Reprinted from Island Free Press
OCRACOKE — The new Ocracoke Express passenger ferry is coming together, and is expected to be complete by the end of the year, per a recent announcement from the North Carolina Ferry System.
Stakeholders for the new Hatteras/Ocracoke passenger ferry headed to Swansboro Friday to check out the progress of the vessel itself, which is being constructed by contractor U.S. Workboats.
Once it’s complete, the passenger ferry will make a number of trial runs along its route from Hatteras village to Ocracoke village, with paid passenger service expected to officially launch in May.
The new Ocracoke Express will be a 100-passenger, catamaran-style ferry with 96 interior seats, an upper deck with 26 additional seats, two wheelchair tie-downs, 16 bicycle racks, wireless internet access and a concession area. The route will take passengers from the Hatteras ferry docks to Silver Lake Harbor in Ocracoke village and back, in a trip that is estimated to be around 70 minutes each way.
Passenger lounge areas are complete on both sides of the ferry route in Hatteras and Ocracoke villages, and the accompanying public tram service on Ocracoke Island was already tested and temporarily launched to accommodate visitors after Hurricane Florence in September.
“Right now, the trams are ready, the visitor facilities are ready, and we are just waiting on the boat,” said NCDOT Public Relations Officer Tim Haas in an earlier interview.
This story is provided courtesy of the Island Free Press, a digital newspaper covering Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. Coastal Review Online is partnering with the Free Press to provide readers with more environmental and lifestyle stories of interest along our coast.