March 16, 2018

Ocracoke Passenger Ferry Expected to Open in Four Months

By JOY CRIST


The debut of the new “Ocracoke Express” passenger ferry service is roughly four months away, which puts the grand opening date around mid-July, per a recent update on the project from the North Carolina Ferry System.

According to the Friday morning update, crews at the US Workboats shipyard in the town of Hubert, N.C. are hard at work constructing the new “Ocracoke Express” vessel. The aluminum pontoon hull is about 70% assembled, and the company estimates that they will be delivering the vessel sometime in late June.

Meanwhile, work has been progressing at the Hatteras Ferry terminal in and around the parking lot, where crews are busy creating the passenger shelter where folks will wait to board the new vessel.

In other developments, a bid has been awarded for the purchase of four trams for Village Tram Service on Ocracoke Island, and the new ferry was recently promoted at the VisitNC Conference.

When it’s complete, the “Ocracoke Express” will be the first passenger only ferry in the North Carolina Ferry System.

It will be a 100-passenger, catamaran-style ferry with 96 interior seats, an upper deck with 26 additional seats, two wheelchair tie-downs, 16 bicycle racks, wireless internet access, and a concession area. The route will take passengers from the Hatteras Ferry docks to Silver Lake Harbor in Ocracoke village and back, in a trip that is estimated to be around 70 minutes each way.

The $9 million project is being funded by a $5 million Eastern Federal Lands Grant and a $4 million appropriation from the N.C. General Assembly. Per a survey from early on in the project, 20% of current ferry riders have indicated that they would use a passenger ferry from Hatteras to Ocracoke, which could generate $924,000 in annual revenue for the ferry service via the $15 round-trip ticket cost.

For more updates on the project, as well as FAQs on travelling aboard the “Ocracoke Express” this summer, visit https://www.ncdot.gov/ferry/passengerferry.html.









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