The North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division plans to replace an aging coastal ferry with a new, larger vessel. The M/V Rodanthe, which can carry about 40 vehicles at a time, will require fewer trips between Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands.
Construction on the vessel is complete and is awaiting inspection and sea trials. The M/V Rodanthe replaces the 24-year-old ferry, the Thomas A. Baum, said Tim Hass, spokesman for the NCDOT's Ferry Division.
“We’ve had to take a longer route for the last few years because of the shoaling issues that are there. Well, a longer route means fewer trips. And when you have the smaller boats, for instance the Baum, which this boat is replacing, only carries 26 vehicle spaces.”
Hass said the new vessel will almost double the carrying capacity of the Baum, which carried more than 600,000 passengers on the Hatteras-Ocracoke route in 2017. Construction on the M/V Rodanthe ferry began in early 2018. The vessel will go into service in April or March.