BALD HEAD ISLAND, NC (WECT) - A new mainland ferry terminal opened to the public Tuesday for Bald Head Island.
The terminal at Deep Point Marina is 40,000 square feet and consists of two levels, with arrivals and departures on separate levels.
It features an automatic baggage transfer system that will move bags from the upper departure level to the lower arrivals level for loading to the ferry.
The terminal will also feature a snack bar, which will offer grab-and-go food options as well as soft drinks, beer, wine, and coffee.
"It's a far upgraded experience," said Bald Head Island resident Mark Mitchell. "We have a café and a deck where they can see the boats come and go, and the baggage handling is a lot more efficient."
"The new Bald Head Island Deep Point Marina is NICE!" said @millieholloman on Twitter.
The new terminal replaces the ferry operations from Indigo Plantation and Marina, and will ultimately house a number of other functions including administrative offices, a marine maintenance facility, and an 82-slip marina.
Resident Mark Mitchell is picking up the bill for the nearly $8.5 million building.
"Once all of the improvements are in, the new buildings, the parking lots, the harbor master building, we will be in upwards of $23 million," said Jim Henry, Director of Planning for Bald Head Island Limited in a statement. "The new facility is thoroughly modern, and will prove an easier loading and unloading experience as well as providing larger and more comfortable waiting spaces. During high traffic times, the facility will allow for more passengers to move through the space, which we hope will elevate the ferry experience for our passengers."
Deep Point Marina is located at 1301 Ferry Road in Southport, just before the state-operated Southport-Fort Fisher Ferry landing. A ferry schedule for passenger ferry service to Bald Head Island can be downloaded from www.ferrytobhi.com.
Right now the ferry is scheduled to leave every hour on the hour, but there is talk the ferry could soon leave every half hour because of the size of the terminal.