Continued shoaling and low water will probably mean suspensions of ferry service between Hatteras and Ocracoke for several more weeks until a contractor can clear out the channel.
Problems have persisted in the ferry channel since Hurricane Irene in 2011, especially in a tight dogleg where depths can be as little 4 feet.
Hurricane Sandy and a succession of nor’easters worsened the problem, the North Carolina Ferry Service said in a statement Friday.
The channel falls under the the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has contracted with a Chesapeake company to pull sand out of the channel with a pipeline dredge.
Ferry service has been suspended daily because of low water, the ferry service said.
Ferry Director Harold Thomas called on local residents, businesses, restaurants, motels and vacation rental agencies to help spread the word.
“Getting people where they need to go safely is our top priority and we want to get the word out that conditions at the inlet can change in an instant,” Thomas said.
Travelers can sign-up to receive messages on Twitter by going to www.twitter.com/ncdot_ferry or by calling the Hatteras terminal at (252) 986-2353 for updates.