Artist's rendering of the Ocracoke Express. Photo, NCDOT.
Artist’s rendering of the Ocracoke Express. Photo, NCDOT.

Set Backs On The Ocracoke Ferry

The much anticipated high speed Ocracoke ferry connecting Hatteras and Ocracoke has hit another snag.

Originally scheduled to be unveiled last year, the date has been continually pushed back. It is unclear how long the latest delay will be.

According to unconfirmed reports the catamaran style Ocracoke ferry failed to meet welding standard during a Coast Guard inspection.

A high speed passenger only ferry is an innovative approach to ongoing problems keeping Ocracoke connected to the Outer Banks. Access to the island is only by water, although the island does have a small airport.

Shoaling at Hatteras Inlet has forced ferries to take a longer route to the between Hatteras and Ocracoke, creating significant delays during the peak season.

Ocracoke is an ideal destination for a day trip from the northern Outer Banks and the village itself is perfect for a two or three hour walking or bike tour. The high speed Ocracoke ferry with a 98 passenger capacity, will make the trip in 70 minutes, depositing passengers at at Silver Lake in the heart of the village.

According to an email NCDOT Ferry Division spokesperson, Tim Hass sent out, “The N.C. Ferry Division has been made aware of construction challenges with the passenger ferry. In an effort to fully understand the issues that are keeping the builder from completing the vessel, the Ferry Division has been on site multiple times in the past two weeks and has embedded a contractor on site to monitor and provide quality control and assurance.”

When completed the $9.1 million craft will be christened the Ocracoke Express.

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