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Elizabeth II Departs for Long-Needed Repairs

The Elizabeth II cruises past the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse Tuesday. The ship has a diesel motor to supplement its sails in this video courtesy of

Reprinted from OBX Today

After long-awaited dredging of the channels in Shallowbag Bay and Roanoke Sound, the representative 16th-century sailing ship Elizabeth II departed Roanoke Island Festival Park Tuesday morning for its first maintenance haul out since 2017.

The North Carolina General Assembly approved $1.9 million to pay for the dredging of 2.2 miles of the waterways off Manteo, while another $170,000 came from the state’s Shallow Draft Navigation Fund and the town of Manteo.

A contractor from South Carolina began digging out the channels in late December and planned to complete the work this week.

The wooden-hulled Elizabeth II was built by hand at what is now the site of the Roanoke Island Maritime Museum using privately-raised funds, and was launched in 1984 as part of the 400th anniversary celebration of the Roanoke Voyages to the New World.

It was then donated to the state and became part of the attractions at Roanoke Island Festival Park across Dough’s Creek from the Manteo waterfront and operated by the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Kim Sawyer, executive director of Roanoke Island Festival Park, said the ship will be hauled out at a boatyard in Wanchese for a variety of repairs to the hull.

Park staff and volunteers with the Friends of Elizabeth II, many whom make up the crew of the ship, will be documenting with video and social media posts the work that will be taking place during the haul out.

Plans are for the Elizabeth II to return to its home port in about three weeks, just ahead of the park opening for 2021, Sawyer said.

For more details about Roanoke Island Festival Park, visit

OBX Today is the community website of JAM Media Solutions’ Outer Banks radio stations: Beach 104, 94.5 WCMS, 99.1 The Sound and Classic Rock 92.3. The website is managed by local newsman Sam Walker and journalist Kari Pugh. Coastal Review Online is partnering with OBX Today to provide our readers with more environmental and lifestyle stories of interest about our coast. 

About the Author

Sam Walker

Sam Walker is the news director of Max Radio of the Carolinas and a staff writer for the "Outer Banks Voice."