North Carolina Ferry System A Study

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - ferry, place - north america, organisation - workforce planning, organisation - regulation


ferry, minimum crew, unreliable support vehicles


The North Carolina Department of Transportation Ferry Division faces several challenges. Recent U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) regulations increasing the minimum crew size on vessels carrying more than 149 passengers require the North Carolina Ferry System (NCFS) to add 79 employees. Difficulty in finding additional funds and certified crew to meet these regulations, coupled with reduced NCFS financial allocations from recent state budget cuts, resulted in a reduced number of ferry sailings on some routes during the peak operation period in the summer of 2009. In addition, NCFS experienced challenges from ferry service outages that resulted from the need to operate aging ferry vessels, a lack of standby ferry vessels in case of breakdowns, and vessels out of service as a result of the increased frequency of USCG dry dock inspections. The NCFS must also contend with unreliable support vessels that have exceeded their useful lives and a lack of certified welders and marine electricians to support maintenance functions. However, these resource and operation challenges present an opportunity to analyze existing ferry operations and to explore future opportunities.


Permission to publish abstract has been given by Transportation Research Board, Washington, copyright remains with them.