The M/V Rodanthe makes her maiden voyage. Photo by North Carolina Ferry System

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The newest addition to the Hatteras-Ocracoke vehicular ferry route, the M/V Rodanthe, embarked on her maiden voyage on Tuesday morning (July 30) with a full load of passengers headed to Ocracoke, the North Carolina Ferry Division said.

The Rodanthe arrived at the NCDOT Shipyard in Manns Harbor in June and is the first new ferry for the Hatteras-Ocracoke route in 13 years.

The new ferry replaced the 22-year-old M/V Thomas A. Baum, and is part of an ongoing effort by the N.C. Ferry Division to phase out the smaller Hatteras-class ferries with larger river-class vessels, which can accommodate more vehicles.

The Rodanthe has a number of enhanced features in addition to the increase in physical space, which includes interior bathrooms, as well as a first-level passenger lounge which will be easier to access.

The hull has also been designed to reduce over splash that can occur on the Hatteras Inlet route – especially on windy and stormy days.

The vessel was officially christened at a ceremony on June 28 at the Hatteras ferry docks,

The Rodanthe is the first new ferry for the Hatteras-Ocracoke route since 2006, (when the M/V Hatteras was christened), and is the first new ferry for all of the state’s seven routes since the M/V Sea Level was put into service in May 2012.

Two additional new river-class ferries, (tentatively named the M/V Avon and the M/V Salvo), are also in the works, and will replace the smaller Hatteras-class ferries M/V Kinnakeet and the M/V Chicamacomico.

These additional new ferries are scheduled to be delivered in 2020.

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