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The Salty Southeast
Cruisers' Net
Cruisers Helping Cruisers

Archive For: NORTH CAROLINA – All Cruising News

  • Unhappy Dismal Swamp Canal Traveler, AICW Alternate Route

    Most of the reports we receive from Dismal Swamp travelers are downright amorous! See There are occasions, after high winds or high water, when the canal may be trashed with extra debris and duckweed, see In fact, it is sometimes closed to order for the ACOE to remove excess debris. Obviously, Captain Grimes came through at one of those congested times, and I hope you will join me in encouraging Captain Grimes to give the Great Dismal Swamp Canal another chance! It is a favorite part of the Waterway for many folks.
    A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center lies along the eastern banks of the Dismal Swamp Canal at statute mile 28.

    We traveled southbound in August, 2012, at < 6 knots with two of us on the flybridge looking for debris in the water. We hit no fewer than 5 submerged objects. Fortunately, our hull sustained no damage, but we will not venture into the Dismal Swamp Canal again. We saw numerous floating logs tied to brush along the bank with flimsy rope.
    Capt. David Grimes

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center

  • Good Words for River Dunes Marina and Staff, AICW Statute Mile 173.5

    River DunesRiver Dunes Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, is located off the north side of the AICW’s run along Neuse River, in Broad Creek between the creek’s markers, #1 and #2.

    Left River Dunes yesterday heading for our home marina in Beaufort, NC.
    We were 4-5 hours away and decided to stay 2 nights at this high end marina because it is so nice. The pool, the staff, the cabanas, the hot tubs, the porches, the quiet places to unwind…well you get the picture. One morning a dock hand was walking the dock “knocking down the spider webs” to keep up the appearance of this beautiful place. Truly a little piece of heaven so very close to home.
    Thank you River Dunes staff!
    Richard Becker

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For River Dunes Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of River Dunes Marina

  • More Good Words for Alligator River Marina, AICW Statute Mile 84

    As we have said many times, it’s always good to hear good things about Miss Wanda and her crew! Alligator River Marina lies on the western shore of the mouth of the Alligator River/AICW, just north of the swing bridge and southwest of flashing daybeacon #12. This facility provides the ONLY readily available dockage and fuel along the patch of the AICW between Coinjock, Elizabeth City and Dowry Creek/Belhaven!

    We stayed in Alligator River Marina for the first time June 11 and 12, 2014. The entrance is well marked. The 17 or so individual docks are on starboard as you enter. The first few are longer and have four posts on each side. The smaller docks are further in and have three posts on each side. Most of the posts have cleats on them. The bulkhead is supported by a line or rip-rap so be careful backing in. The piers are about 25 feet long. The rest of the marina has alongside tie-up with ample power stations.
    A slender man named Logan came to greet us and help with our lines. I could hear the hospitality in his southern drawl. He was knowledgeable about clove-hiches and spring lines.
    We met Wanda in the restaurant and she was sweet as southern tea to us. She told of the recent death of a local favorite alligator called ‘Cheeseburger”. He had wandered onto the highway one night and was hit by a passing car. Pictures on the wall of the restaurant tell the story of him and the many black bears that live nearby.
    They have free Wi-Fi but we never used it. We did use the roomy boater’s lounge with Dish TV. The restrooms, washers/dryers are in the same house north of the boat ramp.
    I loved watching the moonrise at the end of the long pier that looks over the river.
    We recommend this marina and hope to get back in the fall.
    Max Miller

    On our way North this spring we attempted to anchor in the alligator river but the wind was too strong and getting stronger – the radio was busy with boaters looking for alternatives – we hailed the marina and were told there was plenty of room with a side too tie up we requested. The marina is very sheltered and well taken care of – Wanda is great – and for all those who still like good old fashioned marketing and customer service I got a card from Wanda thanking me for using the marina!!!!
    Wells Moore “Flying Corgi”

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Alligator River Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Alligator River Marina

  • Successful Low Tide Passage through New River Inlet/AICW Problem Stretch Intersection, AICW Statute Mile 246

    The Waterway typically shoals either immediately north or south of the four-way intersection with New River and New River Inlet. Dredging at this intersection was begun in November of 2012 and was to have been completed by February of 2013.

    June 12. On advise from TowboatUS heading north, kept two Green markers just off to starboard, then hard right past red to my port. Went through with no problem at dead low tide. His advice, don’t inadvertently cut a green, which is mistake many make. Lowest depth I read was approx. 7 feet. I was on a Catalina 42, 5 Ft. wing keel.
    Dan O’Brien

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For New River/New River Inlet

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To This AICW Problem Stretch

  • Shoaling Reported South of Morehead City, AICW Statute Mile 210

    This reported shoaling is west of Morehead City in a long narrow channel in the open waters of Bogue Sound, where the Waterway runs east/west. Marker #7 sits on the south side of the channel opposite the mouth to Peletier Creek. If you have also experienced shallow water at this spot, let us hear from you.

    Shoaling in the channel Bogue Sound, NC near mile 210 south of Beaufort, NC. Ran aground near G”7″ today. Seems the spoil area has spilled into the channel. We were slightly right of center in the channel, mid tide rising (2.5′ above MLW) when our 6′ draft sailboat was brought to an abrupt haul. It was sand or silt and were able to get free without a problem, but the new shoal extended to near the center of the channel. A large catamaran with 4′ draft was two miles behind us, that we were unable to contact on VHF, also ran aground on the same shoal.
    Recommend cruisers be alerted to favor the red side for 12′ plus depths north of mile marker 210 until past G”7″.
    Pete Peterson

    We ditto the comment. We got to the green side at this same marker and were in 4.5 feet of water at near low tide.
    John Winter

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Shoaling

  • Report from West Thorofare Bay – West Bay Anchorage, off the AICW, on Pamlico Sound

    This anchorage is west of West Thorofare Bay’s #11WB marker; West Thorofare Bay lies south of West Bay; West Bay cuts the extreme southern shore of Pamlico Sound. We don’t hear much about this anchorage, so we are grateful to Skipper Merriman for this report.

    First of all, shame on me for my poor chart reading. This anchorage is a long way off Pamlico Sound.
    The route in is fairly easy with a chart plotter. Had plenty of water under the boat all the way in. There was 8 feet of water in the anchorage.
    The winds were out of the West @ 21kts when I anchored and got settled in. The boat did a lot of swinging and turning. Not much bouncing though which was nice. Some time during the night I dragged the anchor a bit. When I hoisted the anchor this morning, it came up clean so I am unable to say what the bottom is like. Grass maybe??
    This anchorage is in a marsh. There is no “land” nearby, so there is no stretching your legs or giving your pets a break.
    I was in the anchorage by myself. Had one boat come by the next morning. Other than that it was peaceful.
    The Air Force bombing range was active but too far away to see anything.
    W. Merriman, s/v Sheila B

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For West Thorofare Bay

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of West Thorofare Bay
    34 56.585 North/076 23.529 West

  • Good Words for Wrightsville Beach Bridge Tender, AICW Statute Mile 283.1

    The US 74 Bridge has a closed vertical clearance of 20ft and crosses the Waterway in the heart of Wrightsville Beach. For a Local Notice regarding a reduction in clearance in June, see

    The Wrightsville Beach Bridge is operating on it’s published schedule. I arrived there at 1300 today in time for its regular opening. The bridge tender was helpful and courteous. He tried four times to contact a sailboat captain who was having radio trouble and even delayed the opening so the sailboat could make it. One o’clock is .9 foot from high tide and the bridge markers showed 16 foot clearance. I confirmed that with the bridge tender. Since the bascule bridge was shaped like an arch I asked the tender if there was any more room to work with. He stated that was all he could say because of “liability”. I believe there was about two feet more in the center. In fact the NOAA chart shows a 20 foot vertical clearance.
    John Rollison

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Bridge Directory Listing For SR 74 Bridge

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of SR 74 Bridge

  • Report from AICW/Browns Inlet Intersection Problem Stretch, Statute Mile 237

    Skipper Matthews sends a fresh report on a Problem Stretch south of Swansboro. The intersection of the Waterway and Browns Inlet has been the site of shoaling for some time, as well as a mysterious underwater hazard.

    Came through here on May 25, 2014 at 745am. This one spot is mentioned here as a problem. Most advice says “stay to the red side” which I have during 4 passages without incident. However this last Sunday, going southbound, I passed a trawler going northbound a few miles south of this spot. Later on channel 16, I heard his call to USCG and his tow service with the words “engine runs but prop not turning”. As USCG was contacting him and asking him to verify his position, he did. N34,36.41, W077,13.84. The same spot.
    There are multiple references which mention bent shafts and struts, and damaged props. Most shoaling reports merely mention that someone got stuck or kicked up some mud. This is one of the few that consistently mentions damaged hardware.
    On a prior visit, I photoed a tug stuck here:
    Notice the prop wash to the side. I hailed him but no answer. Saw him later heading south, obviously freed.
    Ben Matthews

    Came through that spot (Browns Inlet) at low tide with no problem. Draft 5 feet. May 30, 2014.
    Raymond W. Smith – The “Firer Dog”

    We went through the Brown Inlet area (marker 63) May 23 at near low tide with 10 ft at low tide. Just follow the marks. The problem is the temporary red and green are way off the normal channel and look like the are for a side channel. They are also in a straight line but they are for the intracoastal waterway marks.
    Henry Booke

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For the AICW/Browns Inlet Intersection

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To This AICW Problem Stretch

  • Report from New River Marina, AICW Statute Mile 247

    New River Marina overlooks the Waterway’s western banks just north of marker #4 at Sneads Ferry, which has long had a reputation as a source for good fuel prices.

    Stopped here Memorial Day weekend. Very popular, about 3 boats lined up behind us for fuel 5 minutes after we tied up. Very rustic. Fixed fuel dock. Fast diesel pumps. cheap fuel but they will charge 7% tax with an old calculator. Be alert for this calculation and CHECK it. Young girl behind the counter doing the calculation charged me 40% tax with the old calculator (twice). I showed her the calculator on my phone for the true 7% (which, to be honest, not sure if that rate was right or not for diesel?) So it’s not really $3.58 (of this writing), they add on tax. Be advised pulling straight out from the dock can put you in 4 foot of water for a brief moment. Better to turn hard after untying and leave with the dock at your stern.
    Ben Matthews

    Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For New River Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of New River Marina

  • Shortcut Tested, Snows Cut/CapeFear River Intersection, AICW Statute Mile 299

    This shortcut that runs northwest from the western end of Snows Cut to the Wilmington bound Cape Fear River has been a temptation and a hazard for several years, see Skipper Matthews did not leave all his good sense behind, because he went slowly, kept an eye on the depthfinder, was able to do a 180 and escape the shoal. It’s a tough rule to remember, but all charted channels are not necessarily navigable.

    I left good sense behind and tried this channel Memorial Day weekend 2014. It dropped to 3 foot fast! Was lucky enough to turn around and make it back to deep water after a good barnacle scraping. I draw 3-1/2 feet.
    Ben Matthews

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Non- Shortcut

  • More Good Words for Bridgeton Harbor Marina, Bridgeton, NC, on the Neuse River off the AICW

    We continue to hear good things about this marina in Bridgeton, across the Neuse River from New Bern, NC. Cruisers heading upstream to New Bern on Neuse River, depart the AICW at the northern entrance to Adams Creek, Statute Mile 185.

    Bridgeton Harbor Marina has the best, bar none, slips and piers of any Marina I have been to. The dock master is very helpful and easy to get along with. The live-aboards are open and very helpful. If you want excitement or drama, this is not the place to stay. But for an easy access, non intimidating stay, this is the place.
    Jeff Swanson

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Bridgeton Harbor Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Bridgeton, NC

  • Severe AICW Shoaling at Black Mud Channel (New Topsail Inlet)/AICW Intersection, Statute Mile 270, May 22, 2014

    Late breaking information as of late May, 2014, shows that, very much in keeping with the reports below, shoaling has built up rather alarmingly from the seaward side of the AICW channel, near marker #99A.  It appears that, at the current time, the best plan is to traverse this section mid-way between #99A, and a new dock which will be spied abutting the northwestern banks. HOWEVER, it is also possible to get too close to the mainland shoreline.
    We strongly suggest that all cruising craft traverse this troubled intersection at idle speed, and preferably as near to high tide as possible!
    Good luck, you may need it!

    New Topsail is a problem a hundred yards before 99A till you clear 99 by the same distance. On 4-22-14 our sailing vessel with a 4′ 3″ draft was temporarily grounded on the green side of the channel. This happened very near low tide. Passage is no problem at this time if vessels run the red side of the channel close to the many docks on that side. At the time of our grounding another sailboat with a draft of 6′ 7″ ran the “red side” without a problem.
    We were able to hoist our sails to free the vessel and also passed through staying close to the various docks on the red side (extreme left side of marked channel).
    Jim Murtha

    Hello Claiborne,
    Transiting Topsail Sound today at 11:26 AM. Sailboat was hard aground inside the channel at green marker 99A, Topsail inlet area. He called us and advised taking green with wide berth. The skipper was awaiting tide and expected to be able to get off by @ 2:00 PM. We passed by and saw 6 feet abeam of him.
    Michele Boulay
    SV Simple Life

    Transited this area 5/22/14 about 8AM. G 99A was waaay over on the north/mainland side, only about 150′ from the shore where a dock is under construction. We honored the buoy, squeezed in between the buoy and the construction, and saw 8′ depth (reduced to MLW). The current LNM lists 99A as “damaged” but not “off station.”
    Larry Shick

    Just in case it hasn’t been reported, as of 5/15/14, there is extreme shoaling just north of Wrightsville Beach, NC at marker number 99A, where Black Mud Channel enters the ICW. Vessels drawing more than 3 feet, maybe less, must stay to the extreme west side of the channel. This is the red side, but no red marker is located at this position.
    Rudy and Jill
    Deltaville, VA

    Black Mud Channel – 5 foot draft sailboat transited one hour before high tide on 5/17 and saw only 7 feet on extreme left side of the channel off the docks.
    Jane Fulton

    We passed here headed north on 5/27/2014. We were directly in between the green marker, and the new dock, and had 6′ under our boat at low tide. The channel is quite narrow. The green buoy will look out of place as it is so far toward the red side, but it is not.
    Berwick Duval

    AICW Black Mud Channel MM 270
    We can confirm that 99A has been moved. On June 1/14 We passed half way between 99A and the docks, and saw 8ft MLW. This passage is very narrow.
    Richard Ross M/V Chez Nous

    I later passed by markers 99 and 99a at exact high tide (1425). I have a four foot draft and passed through the area without incident. I honored the green markers at about 20 feet. During the passage I never showed less than 9 feet of depth. There is a boat docked at marker 99a with its bow protruding into the new channel.
    One boat can easily pass while two could be a problem.
    Thanks again for your great service.
    Jack Rollison
    Amanda J
    Nordic Tug 37

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position at AICW/New Topsail Inlet

  • New Video Shows Why You SHOULD “Do the Dismal”

    Set in beautiful Camden Count, NC, the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center provides free dockage for cruisers' on the Dismal Swamp AICW Alternate RoutePLEASE, if you have even the slightest interest in ever cruising the Dismal Swamp Canal AICW Alternate Route, follow the link below to see a truly amazing video. The talented sailors who put this together employed one of those new drones for aerial photography. And, in addition to the canal itself, there are some truly stunning aerial shots of our good friends at the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center! DON’T MISS THIS ONE!!!

  • Pleasant Visit to Columbia City Dock, Columbia, NC, on the Scuppernong River

    Columbia City Dock – Click for Chartview

    We wish more cruisers would choose to depart the familiar confines of the AICW, and cruise west on Albemarle Sound to this impressive body of water’s many anchorages and ports of call. The Scuppernong River, which makes into the sounds southern banks, west of Alligator River, is one of the best destinations for Albemarle Sound cruising, and the free (for 48-hour) Columbia Town Docks are a great place to rest from your travels. Or, you could choose to pick up a wet slip at Cypress Cove Marina (see below). Either way, it’s well worth your time, IF the Albemarle does not have its dander up!

    We spent the 17th and 18th at the Columbia town docks. This is a very nice place to visit. The docks are limited in space with room for just 3 or 4 boats. Because of this we had to raft next to a friends boat as all the space was full.
    Because it was Saturday no one was at the office but bathroom was open and clean and it has a very nice shower.
    We had a great meal that night at Old Salt Oyster Bar and Sunday morning we had a good breakfast at Mikes.
    All in all this is a very good place to cruise into and stay for a night or two.
    Danny Styons

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For the Columbia City Docks

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Columbia City Docks

  • Summer and Fall Excitement in Manteo, NC, Pamlico Sound

    Manteo Waterfront Marina - Click for Chartview

    Manteo Waterfront Marina – Click for Chartview

    Manteo Waterfront Marina is now run by the Town of Manteo.  It boasts 53 slips that can accommodate boats up to 140 feet.  The marina is situated right next to  historic downtown Manteo on a boardwalkWaterfront Marina is located on the western shores of Doughs Creek, northwest of Shallowbag Bay marker #10, off Roanoke Sound, and north of the great Pamlico Sound.
    Our thanks to Assistant Dockmaster, George Barr, for sending this list of waterfront activities. Note especially the need to reserve a slip immediately for July 4th! Manteo

    I’ve also enclosed a list of special events in Manteo for the summer & fall that boaters will want to be aware of:
    Manteo Special Events Summer/Fall 2014
    *Saturdays…8am till noon Downtown Manteo Farmer’s Market…produce, crafts, gifts
    *First Friday…of every month 6PM, great street music, merchants hospitality &specials&late hours
    *Dare Day… June 7th, art, crafts, special events, kid fun and street food.
    *July 4th… Take a trip back to the 1950’s with an old fashioned 4th..FIREWORKS SHOW and events all day.
    Minimum 2 day reservation for boaters. Almost FULL as of 5/14…reserve NOW!
    *New World Art Festival…dockside August 13/14…wonderful art and crafts of all kinds.
    George Barr

    Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Manteo Waterfront Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Manteo, NC

  • Manteo Waterfront Marina Produces Superb Video Showing How to Run the Shallowbag Bay Entrance Channel (Roanoke Sound, NC)

    Manteo Waterfront Marina is now run by the Town of Manteo.  It boasts 53 slips that can accommodate boats up to 140 feet.  The marina is situated right next to  historic downtown Manteo on a boardwalk
    SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Manteo Waterfront Marina has produced a really useful video about how to successfully navigate the Shallowbag Bay entrance channel from the waters of Roanoke Sound to the Manteo waterfront. Not only does the commentator describe the channel via NOAA Chart 12205, but there is a HIGHLY useful on-the-water sequence where navigators can visually  review exactly what they will see from the water while running the channel.
    This video is especially useful for these waters, as they are populated by a huge collection of aids to navigation, some of which are founded in shoal water, and the channel is narrow, in spots, and changeable.
    So, if you have any idea of visiting the popular port of call in Manteo, NC, may we strongly urge you to follow this link!

    Thank you so much Claiborne and Manteo Marina. I’ve approached that turn several times with my heart in my throat because of uncertainty with all those markers. I’ll be there next week once again, but this time, I’ll be confident thanks to the video.
    Dick Mills

  • Reports From Beaufort Town Docks (Statute Mile 201)


    SSECN Contributing Editor – Captain Jim Healy

    As some of you may remember, this past fall, the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net published a partially negative review concerning Beaufort Town Docks, authored by SSECN frequent contributors, Skippers Chuck Baier and Susan Landry. This veteran cruising duo stopped here, and made their report, at my suggestion to do so.
    The reason for this commission was that, about a year ago, we began, for the first time, receiving several negative reviews of this facility from fellow cruisers. I must admit to being thunderstruck. Beaufort, NC was, and IS, one of my very favorite ports of call, anytime, anywhere. Everyone here knows me on sight, so that is why I asked Susan and Check for a review.
    Several cruisers, and particularly Beaufort Town Dock employees, objected to Susan and Chuck’s review as too negative, and not really fair. We eventually withdrew publication of this story at the specific request of Chuck and Susan.
    So, this year, in a conversation with new Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net Contributing Editor (more about this later), Jim Healy, I asked him, if it proved to be convenient, to stop by Beaufort, and share his impressions. As you will see below, this veteran cruiser has presented a largely positive, but, it is only fair to say, also a mixed review of Beaufort Town Docks.

    We bought our Sanctuary in June, 2004. We finished re-fit, commissioned and splashed by the last week of September, 2004. New to boating and cruising, we spent the winter of 2004-05 in North Carolina, first in New Bern and then in Morehead City. During that winter, we also discovered Beaufort, a rustic and historic seafarers and mercantile community.
    Beaufort is not far from the ICW route, but we haven’t visited there in several years. We do stop in Morehead City so I can visit the very best marine “toy store” on the US East Coast, “Ace Marine and Rigging,” which is just a short walk across Arundel Street from the Sanitary Restaurant’s dock. This trip northbound, we decided to divert and visit Beaufort.
    The many mercantile establishments in Beaufort carry a full range of upscale millenaries, clothing, gifts, bric-à-brac, curiosities and books. Merchandise prices are high; we observed “full retail price” in all shoppes, and “well above MSRP” in many. There is a very nice Maritime Museum on Front St. Since we last visited Beaufort, the Post Office has relocated, an inconvenience for those afoot. Local restaurants offer a fine range of victuals. We visited Clawsons for lunch, and were disappointed to find they have dropped their signature “Dirigible” from their menu. Fortunately, their selection of craft beers somewhat compensated; somewhat. We thoroughly enjoyed an excellent ribeye steak dinner at the Grocery Company on Queen St.
    Access to the “Beaufort City Docks” from the Beaufort Inlet is easy. During our visit, two megayachts made overnight stops. Approach depths to 12 ft and slip depths to 7 ft are fine for cruising boats. Taylor Creek currents are moderate. The marina is exposed to winds with an easterly component. The facility has widely separated infrastructure features. Modern, floating docks are in good condition. In-slip fueling and pumpout are available. Fairways and slips are commodious. Shower house/bathrooms are clean and functional in a 1940s high-school locker room style, but are located at the far western end of the facility, so can be a long walk. Complimentary wi-fi is provided and adequate for email and web browsing. There is a well worn courtesy car. Courtesy car use is complimentary and car availability was excellent; finding a place to park it on return was tedious. Net transient pricing (dockage plus electric) is above regional averages, even after organization discounts are applied. On a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being excellent, I’d rate the marina facility as a 7; OK, but overpriced.
    We arrived at the Beaufort City Docks at noon on Thursday. We stayed two nights and felt we had had two very different customer experiences. The reservation process was easy. When we arrived, slip assignment went smoothly. Docking assistance and electric set-up was excellent. It was our impression that there are two separate “crews” of dock attendants and office staff which I will call “Team 1” and “Team 2.” Team 1 – our Thursday experience – was welcoming, friendly, responsive and helpful. They offered local information they knew we would want but did not know to ask about. They smiled and laughed a lot. Team 2 – our Friday experience – was markedly different. They were indifferent and remote. There was no smiling. We asked for information about the Beaufort drawbridge operation and the northbound “Russell Slough” (pronounced: SLEW) navigation channel. “Team 2” pointed to a sheet on the wall. No Captain’s handout was available. We were entirely “on our own” to find a place to park the car. We circled the town for 20 minutes, and finally found a spot two blocks from the marina. “Team 2” made it clear – “if looks could kill” – they were annoyed that we had left the car “so far away.” Our net is, the customer experience that a transient boater might have at the Beaufort City Docks is mixed, and seems to depend on which crew of attendants (and which attitude) is on duty. On a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being excellent, I’d rate “Team 1” as a 10. “Team 2,” well, not so much.

    Well done review, though I would caution that the term “moderate” for the current in Taylor Creek probably depends on when you hit it. I have seen large powerboats have difficulty getting in and out when the current is full tilt and the wind is blowing. My advice to sailors is to time your arrival or departure for slack tide and wind, if at all possible. Anchoring for a short while to await better conditions can sometimes make the difference between a safe landing and an expensive mistake. Also, this is often the first strong current docking experience for many ICW newbies coming from the north where marinas tend to not be situated in current-swept locations for the most part. It’s good practice for places further south on the ICW where currents can be even stronger.
    John kettlewell

    We have stopped at Beaufort Town Docks many times in the past. The last time was in April 2010. Since then, we have regretfully by- passed this wonderful town. We simply will not pay the exorbitant price for a marina that has so little to offer but a superb location. On our 2009- 2010 cruise to Florida, Beaufort Town Docks was the MOST expensive marina we stayed in in four months. When we were there the last time, it was almost empty. Did the cost have something to do with this?
    Norman Mason
    Peggy Sue, Monk 36
    Norfolk, VA

    Having just returned from three nights in Beaufort I can report that we had a great time. The dock masters were extremely cordial and caring and handled any need. They checked on us several times and as we watched others come and go they paid them the same attention. Beaufort remains our favorite destination, besides Ocracoke, on the North Carolina coast.
    John Rebholz

    I arrived at Beaufort Marina on Fri. and experienced crew #2. I totally agree with Jim that there seemed to be an attitude. I think everybody not only wants to deal with competent dock helpers, which crew #2 certainly was, but also wants to feel welcome and treated like the reason for their employment instead of an interruption to their day.
    Joe Apicella

    Just amazes me as the the pettiness of many boaters..sometimes I feel reading this various reports that boaters expect these docks to be 5 star hotels with all the amenities of them. If i can talk to someone, make a reservation, someone meets to grasp a line , and get my power plugged in….i am happy.
    I will bet if i flew into any airport in any city, I would be standing around figuring out what and where.
    PS: BEEN at these docks several time and enjoyed the experience which it is if the current is running!
    Larry Hemmerick

    I’ve gone to Beaufort Town Docks since the 90s. Know it from dock and shore.
    1. It’s expensive by comparison to all other locations within 200 miles.
    2. Roll the dice on whether they’re friendly or not. Honestly.
    3. The bath/shower by comparison to other locations is horrible.
    4. Great location.
    5. Shops are tourist traps, not for bargain seekers.
    6. Some of the best restaurants around. But you have to look and ask.
    If they fix the showers to compare with other local marinas, and get rid of some of the goober, huckster dock-hand behaviors, they’ll be awesome. Not $2.75 awesome, but pretty awesome. Many of their staff are very good, helpful folks, but they’ve got a knucklehead or two they should wish “good luck in your future endeavors”.
    Ben Matthews

    Beaufort Docks has a great location adjacent to a very nice town. We stayed here one night, and the dockhands were courteous and helpful. We dined at the Blue Moon Bistro, and had a wonderful meal. Walking the town and taking in the shops was easy, and the marina had a loaner car we used to provision. We did not use the showers or laundry, so can’t comment on them. The docks are in decent shape, and easy in and out if you know how to play the current.
    About $140 for one night (for a 48’ trawler), however, is a bit steep. Bald Head Island Marina just south was $100 a night. But, due to the location, the owner gets his price, and such is life. My only complaint was the pumpout. First, the hose was not long enough to reach both sides of my boat (I have two tanks and the caps are port and starboard). After untying and turning the boat around for the second tank, I was charged $10 per tank for a total of $20 for the pumpout. While $20 is not going to break the bank, it left a bad taste and is indicative of poor management. Had the pumpout dock and hose been adequate to handle the situation it would be less obtrusive (even though most pumpouts have been free with a slip rental), but the owner should not be surprised at some of the more negative reviews here and elsewhere. It is the little things which can turn a positive experience into a poor one. With that said, I still give the marina four out of five stars, based on our overall positive experience.
    Berwick Duval

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Beaufort Town Docks

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Beaufort Town Docks

  • The Primadonna Saga Continues, from Oriental, NC to Nassau

    Toucan Grill and Fresh Bar in Oriental, NC

    A search for a number of weeks in response to a request ( by Oriental merchant, Pat Stockwell, the errant sailing vessel, Primadonna, and her crew have been found.. Our thanks to Dave Boxmeyer for sending us this update from TownDock,

    It appears that the saga of the S/V Primadonna continues. The crew is in jail in Nassau and their boat has been stripped. And now it seems that the French government has gotten involved.
    While it is hard to feel any sympathy for the Primadonna’s crew, based on there stay in Oriental; I have absolutely no respect for the crew of the Fata Morgana. Things are pretty bad when we have started to eat our own.
    Dave Boxmeyer

    Very interesting–thanks for the follow up. For some reading this I think there is some grey area here. For example, I remember seeing an intact motorboat washed up on the rocks in New England and by the morning it was toothpicks and an engine sitting on the reef. It might have been better to try to salvage some things off the boat before it became trash on the rocks. Sometimes it is hard to tell when a boat has been truly abandoned. I personally would not take to salvaging stuff unless I had the owner’s or the insurance company’s permission or somehow knew for certain that the boat was abandoned, but how would you ever know? Also, most of us are used to being in a country where a boat like Primadonna wouldn’t stay there for long, someone would come with a towboat and take it away. In the Out Islands of the Bahamas salvage would likely have been more expensive than the worth of the vessel, so essentially it was just trash on the reef.
    John Kettlewell

    We do not know the vessels involved but before we pass judgement, does anyone have relevant information as to what is correct in Bahamian & maritime law/rights? The vessel will most likely never be salvaged out there so who can give us more information? How does Dave know what went on and anything else that is pertinent.
    Dick Anderson

  • Another Vote For a Visit to Washington, NC

    Whether you want to revisit the past or satisfy your curiosities, discover the arts or explore your true nature, you can do it from the heart of the Inner Banks - Washington, North Carolina. 800 546 0 Skipper Susan Landry, co-owner of Beach House Publications, producers of the notable “Great Books of Anchorages” series, confirms what MANY have said before. It’s well worth all cruisers’ time to get off the familiar confines of the AICW, and cruise upstream on charming Pamlico River to the excellent city docks on Washington, NC’s downtown waterfront. And, these fine folks are a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET sponsor!!!

    We enjoy side trips off the ICW instead of just rushing north and south. One recent side trip we took was to Washington, NC. The free town docks are in a well protected basin and across the street from the historic district.
    Susan Landry

    How are the plans going for the new shower facilities in Washington? I think they would really help make the trip worth the extra effort.
    Dick Parker


    Washington City Docks

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For the Washington City Docks

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Washington, NC

  • Report from National Park Service Docks in Ocracoke, Pamilco Sound, NC

    Silver Lake - Click for Chartview

    Silver Lake – Click for Chartview

    The Ocracoke National Park Service Docks lie on the northern shores of Ocracoke’s Silver Lake, just east of the harbor entrance.

    Ocracoke Park Service Docks
    At the moment we are tied up at the Park Service Dock. We are waiting for someone official to throw us out. The docks are in sound shape but under construction. There are new cleats, large enough to hold a battleship and new fire extinguishers. That is it, no water or electricity. The lady in the office told us we had to move but at the moment we are under a tornado watch. With the heavy weather coming I prefer to remain. Which we shall until someone official throws us out. Our government at work; leave a perfectly good dock to anchor out in bad weather. makes you feel good to know these people always have your best interest at heart.
    Dave Boxmeyer

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Ocracoke National Park Service Docks

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Ocracoke National Park Service Docks

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