Ferry businesses along the coast impacted by Maria

CARTERET COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT)–The potential for heavy winds and rains off our coast from Maria is already affecting some coastal ferry businesses.

The Island Ferry Express decided to stop operation until Friday out of an abundance of caution. It runs to Cape Lookout and Shackleford Banks from Beaufort and Harkers Island. Captain George Aswad says safety is his top priority. His crews were out on Monday adding extra lines to its boats and prepping for potential heavy winds.

“We put some extra lines on the Crystal Coast Lady, and we put extra lines on the ferry,” Captain Aswad said.  “It’s always better to be a little safe than sorry.”

Of course closing down means losing revenue. The Island Ferry Express refunded all customers’ reservations while it remains closed.

Some ferry businesses remained open on Monday. The Water Bug and Island Ferry Adventures are keeping an eye on the weather.

“The only reason we will shut down is if it’s thundering and lightning,” Heather Poling, Island Ferry Adventures, said. “We tell people when you wake up if you don’t like the weather wait 5 minutes.”

But the businesses are still losing revenue because vacationers aren’t making reservations out of fear of hazardous weather, she said. Lookout Cruises decided to stay closed on Monday because of the lack of reservations.

Vacationers along the coast are making the best of the situation.

“We’re touring Beaufort, Morehead City, Emerald Isle and Atlantic Beach to do whatever beachy things we can do in the meantime until the ferries are running again,” Julie Stanyard, a vacationer from Greensboro, said.

“There’s a ton to do in the area that doesn’t really matter if it’s raining or not,” Quinn Banning-Arndt, a vacationer from Raleigh, said.

Even with the loss of revenue, Captain Aswad says it’s better to be safe than sorry.

“You might lose one day here or one day there but in the long run it might save your life,” he said. “So it’s always better to be cautious.”



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