"Since the mid-1920s, ferries have connected the coastal communities of Eastern North Carolina. The original ferries were privately operated. Although they provided few passenger amenities, they were vital to life in the region's small communities. Ferries provided transportation for goods, medical supplies and other services needed for everyday life.
In 1934, the state of North Carolina began subsidizing these private services. The North Carolina Department of Transportation established the N. C. Ferry Division in 1947.
Today, North Carolina boasts one of the largest ferry systems in the United States. Each year 2.5 million residents and visitors ride the ferries."