Ferries delayed due to high water levels

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The Southport-Fort Fisher Ferry will start its summer schedule a few days early on Saturday, March 30. Photo courtesy NCDOT.
The Southport-Fort Fisher Ferry. Photo courtesy NCDOT.

Boat commuters may have noticed a spike in ferry route suspensions in the last couple of weeks. The Southport – Fort Fisher ferry, for instance, has had delays or cancellations every day this week so far.

According to N.C. Department of Transportation Ferry Division Communications Officer Tim Hass, this is yet another side effect of the large amounts of rainfall the state has gotten over the last couple of weeks. River levels are high due to the rain, and receding flood waters will have to flow into something to reach the ocean.

“If a river gets too high, we can’t get boats under the ramp [that cars use to board the ferries],” Hass said. “This happens mostly during high tide.”

Hass said this isn’t just a problem for commuters on the Cape Fear River. Routes on the Neuse and Pamlico rivers have also been affected. Higher than normal tides, which have also caused flooding on Pleasure Island and other islands, have also not helped.

Hass said he’s not sure when the schedule interruptions will end, but residents and visitors planning on riding the ferries should check the NCDOT Ferry Division’s social media sites for the latest changes.

“This will keep happening until all that water goes down,” Hass said. “Our team does a good job of putting our latest updates on our Twitter page. That’s the best place to see all the changes.”