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
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 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
"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."