Posted on May 18, 2022
Hatteras Inlet is a 2.3-mile-wide waterway that is located on the southern Outer Banks of North Carolina and separates Hatteras Island from Ocracoke Island, which is situated in neighboring Hyde County. The inlet was formed when a strong hurricane struck the coast of North Carolina in September 1846—the same storm that caused the formation of Oregon Inlet on the northern end of Hatteras Island.
Hatteras Inlet is an essential waterway that not only provides direct access from inland ports to the Atlantic Ocean for commercial and recreational fishing vessels—it also serves as the only direct route to the ocean for the U.S. Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet, whose crews require the waterway to be open and accessible in order to perform lifesaving offshore rescue missions.
The dramatically shifting sands and significant amount of shoaling that has taken place within the inlet in recent years, however, has often prevented both Coast Guard crews as well as fishermen and their vessels from being able to safely navigate their way through Hatteras Inlet and out into the Atlantic Ocean.
From commercial fishermen and charter boat operators to the owners of seafood processing houses and marine repair facilities, the multitude of people who rely on this integral waterway in order to sustain their livelihoods are faced with a massive hurdle when it comes to the challenges of navigating Hatteras Inlet.
In an effort to combat the issues associated with shoaling, Dare County has been working diligently to secure adequate funding and the permits that are required to provide proactive dredging within this essential waterway in order to ensure that Coast Guard crews as well as commercial and recreational fishermen have safe and reliable access to the Atlantic Ocean via Hatteras Inlet.