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By Peter Vankevich
Ocracoke will get a 4th of July gift as the Ocracoke Express passenger ferry service will begin on Friday (July 3) and will run through Sept. 10.
Gov. Roy Cooper signed off on Senate Bill 570 that approved $1.146 million to lease the M/V Martha’s Vineyard ferry from Seastreak Marine out of New Jersey. This is the same boat used last summer.
The departure times will follow last year’s schedule:
From Hatteras: 9:30 a. m., 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
From Ocracoke’s Silver Lake Terminal: 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Tickets are $5 one way; $10 per round trip, and $1 per bicycle for each trip.
Children 3 and under are free.
Reservations can be now made by calling 1-800-293-3779, or online at www.ncferry.org and clicking on “Online Reservations.” Walk-up reservations are also accepted as long as space is available.
The Ferry Division said in a press release that it will take the necessary measures and precautions in order to protect our passengers and crew from the spread of COVID-19. At press time, the number of passengers permitted to board was not known. Last year, the Express accommodated 150 passengers.
In line with Cooper’s Executive Order 147, all passengers must wear face coverings while on board both inside the seating area and on the deck. Space in the waiting areas will be marked to ensure proper social distancing and hand sanitizer will be at the ticket windows and on board the vessels.
Ferry Division personnel will implement a vessel and facility cleaning regiment with crew sign off sheets.