NCDOT: Shoaling issues in channel outside of Silver Lake Harbor

Due to continued shoaling issues in the ferry channel just outside of Ocracoke’s Silver Lake Harbor, the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division (NCDOT) is extending the alternate schedule on Pamlico Sound between Cedar Island, Swan Quarter and Ocracoke.

Shoaling occurs when sand and sediment fill into a ferry channel, making water depths too shallow and the channel too narrow for safe operation of the ferry system’s largest vessels. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Dredge Murden continues to work in the Bigfoot Slough channel to clear the shoaling, but dredging operations are dependent on weather and tides.

Once the dredging work is complete and water depths and channel widths return to acceptable levels, the Ferry Division will resume its regular schedule on both routes, said NCDOT.

Ferries have played a vital role to residents and visitors of Eastern North Carolina and they are an important part of their coastal history. 

Each year, North Carolina ferries transport over 1.1 million vehicles and more than 2.5 million passengers across five separate bodies of water – the Currituck and Pamlico sounds and the Cape Fear, Neuse and Pamlico rivers.

Photo: USACE