Pamlico Sound ferry schedule altered due to shoaling near Ocracoke

Published 9:47 am Friday, March 26, 2021

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The North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division will be running an alternate schedule on the Pamlico Sound between Cedar Island, Swan Quarter and Ocracoke due to critical shoaling issues in the ferry channel just outside of Ocracoke’s Silver Lake Harbor, stated a press release from NCDOT. Bigfoot Slough water depths are reported to be too shallow for larger ferries.

The schedule for March 26 through 30, weather permitting, will be:

Ocracoke to Cedar Island – 7:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

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Cedar Island to Ocracoke – 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Ocracoke to Swan Quarter – 7 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Swan Quarter to Ocracoke – 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

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

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredge Murden is working 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 in the ferry channel return to acceptable levels, the Ferry Division will resume its regular schedule on both routes.