June 16, 2013
Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry returns to its original route
North Carolina Department of Transportation Ferry Division’s
Hatteras-Ocracoke route returned to its original route with the start
of service on Sunday morning, June 16.
The move is the result of collaboration between the Ferry Division, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Corps of Engineers, which is responsible for keeping the channel
through Hatteras Inlet clear, had been dredging out a 10 to 12-foot
deep path for ferry travel since May 31. That work wrapped up earlier
The Coast Guard then marked the navigational aids for the route.
final step in the process saw the Ferry Division make test runs along
the 40-minute path between the Hatteras and Ocracoke ferry stations to
ensure it would be a safe trip for passengers, the crew, and the ferry
This will be the first time there has been ferry
service on the original route since Jan. 18, when an overnight storm
made it too shallow for ferries to travel safely. The alternate route
between Hatteras and Ocracoke has been in use since February.
the return of the original route, there will be 32 daily trips in each
direction, starting at 5 a.m. from both Hatteras and Ocracoke.
out of Hatteras, there is a departure at 6 a.m., and then every half
hour at the top and bottom of the hour from 7 a.m. through 7 p.m. The
evening schedule has trips at 8, 9, 10 and 11 p.m. and midnight.
Ocracoke schedule also has departures at 6 and 7 a.m., then starting at
8 a.m. goes to every half hour at the top and bottom of the hour until
8 p.m. The schedule wraps up with departures at 9, 10 and 11 p.m. and
Shifting sand in the Hatteras Inlet has
been an increasing problem for ferry travel in recent years, creating
issues where they did not previously exist. This is partly due to the
number of hurricanes and northeasters that have hit the area.
the latest problem developed in January, the Corps of Engineers
conducted considerable dredging through the spring, but tests in late
April showed that in three areas of the inlet, sand had already started
to shift back to the areas dredged several weeks earlier. That led to
the second round of dredging that wrapped up Saturday.
For more information about the Hatteras ferry route, travelers can sign-up to receive messages on Twitter by going to www.twitter.com/ncdot_ferry or visit the N.C. 12 Facebook page.