Ferry service across the Pamlico Sound to Ocracoke was reduced Wednesday to one boat because of shoaling, but the state Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division announced Thursday the addition of night runs on Saturday and Sunday to ease travel between Ocracoke Island and Swan Quarter.
The additional runs on Saturday and Sunday leave at 7:30 p.m. from Ocracoke to Swan Quarter and 10:30 p.m. from Swan Quarter to Ocracoke. Travelers may make reservations for the added runs at www.ncferry.org or by calling 1-800-BY-FERRY.
Because of shoaling in Bigfoot Slough outside of Ocracoke’s Silver Lake Terminal, which continued as Hurricane Isaias passed this week, the division moved Wednesday to the one-boat schedule for the Ocracoke-Cedar Island route and the Ocracoke Swan-Quarter route, until the Army Corps of Engineers can complete dredging operations.
The one-boat schedule will remain in place until a dredging operation can be completed in Bigfoot Slough.
The routes will resume Aug. 10 the following one-boat-schedule put in place Wednesday:
- The ferry from Ocracoke to Swan Quarter leaves at 1:30 p.m. and from Swan Quarter to Ocracoke at 4:30 p.m. daily.
- The ferry from Ocracoke to Cedar Island leaves at 7:30 a.m. and from Cedar Island to Ocracoke at 10:30 a.m. daily.
In order to safely run additional ferries, water levels in the channel must be at least 9 feet deep but currently depths in some areas are less than 8 feet. Bigfoot Slough is a federal channel maintained by the Corps.
The N.C. Department of Transportation said it had urgently requested the Corps to perform emergency dredging operations in the area, calling the channel “an essential supply chain for commerce, tourism and goods for Ocracoke Island.”