The newest addition to the Hatteras-Ocracoke vehicular ferry route, the M/V Rodanthe, embarked on her maiden voyage on Tuesday morning, July 30, with a full deck of passengers headed to Ocracoke, per an online announcement from the North Carolina Ferry System.
The M/V Rodanthe arrived at the NCDOT Shipyard in Manns Harbor, N.C. in June, and is the first new ferry for the Hatteras-Ocracoke route in 13 years. The new ferry replaced the 22-year-old M/V Thomas A. Baum, and is part of an ongoing effort by the N.C. Ferry Division to phase out the smaller Hatteras-class ferries with larger river-class vessels, which can accommodate more vehicles.
The M/V Rodanthe has a number of enhanced features in addition to the increase in physical space, which includes interior bathrooms, as well as a first-level passenger lounge which will be easier to access. The haul has also been designed to reduce oversplash that can occur on the Hatteras Inlet route – especially on windy and stormy days.
The vessel was officially christened at a ceremony on June 28 at the Hatteras ferry docks,
The M/V Rodanthe is the first new ferry for the Hatteras-Ocracoke route since 2006, (when the M/V Hatteras was christened), and is the first new ferry for all of the state’s seven routes since the M/V Sea Level was put into service in May, 2012.
Two additional new river-class ferries, (tentatively named the M/V Avon and the M/V Salvo), are also in the works, and will replace the smaller Hatteras-class ferries M/V Kinnakeet and the M/V Chicamacomico. These additional new ferries are scheduled to be delivered in 2020.