UPDATED: Ocracoke Express makes maiden voyage

A dog named Cotton was one of the Ocracoke Express passenger ferry's first passengers. [Photo courtesy N.C. Ferry System]

The Ocracoke Express passenger-only ferry made its maiden voyage Monday morning with “57 smiling women, men and children, four bikes and a dog named ‘Cotton.'”

The latest addition to the ferry fleet made three round trips from Hatteras to Ocracoke Village its first day, with 284 people (and one dog) taking the 70-minute, one-way ride across the sound.

“The reviews have been very positive,” said Harold Thomas, director of the N.C. Ferry Division. “We’re excited to have the passenger-only ferry service available this summer as an additional travel option for people on the Outer Banks.”

The Ocracoke Express will continues making three daily round trips through Sept. 5. Rides tomorrow are free. An initial cost of $1 each way starts Wednesday.

The division is leasing the ferry, the M/V Martha’s Vineyard Express, from the New Jersey-based ferry company Seastreak Marine. Last week, the vessel successfully completed test runs of the route in the Pamlico Sound between the two Outer Banks islands.

Bikes lined up on the maiden voyage of the Ocracoke Express. [Photo courtesy N.C. Ferry System]
The ferry will depart from the Hatteras terminal at 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 5 p.m., and departing the Ocracoke Silver Lake Terminal at 11 a.m., 3 p.m., and 7 p.m.

Passengers who would like to walk on to the passenger ferry should proceed to the Hatteras Terminal at least 20 minutes before departure time. When reservations become available at a later date, they can be made online at www.ncferry.org or by calling 1-800-BY-FERRY (1-800-293-3779).

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Kari Pugh is digital director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at kpugh@jammediallc.com