Hatteras-Ocracoke ferries adapt longer routes due to dredging

North Carolina ferries traveling between Hatteras and Ocracoke will begin using a different route today that will add approximately 20 minutes to crossing times as shoaling no longer allows the Ferry Division’s vessels to safely navigate the current channel.

Albert Styron’s Store photo

According to NCDOT, the change comes as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is set to begin emergency dredging efforts in the traditional ferry channel known as Barney Slough.

The channel has become dangerously shallow, leading to several instances in which ferries bumped the bottom of the channel and needed costly repairs to fix damage to the vessels.

Instead, ferries will begin using the deeper and safer Rollinson Channel, which is 1.5 miles longer and will add roughly 20 minutes to each one-way trip.

Because of the longer crossing times, the number of ferry departures will be reduced, said NCDOT.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will dredge for seven days, weather permitting. When they leave the channel, the Ferry Division will revisit conditions in Barney Slough to determine whether it can safely resume operations there.