After public outcry, state opts to continue Ocracoke Silver Lake ferry route

Emergency responders en route by ferry to Ocracoke on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. [N.C. Emergency Management photo]

After public objections to a plan to stop ferry service from Hatteras Island to Ocracoke’s Silver Lake, the North Carolina Ferry System announced Wednesday evening it will continue the route after all.

The schedule will run from Hatteras to Ocracoke-Silver Lake at 6 am. and 11:15 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
The Ocracoke-Silver Lake to Hatteras ferry will run at 8:45 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 7:15 p.m. and 12:30 a.m.

Officials announced Tuesday ferry service between Hatteras and Ocracoke-Silver Lake would be discontinued Thursday, but opted to continue service after hearing from the public, transportation officials said in a news release.

The Hatteras-Ocracoke Silver Lake route is open only to high ground-clearance vehicles. Also, motorists are advised that this route will be highly susceptible to suspension during adverse weather conditions. Due to potential ramp damage at Silver Lake, ALL heavy loads must access Ocracoke via Swan Quarter or Cedar Island.

Reservations are not available on the Hatteras-Ocracoke Silver Lake route. Vehicles will be loaded by the re-entry priority procedures established by Hyde County. Motorists should arrive 30 minutes before departure time.

At this time, Hyde County is only allowing residents, non-resident property owners, and personnel authorized by Hyde County Emergency Management to access Ocracoke Island. All motorists and pedestrians boarding an Ocracoke-bound ferry must meet the re-entry criteria or be given prior approval by Hyde County.

Hatteras-Ocracoke South Dock

NCDOT will be opening N.C. 12 on Ocracoke Island on Thursday. This access will be limited to ONLY four-wheel drive vehicles that are rated at ¾ ton capacity or smaller (such as Ford F250, GM K2500, Ram 2500, etc.). Please note that trailers will not be allowed at this time. Therefore, the Ferry System will be running ferries between Hatteras and Ocracoke-South Dock on the following schedule beginning Thursday:

Hatteras to Ocracoke-South Dock: 6:15, 7, and 9 a.m., 4:45, 6, and 7:30 p.m.
Ocracoke-South Dock to Hatteras: 7:30, 8:30 and 10:15 a.m., 6:30, 7:30, and 9 p.m.
Reservations are not available on the Hatteras-Ocracoke South Dock route. Vehicles will be loaded by the re-entry priority procedures​ established by Hyde County. Motorists should arrive 30 minutes before departure time.

Volunteer groups approved to access Ocracoke are encouraged to board the ferries without vehicles to leave as much deck space as possible for vehicles necessary for hurricane recovery services.

New Commuter Passes for Ocracoke Residents

Ocracoke commuter pass owners whose vehicles were destroyed in the storm can obtain new passes by bringing their information and identification to the Ocracoke-Silver Lake ferry terminal between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

This story originally appeared on Read More local stories here.

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