A fishing boat traversing the old South Ferry Channel at the north end of Ocracoke Island. Photo: C. Leinbach

WILMINGTON — The U.S. Coast Guard has established a new navigational channel, the Hatteras Connector, in Hatteras Inlet that replaces the former “South Ferry Channel.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers created the new waterway after the dredge Merritt finished a two-week dredging project there on May 6, the Coast Guard said in a press release.

In recent months, the South Ferry Channel has experienced heavy shoaling due to storms which have left portions of the channel measuring a depth of three to four feet. As a result, the Coast Guard on March 22 issued a safety notice to mariners and removed buoys marking the South Ferry Channel.

These steps safeguard the public, the Coast Guard said. The removal of these aids to navigation ensures that recreational boaters are not misled or given the false impression that they are using a safe and navigable channel.

“The safety of mariners navigating Hatteras Inlet remains a top priority of the Coast Guard,” said Lt. Greg Kennerley, waterways management chief for Sector North Carolina. “The establishment of the Hatteras Connector will ensure mariners have a safe route to navigate offshore.”

He said the Coast Guard will continue to monitor the shoaling and position aids to navigation to mark best and safest water.

The previous South Ferry Channel has been disestablished and will not be marked by aids to navigation. Mariners are advised to continue using caution while transiting this newly established as shoaling remains present in several areas, the Coast Guard said.

The ferry channel in the Hatteras Inlet shows the old, heavily shoaled South Ferry Channel.
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  1. Is it known if or how this change will affect the ferry transit time between Hatteras and Ocracoke?

    • The area in question is outside the ferry route. So it doesn’t affect ferry traversing time.

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