The new Ocracoke Express passenger ferry is coming together,
and is expected to be complete by the end of the year, per a recent
announcement from the North Carolina Ferry System.
Stakeholders for the new Hatteras / Ocracoke passenger ferry
headed to Swansboro, N.C. on Friday to check out the progress of the vessel
itself, which is being constructed by contractor U.S. Workboats.
Once it’s complete, the passenger ferry will make a number
of trial runs along its route from Hatteras village to Ocracoke village, with
paid passenger service expected to officially launch in May, 2019.
The new Ocracoke Express 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.
Passenger lounge areas are complete on both sides of the
ferry route in Hatteras and Ocracoke villages, and the accompanying public tram
service on Ocracoke Island was already tested and temporarily launched to
accommodate visitors after Hurricane Florence in September.
“Right now, the trams are ready,
the visitor facilities are ready, and we are just waiting on the boat,” said NCDOT
Public Relations Officer Tim Haas in an earlier interview.
For more information on the fees,
policies, and other attributes of the Ocracoke Express, visit https://www.ncdot.gov/travel-maps/ferry-tickets-services/Pages/passenger-ferry.aspx.