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Hatteras-Ocracoke spring ferry schedule starts but visitors can expect to wait longer


The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry route has switched to its full spring schedule.

With this change, the number of scheduled runs will increase from 18 to 26 daily departues from each side, according to a news release from the N.C. Ferry Division.

However, because of shoaling issues in Sloop Channel outside the Ocracoke ferry terminal, the size of the ferries will be limited. This has reduced the number of vehicles that can be carried and has led to longer wait times.

“We understand and sympathize with the recent frustrations travelers are experiencing on the Hatteras route,” stated Ferry Division Director Harold Thomas in the release. “However, safety is our number one priority, and until water depths reach an adequate level in Sloop Channel, our smallest boats are the only option.”

The division is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to have the area dredged as soon as possible. Until then, passengers on the Hatteras route may experience wait times as long as two hours or more.

Motorists can avoid lengthy wait times by considering the following options:

  • Avoid peak travel times. At the Hatteras terminal, peak congestion occurs on weekdays between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., and at the Ocracoke terminal between 4 p.m. and midnight.
  • Consider accessing Ocracoke via the Cedar Island or Swan Quarter routes. Those routes accept reservations and vessels have larger carrying capacities.

The Spring schedule is as follows:
From Hatteras: 5 a.m., 6 a.m., 7 a.m., 8 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 9 p.m., 11 p.m., midnight.

From Ocracoke: 4:30 a.m., 6:30 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., noon, 12:30 p.m., 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m., 10:30 p.m., midnight.

The Hatteras ferry route will switch to its full summer schedule on May 17.

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