News Releases

9/2/2015: NCDOT Ferry Division Lays Out Future Possibilities For Hatteras-Ocracoke Route

NCDOT Ferry Division Lays Out Future Possibilities For Hatteras-Ocracoke Route

Posted 9/2/2015 4:44:00 PM

(HATTERAS) - Faced with a summertime congestion problem on its popular Hatteras-Ocracoke route, the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division held meetings this week to get public input on possible solutions to ease congestion and return Ocracoke Island visitation to pre-recession levels. The meetings, held in Ocracoke on Monday and Hatteras Tuesday, are part of an NCDOT Passenger Ferry Feasibility Study that could lead to the establishment of passenger-only ferry service between Hatteras Village and Ocracoke’s Silver Lake Harbor by the summer of 2017. Theoretically, the passenger ferries would drop visitors off directly in Ocracoke Village, where Hyde County would provide tram service around the village and to attractions such as the Ocracoke Lighthouse and the British Cemetery. The passenger ferries would be in addition to the Ferry Division’s current car ferry service.  “There are a lot of moving parts here, but if they all come together, this could solve a lot of the issues for Ocracoke visitation,” said Ferry Division Director Ed Goodwin. “It would ease the backups we have on the car ferry route, and bring more visitors with fewer cars into the village. On the surface, it seems like a win-win all around.” Other solutions are included in the study as well, such as year-round dredging of the now-closed “short” car ferry route, putting more car ferries into service on the current route, or loading more walk-on passengers onto the existing departures. But each of those comes with its own expense and logistical issues. The Passenger Ferry Feasibility Study began earlier this year and has included test runs of the possible ferry route, passenger surveys, and meetings with the public and stakeholders. It has also identified the kind of infrastructure and parking improvements that would be needed before service begins. The study is due to be complete by the end of 2015. For a complete look at the information presented at these meetings, go to https://www.flickr.com/photos/ncdot/albums/72157658106977475 (NCDOT)
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Members of the public attend an informational meeting Monday in Ocracoke on NCDOT's Passenger Ferry Feasibility Study
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8/31/2015: Southport-Fort Fisher Ferry Temporarily On One Boat Schedule Starting September 1

Southport-Fort Fisher Ferry Temporarily On One Boat Schedule Starting September 1

Posted 8/31/2015 3:55:10 PM

(SOUTHPORT) - Due to mechanical issues, the Southport-Fort Fisher ferry route will temporarily be on a one-boat schedule beginning Tuesday, September 1. The schedule will be as follows: From Southport: 5:30 a.m., 7, 9:15, 10:45, 12:15 p.m.,1:45, 3:15, 4:45, and 6:15.From Fort Fisher: 6:15 a.m., 7:45, 10, 11:30, 1 p.m., 2:30, 4, 5:30, and 7. The Southport-Fort Fisher route will resume its regular schedule as soon as a second boat is available.(NCDOT)
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8/31/2015: Ferry Crew Rescues Two From Overturned Boat in Swan Quarter Bay

Ferry Crew Rescues Two From Overturned Boat in Swan Quarter Bay

Posted 8/31/2015 12:06:45 PM

SWAN QUARTER - Nearing the end of his 9:30 a.m. run from Ocracoke on Saturday, North Carolina Ferry Captain Mark Piner noticed an unusual sight in Swan Quarter Bay: an overturned boat with two people hanging onto it. Immediately, Capt. Piner contacted the U.S. Coast Guard and ordered the M/V Silver Lake’s rescue boat launched. Crew members Daniel Smith and Simon Robinette piloted the rescue boat to the capsized vessel, pulling George and Justin Peele out of the water and into the rescue boat. After determining that both men were unharmed, the crew brought the father and son onboard the M/V Silver Lake, and the ferry completed its run to Swan Quarter. Upon reaching the ferry terminal, crew member Robinette returned both men to their vehicle at a nearby boat ramp. “Once again, our crews have demonstrated that their training pays off,” said Ferry Division Director Ed Goodwin. “It should be a comfort to boaters all across Eastern North Carolina that our ferry crews stand ready and able to assist any boaters they find in distress.” The rescue was the fourth such action by ferry crews in the past two years. On Sept. 26, 2013, the crew of the M/V Cedar Island rescued two sailors in rough seas just off of Ocracoke. In separate incidents on March 29 and July 4 of this year, N.C. Ferry crews came to the aid of men whose sailboats had overturned in the Neuse River. ***NCDOT***
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The crew of M/V Silver Lake rescued two people from an overturned boat on Aug. 29, 2015.
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7/6/2015: NC Ferry Crew Rescues Neuse River Sailor In Distress

NC Ferry Crew Rescues Neuse River Sailor In Distress

Posted 7/6/2015 10:21:27 AM

Cherry Branch - As the crew of the North Carolina Ferry M/V Chicamacomico was loading cars for its last departure of the day from Minnesott Beach Saturday afternoon, security watch stander John Brann noticed something amiss on the Neuse River in Pamlico County. A sailboat had tipped and rolled over just outside of the ferry basin and was rapidly drifting into the river channel. Brann immediately informed crew members Paul Abare and Stevenson Lee Weeks, who notified Captain Wendell Hunnings of the boater in distress. Hunnings then ordered Abare and Weeks to launch the Chicamacomico's rescue boat. Upon reaching the boater, Abare and Weeks determined the sailor, Sean Pollin of Linden, Va., did not need medical assistance but did need help in righting his boat. Working together, Pollin, Abare and Weeks pulled the sailboat out of the current and into shallow water where Pollin was able to pull it ashore. Pollin said he had underestimated the winds on the Neuse and was overcome by them. The rescue was the third of boaters in distress by ferry crews in the past 22 months. On Sept. 26, 2013, the crew of the M/V Cedar Island rescued two sailors in rough seas just off of Ocracoke. On March 29, 2015, the crew of the M/V Thomas A. Baum came to the aid of a New Bern man whose sailboat had also overturned on the Neuse. "Once again, a ferry crew used its skill and training to help a boater in distress", said Ferry Division Director Ed Goodwin. "Safety has always been our top priority, and our crews are well prepared to deal with emergencies not only on our vessels but elsewhere in the water as well. We are proud of the service our crews provide to all the residents and visitors of eastern North Carolina." After the rescue boat and crew returned to the ferry, the Chicamacomico completed its scheduled run to Cherry Branch. ***NCDOT***
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A North Carolina ferry crew comes to the aid of a sailor whose boat overturned in the Neuse River on July 4, 2015.
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5/12/2015: NC Ferry System Seeks Hatteras 'Early Birds' After Switch To Summer Schedule

NC Ferry System Seeks Hatteras 'Early Birds' After Switch To Summer Schedule

Posted 5/12/2015 3:55:21 PM

(Hatteras) - The North Carolina Department of Transportation's Ferry System switched to its full summer schedule of 36 daily round-trip departures between Hatteras and Ocracoke Tuesday, calling on summer day trippers to strongly consider going as early in the day as possible to avoid wait times in the peak season. "We've always suggested visitors try to avoid the peak times of the day when traveling between Hatteras and Ocracoke," said Ferry Division Communications Officer Tim Hass. "This year, we're coming right out and saying it: The best way to get out of ferry lines is to travel early, travel late, or travel between Friday and Monday. We have years of data to back that up." That data shows that in general, there are no waits at Hatteras before 9 a.m., with lines starting to form around 10. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. is the peak travel time, with lines generally dissipating by 4 p.m. On the Ocracoke side, there is usually no waiting before 2 p.m. Cars begin to stack up by 3 p.m. and lines are the longest between 6-7. By 9 p.m., those lines are usually gone. "People still want to go to Ocracoke, and they should go to Ocracoke," said Ferry Division Director Ed Goodwin. "By adjusting their schedule just a little, they can spend less time in a ferry line and more time on Ocracoke. And that's what vacation should be about." The Ferry System has created a web page at www.ncferry.org/earlybird with more information and will be encouraging off-peak travel all summer via advertising and social media.(NCDOT)
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