The National Park Service has awarded Island Express Ferry Service the contract to provide passenger ferry service to all of Shackleford Banks and the Cape Lookout area of South Core Banks, starting in 2014.
The ferries will depart from the Town of Beaufort and Harkers Island.
The Town of Beaufort will provide the Beaufort Ferry Gateway; the gateway will be located at the Beaufort Town Hall located on Front Street. The gateway will include a Visitor Information Center located in the Beaufort Town Hall with exhibits about the park; restrooms accessible docks, outdoor exhibits and there will be flexible parking arrangements for ferry passengers.
At the Harkers Island Visitor Center, the NPS is making progress on facility improvements. These facilities include: accessible docks, a shade shelter, outdoor exhibits on the park and a ferry ticket booth. Future planned improvements include: increased parking and improved connections to the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center and the park's picnic area.
The NPS requested proposals for the ferry service contract in February 2013. Up until now, that service is handled by private companies, which will be put out of business.
The NPS has not said how much the contract is for with Island Express Ferry Service.