Project Fast Facts
  • Status: Archive
  • County: Dare, Hyde
  • Type of Project: Feasibility Study
  • Completion Date: June 2016
Hatteras-Ocracoke Passenger Ferry Feasibility Study Logo

Study Overview and Purpose

The N.C. Department of Transportation conducted a passenger ferry feasibility study to determine whether passenger-only ferry service would ease congestion on the N.C. Ferry System's popular Hatteras-Ocracoke route.

Ongoing shoaling in Hatteras Inlet has forced the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry to take a longer route on its runs between islands, resulting in fewer trips per day and heavy congestion during the summer.

Ferry ridership has also declined as a result, and visitor spending on Ocracoke Island – a vital part of the local economy, has decreased sharply.

The study, which began in April 2015, was conducted by infrastructure engineering company Volkert, which looked at all aspects of the issue, including passenger interest, stakeholder concerns, infrastructure improvements and transit needs.

Study Findings

Released in June 2016, a 52-page report on the Ocracoke-Hatteras passenger ferry feasibility study recommends two 100-passenger ferries making eight round-trips a day between Hatteras and Ocracoke Village.

It also recommends a $15 round-trip toll, as well as a transit loop run by Hyde County, to take visitors from the terminal through Ocracoke Village and to various island attractions, such as Ocracoke Lighthouse and the National Park Service's Pony Pens.

The study involved a year-long look at ferry service between Ocracoke and Hatteras, and included several meetings with local residents, as well as passenger surveys during the peak of the summer. It also involved a trial run from the Provincetown III, a ferry that spends its summers taking passengers between Boston and Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Four other alternatives to relieve the Hatteras congestion problem were examined:

  • A year-round dredging program to return to the original "short route"
  • An increased number of departures on the current route
  • Encouraging walk-on passengers on the current route
  • A passenger ferry to the ferry system's South Dock Terminal

The study found, however, that the passenger ferry directly to Ocracoke Village would be the safest, most efficient option and that 25 percent of current ferry riders would take the passenger ferry service and be willing to pay a $15 round-trip toll.

The report notes that infrastructure improvements, including passenger terminals, parking areas and pedestrian transit on Ocracoke, are needed before any such service can begin.

Contact Information

Timothy D. Hass
Communications Officer
(252) 473-3461
Send a message
8550 Shipyard Road
Manns Harbor, NC 27953

Resources for Local Property Owners

Although the N.C. Department of Transportation works to minimize the number of homes and businesses displaced by a road project, it is inevitable, in many cases, that a certain amount of private property is needed. The following information explains right of way acquisition and answers questions about the process.