February 19, 2015

Passenger ferry test runs scheduled for May 4 and 5

As part of its ongoing feasibility study on passenger ferry service, the North Carolina Department of Transportation has signed an agreement with Bay State Cruise Company to charter the M/V Provincetown III for test runs of a potential passenger ferry route between Hatteras and Ocracoke village on May 4-5.

"These test runs will allow us to judge the feasibility of the route, duration of the voyage, fuel consumption, and other factors that will help us determine whether passenger ferry service is something that we can and should be offering," said NCDOT Ferry Division Director Ed Goodwin. "It's all part of the due diligence required in the feasibility study."

The Provincetown III is a catamaran-style ferry that is 98 feet long and carries 149 passengers. It services the Boston to Provincetown route in the summer and works in the Caribbean in the winter. The ship will be on its return voyage north when it stops in North Carolina.

DOT will pay $30,000 to charter the boat for the two days.

The test runs will be between the Hatteras ferry docks and the Silver Lake ferry docks in Ocracoke village, and the runs are expected to take about 90 minutes.

Ferry Division spokeman Tim Hass said the public will not be able to ride the ferry on the test runs but that DOT hopes to be arrange for the public to tour the boat when it is docked.

NCDOT commissioned a feasibility study on passenger ferry service late last year in an effort to solve summertime congestion issues on the Hatteras Inlet route. The study is being conducted by Volkert, an infrastructure engineering firm based in Mobile, Alabama. It is scheduled to be complete by December 2015.

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