New Outer Banks ferries are bigger, faster and could boost tourism

    <p>A ferry with cars from Ocracoke Island docks in Hatteras, N.C., Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2010. An evacuation of Ocracoke is underway as Hurricane Earl approaches the North Carolina Outer Banks. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome){/p}

    MANNS HARBOR, N.C. (AP) — New ferries will make travel faster around the Outer Banks.

    The Virginian-Pilot reports that the North Carolina Ferry Division is upgrading its fleet.

    A new passenger vessel will be able to carry more people and travel four times faster than conventional ferries. And two new ferries that carry vehicles will be able to transport significantly more cars and people than the boats they are replacing, cutting down on wait times.

    The state's ferry system is the second-largest of its kind in the U.S. and operates 21 ferries on seven regular routes.

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