New ferries to Ocracoke are bigger and could boost visitors to the N.C. barrier island

MANNS HARBOR, N.C. Three new Outer Banks ferries will be capable of carrying more people and travel faster than ever on the state’s busiest route. A new 180-foot $9.7 million vessel, named the Rodanthe, arrives in March with the capacity for 40 cars.

Two vehicle-carrying vessels will have the capacity to transport 630 more people a day than the smaller boats they are replacing. A new passenger-only ferry can haul another roughly 300 people daily at nearly four times the speed of conventional vessels.

The new ferries could carry an additional 93,000 people over a 130-day season to Ocracoke where the villagers cater to the tourism industry.

“Bigger. Better. Faster. That’s what we like,” said Bill Rich, manager of Hyde County, which includes Ocracoke.

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