” said Goodwin. “I think the people of North Carolina are going to like where we’re going.” (NCDOT)
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