Construction issues delay launch of Ocracoke passenger ferry

By on March 12, 2019

By Connie Leinbach

Problems with construction will delay the launch of a passenger ferry that was slated to start running between Ocracoke and Hatteras in May.

The N.C. Ferry Division was not specific about the problem other than to say that “a full mitigation plan” will be needed at U.S. Workboats in Hubert, where the vessel is being assembled.

Here is the division’s statement from spokesman Tim Hass:

“The N.C. Ferry Division has been made aware of construction challenges with the passenger ferry.

“In an effort to fully understand the issues that are keeping the builder from completing the vessel, the Ferry Division has been on site multiple times in the past two weeks and has embedded a contractor on site to monitor and provide quality control and assurance.

“While it will take some time before we know if this increased oversight is having the desired result, the Ferry Division at this time does not believe the vessel will be in commission by May 1. Once a full mitigation plan has been received and approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Ferry Division should be able to tell the local stakeholders of the anticipated delivery date.”

The $9.1 million aluminum catamaran-style ferry, named “Ocracoke Express,” was scheduled to debut on Tuesday, May 14, with delivery to the Ferry Division in February. The vessel will carry up to 98 passengers on a 70-minute trip from Hatteras directly into Ocracoke Village.

Last May, the Ferry Division announced that the new boat being built by US Workboats near Swansboro wouldn’t be ready for the busy tourist season. They suggested it might be ready in the fall, but the fall came and went and the next debut date was to be in May.

The idea of adding a passenger-only boat to the busy Hatteras-Ocracoke run came about in 2015 when a longer route across the Hatteras Inlet was officially sanctioned after the short ferry route between Hatteras and Ocracoke became unnavigable due to shoaling in 2013.

This one-hour ferry ride has resulted in fewer runs between islands, longer wait lines at the Hatteras terminal and fewer day-trippers journeying to the island.

Islanders’ concerns with this prompted the Ferry Division to explore the purchase of a passenger ferry to help relieve the traffic lines at Hatteras.

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Probably welds they xrayed and found them ineffective, just my guess! Boats like this are inspected by coast guard during the build. It goes back to the builder what ever it is.

As I sip on my bloody Mary 😂, I said to myself. I wonder if the contract included penalties for failure to meet due date. Just thinking out loud. Anyway, going topside to listen to the 🐦. Koo Flocks, voice of the libertarian Obxers.


My gut told me this was gonna happen I even commented negative on the original plan in the first article.
Should have had some type of clause in the contract for being late. Multi passenger vessels are supposed to be engineered by marine (naval architect) overseen by coastguard during construction.
My family love going to oakracoke and would have gladly used this ferry
They should have built this boat in dare county.
The boat companymessed up somewhere now didn’t they?


If only someone from the state would have spent 30 seconds thinking this through and figuring out that the solution is the charge the cars on the ferry and not the people who do not take their cars.


Been calling this a boondoggle from the start but they have far exceeded the level of incompetence that even I expected? When are people going to be held accountable for this huge waste? Delays do not come without added costs! What a joke!