HATTERAS, N.C. - The North Carolina Department of Transportation's Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry route will switch to its full spring schedule April 12, with the number of scheduled runs increasing from 18 to 26 daily departures from each side.
The schedule will be 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.
According to NCDOT, while the numbers of departures will increase, shoaling issues in Sloop Chanel outside the Ocracoke ferry terminal have limited the size of ferries that can operate on the route. This has reduced the number of vehicles that ferries can carry and led to longer-than-usual wait times.
“We understand and sympathize with the recent frustrations travelers are experiencing on the Hatteras route,” said Ferry Division Director Harold Thomas. “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.”
Until the area can be dredged, passengers on the Hatteras route may experience wait times as long as two hours or more.
NCDOT recommends motorists consider the following options to avoid lengthy wait times:
- 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 Hatteras ferry route will switch to its full summer schedule on May 17.