A departure time heat map for the Hatteras-Ocracoke vehicular ferry was recently developed by the NCSU Institute for Transportation Research and Education to help travelers better plan their trip between Hatteras and Ocracoke, and to encourage folks to either arrive earlier, or wait until after the peak departure time, to reduce their anticipated wait time.
The heat map focuses on the peak season months of April through September, and is divided into wait times for both the Hatteras village and Ocracoke ferry terminals.
For the Hatteras village terminal, traffic is highest from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., and on Mondays through Fridays.
On Ocracoke, weekend traffic is at its peak from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and weekday traffic, (particularly Tuesdays through Thursdays), is highest from 4:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.
There is no fee to take the Hatteras-Ocracoke vehicle ferry, and all vehicles are loaded into the ferry on a first-come, first-served basis, with the exception of vendors and residents with Priority Passes.
A PDF of the heat map can be viewed and downloaded here, and more information on the current schedule for all seven ferry routes in North Carolina can be viewed at https://www.ncdot.gov/travel-maps/ferry-tickets-services/routes/Pages/default.aspx.