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McCotters Marina, Washington, NCRiver DunesAn active, gated golf community on the coast of North Carolina, Scotch Hall Preserve offers properties, homes, and other real estate options for those looking to live an active lifestyle.Located on the Southern Outer Banks in beautiful Atlantic Beach, NC, Anchorage Marina boasts a protected, deepwater harbor, making it a perfect spot for deep sea fishing as well as sound fishingR. E. Mayo Docks910-269-2380 The new 82-slip Deep Point Marina is located on the Cape Fear River in Southport, NC, and offers fuel and transient dockage, as well as daily, monthly and annual slip rentals. The marina is adjacent to the new Bald Head Island Ferry Terminal, which houses a snack bar (open seasonally) that offers grab-and-go food options, soft drinks, beer, wine and coffee. In addition, the Deep Point Marina is convenient to Southport's shopping, restaurants and historic district, and offers easy ocean access. Nautical Wheelers - New Bern NCEdenton, NC - the prettiest town in the South!
Bridge Pointe Marina, New Bern, NCDowry Creek MarinaOur marina  is your boating access to Albemarle Sound, the largest freshwater sound in the country—55 miles long and 15 miles at its widest point. Placed strategically at the mouth of Yeopim Creek, the marina is just beyond the high insurance line saving boaters significantly on their insurance rates.Port City Marina - Wilmington, NCMorehead City Yacht BasinToucan Grill and Fresh Bar in Oriental, NCManteo 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 boardwalkSouthport Marina

Archive For: NORTH CAROLINA – All Cruising News

  • Fees TRIPLE !! and North Carolina Registration REQUIRED For Federally Documented Vessels after 90 Days

    As a native North Carolinian, and normally proud of it, I never thought I would see the day when the Old North State would follow the example of Florida, and require state registration of Federally Documented vessels, after being in NC waters for 90 days or more. Just how that one slipped through the legislature in Raleigh, I have no idea. The very first we heard about this was when the note below from Captain Kamp was received.
    And, if that’s not cause enough to raise your blood pressure, NC vessel registration fees TRIPLE in price after 10/1/13! The boys and girls in Raleigh must really feel the need for more revenue. Too bad it’s coming at the expense of North Carolina boat owners, and cruisers who wish to visit our state’s waters for more than 90 days.
    Do note that this is NOT a tax issue. It is a registration fee issue. It has ALWAYS been the case, at least since the 1970′s, that Federally Documented vessels which reside in NC waters for longer than 90 days ARE subject to Ad valorem (property) taxes. Some tried to avoid this tax by moving their boats out of state for a time, or just hoping the state department of revenue would not realize they had a Federally Documented boat in NC waters, but over the past decade or so, North Carolina has gotten quite adept at seeking out such would-be tax dodgers.
    No, this is a case of some vessel owners having to pay a registration fee, and a triple fee at that, which was not heretofore necessary. Ugggghhhh!
    Our sincere thanks to Captain Kamp for bringing this information to the SSECN’s collective attention, and a special nod to Senior Editor, Captain Larry Dorminy, for exhaustively researching this issue. The remainder of these introductory remarks are authored by Larry!
    Captain Kamp’s information is correct: NC state registration IS required after 90 days, effective October 1, 2013. Since Federal regulations typically supersede state regulations, we will have to wait to see if this will be challenged in the courts. In the meantime, the fees more than triple on October 1!

    I received a post card from the above agency advising that vessels that are USCG documented and occupying NC waters for over 90 days are required to be registered with that agency, effective October 1 this year, due to a new law enacted by the NC Legislature. This will effectively be a new tax disguised as a fee. Previously USCG documented vessels were not required to be registered in NC , but if they were in state waters they were placed on the tax rolls of whichever county they were slipped in if there over 180 days. I am not sure if this has changed or if the registration requirement is an attempt to identify vessels not on a county tax roll.
    Steve Kamp

    From the NC DNR website: http://www.ncwildlife.org/Boating/RegistrationTitling/RegisteringyourUSCoastGuarddocumentedvessel.aspx

    Registering Your U.S. Coast Guard Documented Vessel in North Carolina
    Effective October 1, 2013, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) documented vessels that have been in North Carolina for more than 90 consecutive days, must be registered in the state. However, federal law restricts states from issuing titles for documented vessels since the USCG issues a Certificate of Documentation (COD) to owners of documented vessels which supersede a state title. To register a documented vessel you will need to submit a copy of your COD as proof of ownership, a completed and signed VL-1 Form and the appropriate fees for registration only.

    Got the postcard; registered my documented sailboat yesterday. It’s $40 for three years before 10/1; apparently $150 per year after 10/1. The NC sticker needs to be displayed on your starboard bow, but your registration number does not need to be displayed if you’re documented, according to NC Wildlife, who administers the registrations.
    Jim Starr

    Capt. Starr is correct that the fees are going up October 1st. The fees for vessels less than 26ft are $30 a year or $90 for 3; over 26ft, $50 for a year and $150 for 3. Certainly an incentive to register before October 1!

    I am a resident of NC and the above information sounds like all I have heard lately EXCEPT effective October 1 the $40 fee for three years jumps to $150 for three years. I think there is also a $50.00 per year registration. Needless to say I am taking my documentation to a registration office today or Monday and getting a three year $40.00 permit rather than wait until after October 1 and pay $150.00.
    John Y. Jackson

    On the documented vessels, between now and Oct 1, you can register your boat at the old rate of $40 for 3 years instead of $50 for one year! I and others have done it. Act fast.
    Sam Curry
    New Bern, NC

    Consider the similarities of this situation and the Florida requirement.
    To register while in State over 90 days and or obtain a $135.00 cruising permit good for 11 months.
    Steve Kamp

    According to the NC website (above), their state registration fee (before October 1) for documented vessels is $15 for 1 year or $40 for 3 years. There is no mention on the website about the new fees effective October 1! There is also nothing mentioned on their website about a cruising permit similar to Florida’s Sojourner permit.

    I called the NC Wildlife Resources Commission and asked for a citation to the NC Genreal Statutes. All they had was a Senate Bill number and not even a Session Law number. I looked up the Senate Bill number and found that it was the budget bill! They just slipped it in without any debate that I heard.
    Norwood Bryan

    This type of thing just makes it more and more difficult for snow-birding cruisers why might be very interested in settling down at a nice dock in NC for a stretch of time. Who wants to go through the hassle of registering and unregistering your boat every 90 days? Say you spend summers in New England, the fall in North Carolina, the winter in Florida, and the spring in the Chesapeake–you might have to re-register your boat four times in a year!
    John Kettelwell

    As a resident of Maryland I have been looking for a place to escape to. This is compounding my delima.
    Jim Davis

    For a lengthy discussion on vessel registration, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=106014

  • Advice on New Shoaling at AICW/Browns Inlet Intersection Problem Stretch, Statute Mile 237

    Browns Inlet/AICW Intersection - Click for Chartview

    The intersection of the Waterway and Browns Inlet, south of Swansboro, NC was last dredged in December of 2012, but, as with most SSECN designated “AICW Problem Stretches,” shoaling usually reappears sooner or later. Captain Bell reports that shallow depths are occurring as expected. Past experience dictates that the channel can shift quickly and that close attention to the relocated and temporary USCG buoys is your best bet to avoid grounding.

    Do not get within 60 feet of green 61a or you will be aground as was a sailboat today.
    David Bell

    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

  • Southport Marina Offers New Video Look At It’s Facilities and Services (Statute Mile 309)

    Southport MarinaSALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Southport Marina has just introduced a new video showcasing this fine marina’s facilities and services. It is very definitely worth a look.
    Southport Marina is located in the heart of the old river village of the same name. In the 1950′s and early 60′s, Southport was my boyhood summer home aboard. I have nothing but the warmest memories of my time spent on the docks of the old Southport harbor. May you too be so fortunate.
    Check out the new video at:

    http://vimeo.com/channels/394509

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Southport Marina

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

  • Good Words for Pelican Marina, Elizabeth City, NC, AICW Dismal Swamp Canal Alternate Route/Pasquotank River, Statute Mile 50.5

    Click to learn more about our Carolina Loop program

    Pelican Marina - Click for Chartview

    Elizabeth City, at the south end of the Dismal Swamp route, has been charming cruising visitors to the City Docks since 1983 and we are proud to report that Elizabeth, NC is A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

    Pelican Marina guards the Pasquotank’s northern banks, northeast of unlighted daybeacon #8, just across the river from the downtown Elizabeth City waterfront.

    Stayed here on Sept. 1 and was very pleased. This is great marina. Good bathrooms and laundry. very helpful and a ships store with good prices. Only 35.00 with power and water. A good restaurant next door.
    Danny Styons

    Click Here To View This Facility’s Full Listing of Services on the North Carolina Marina Directory

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

  • Report from Elizabeth City, NC, AICW Dismal Swamp Canal Alternate Route/Pasquotank River, Statute Mile 50.5

    Click to learn more about our Carolina Loop program

    Mariners Wharf - Click for Chartview

    Elizabeth City, at the south end of the Dismal Swamp route, has been charming cruising visitors at its City Docks since 1983 and it’s wonderful that some things do not change! The city docks are officially called Mariner’s Wharf, and dockage is free for 48 hours. However, we were once allowed to stay for three days when high winds prevented the Alligator River Bridge from opening. We are proud to report that Elizabeth, NC is A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

    We cruised in here on August 29 and left on the 31. This was the first we had stayed at these docks. Docks were nice but finger piers are short. Could be a problem for some boats. Also the heavy creosote on the pilings made a mess of my lines.The town is a great place to visit. Easy walk to several restaurants and bars. We recommend Cypress Creek Grill and Groupers. Nice museum close by that you can spend several hours. It would be nice if they had some bathrooms.
    Danny Styons

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Elizabeth City’s Mariners’ Wharf City Docks

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Elizabeth City Waterfront

  • Report from New Bern Grand Marina, Trent River, New Bern, NC

    New Bern Grand Marina - Click for Chartview

    The New Bern Grand Marina lies in the heart of downtown New Bern, North Carolina, along Trent River’s northern banks between the low-level Trent River highway and railroad bridges.

    Was there in August and saw a number of run down boats at this marina. Hard to believe people would buy a boat and then allow it to get in such deplorable condition. Even more concerning is why a marina would allow a boat in poor condition to remain in a slip unless all they care about is collecting a slip fee. The marina is an eye sore to such a beautiful river walk homes like the Robert Stewart House, and great eating places.
    Captain Perry

    We have been at New Bern Grand for the past year. Very happy here, certainly not an eye sore. There are over 250 boats here, I’m sure some need attention, but whose boat doesn’t?
    Captain John

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For New Bern Grand Marina

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

  • Report from Bridge Pointe Marina, off the AICW, On the Trent/Neuse River, New Bern, NC

    Bridge Pointe Marina - Click for Chartview

    Bridge Pointe Marina, flanking the southern banks of the Trent River (off the Neuse River), and opposite the downtown New Bern, NC waterfront, has been closed for almost a year rebuilding their floating dock system which sustained major damage in hurricane Irene in August of 2012. As Captain Perry reports, the marina hopes to re-open by the end of September, 2013. We will post the Grand Opening date as soon as it is announced!

    We stayed at the Bridgepointe Hotel and Marina the week of August 16th and the marina construction is nearing completion. They are doing a fantastic job and hoped to open by the end of August. The hotel staff are the most courtesy and helpful of any we have met both on land and water. You can’t beat their rates. Rooms are clean and location is safe. If you are staying take a walk across the bridge and try out Captain Ratty’s or Chelsea’s. They are grrrreat eating establishments. Reasonably priced, good quantity of food, and fast service.
    Capt. Perry

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Bridge Point Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Bridge Pointe Marina

  • Anchoring in Mile Hammock Bay Anchorage, AICW Statute Mile 244.5

    Mile Hammock Bay - Click for Chartview

    Mile Hammock Bay anchorage’s entrance channel lies north of the gap between the AICW’s markers #66 and #67, just a short hop north of the Waterway’s intersection with New River and New River Inlet.

    We’ve stayed at Mile Hammock several times, never when it is as calm as the picture shows [http://cruisersnet.net/?p=122589]. If you happen to arrive when the Marines are training, it can be quite tedious.
    We arrived at 2 pm one afternoon and helicopter pilots were training and were landing just off the Northern bank every 10 minutes. At first we thought it was cool, but with the roar from the engines, it became quite distracting, especially when they didn’t finish until 10 pm that night. The holding has gotten suspect and we have had to anchor several times until our anchor took hold. It still is a good anchorage if you can get your anchor to work. Good cruising.
    Phil Mullins
    S/V Katash

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For the Mile Hammock Bay Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Mile Hammock Bay Anchorage

  • GREAT Shot Of Mile Hammock Bay Anchorage (Statute Mile 244.5)

    We just had to share this truly quality photo of the very popular anchorage at Mile Hammock Bay (off the North Carolina portion of the AICW, hard by the Waterway’s intersection with New River and New River Inlet), sent to us by our good friends, and SSECN strategic partners, Captains Mark and Diana Doyle, founders and owners of “On The Water ChartGuides” (http://www.onthewaterchartguides.com/). Mornings like the one pictured here are, at least in our opinion, what cruising is all about!

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For the Mile Hammock Bay Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Mile Hammock Bay Anchorage

  • Report from the City Docks of Wilmington, NC, Cape Fear River, off the AICW

    Wilmington City Docks - Click for Chartview

    Located along the easterly banks of the Cape Fear River in downtown Wilmington, just west of the high-rise Hilton hotel, the City Docks have long been a popular side trip for many Waterway cruisers.

    We spent Labor Day weekend here (our third visit). Still love downtown Wilmington. It’s so alive with people and places! Went to the free Friday night concert and then the Farmer’s Market on Saturday. The only negative with the area is that there is no grocery store within walking distance so make sure you’re stocked up before you get here. There are two negatives about the Cape Fear River. 1) Lots of large logs always floating down the river that get jammed under your swim platform or between your boat and the dock. We ended up putting out large ball fenders to make more space. 2) Repeatedly being seriously waked by all sized boats and even jet skis. I ended up calling one of the tour boat companies to complain (nicely, of course) and they did slow down quite a bit for the remainder of our visit. But I really wish the city or someone would look into making the area near the docks a no wake zone.
    Paula Spence, M/Y Sea Eagle

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

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

  • Security Advice from Visitors to Wilmington City Docks, on the Cape Fear River, off the AICW

    Wilmington City Docks - Click for Chartview

    The crew of the Sea Eagle are experienced cruisers who, as narrated below, let down their guard at the end of an otherwise pleasant visit to the City Docks of Wilmington, NC, which is a longtime popular side trip for many Waterway cruisers. The City Docks are located along the easterly banks of the Cape Fear River in downtown Wilmington, just west of the high-rise Hilton hotel.

    Last night someone boarded our boat while we were sleeping. The person tried to take our TV but it was bolted down. He quickly grabbed the first two things he saw that he could carry – my husband’s laptop and (of all things) a small fan. We never heard a thing and didn’t discover the theft until 5:45 a.m. when Jim got up and found the saloon door wide open. We’re are very grateful that nothing else was taken and even more so that no one (including the bad guy) was hurt or worse. So how did this happen? We certainly have to take some responsibility for it. We were tired and were focused on our plans to leave in the morning instead of being in the present. Either one of two simple things would probably have prevented this. We have a very simple motion detector “driveway” alarm which we had set every night except last night. We also have a procedure for verifying that the door is locked which we had done every night except last night. We let ourselves get too comfortable with a place we’ve stayed at three times but have learned a very valuable lesson and actually got off pretty easy. Bottom line – if you stay here or at any unsecured dock, be vigilant with your security measures!
    Paula aboard m/v Sea Eagle

    Paula
    My Friends who stayed here three years ago had the same experience. I had to check with them today after reading your posting. Someone came aboard and made a quick grab of a TV set before they woke up. Be cautious on Wilmington docks. About 10 blocks away is a rather poor neighborhood with a break-in problem.
    Ben

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

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

  • High Praise for Cape Fear Boat Works, Cape Fear River above Wilmington, NC

    Navassa Waterfront - Click for Chartview

    Cape Fear Boat Works is off the Waterway, upstream from the downtown Wilmington waterfront, on the main (northwest) branch of the Cape Fear River. Their facility is located 1690 N.E. Royster Rd, PO 2195, Leland, NC 28451. Telephone 910.371.3460, Fax 910.371.6555, Email info@capefearboatworksinc.com. Web page is http://www.capefearboatworksinc.com/services.html

    This place is awesome! I did a total refit of my boat here. Very helpful! I paid 250/month to keep my boat inside. I could do all the work I wanted on it and it was quiet and no one bothered me while I worked. The yard worker is there for extra help and advice when necessary. Part and materials can be bought through them and delivered on site usually next day. Plenty of space, quality work, highly recommended! They can do everything from a total refit, Awl grip, bottom jobs. Hurricane Hauls, you name it this place is awesome!
    Pat

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

  • Unexpected Good Stay at Carolina Beach Mooring Field, AICW Statute Mile 295

    Carolina Beach Mooring Field - Click for Chartview

    The Carolina Beach Mooring Field lies south of the AICW channel, and also south of Snow Cut’s easterly entrance, in the harbor channel leading to Carolina Beach commercial district. As you will see below, Captain Spence relays welcome improvements in service to mooring users in this field.

    We stayed here a year ago, and I was not looking forward to a second visit. We were only spending one night and after an 8 1/2 hour day I didn’t feel much like launching the dinghy from the second deck in the wind just to go pay our mooring fee. I was very happy to read that they now send a boat out each evening to collect fees. And great news – a second dinghy dock on the beach side with access to the beach is supposed to open in about two weeks!
    Paula Spence

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For the Carolina Beach Mooring Field

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Carolina Beach Mooring Field

  • Report from Dudley’s Marina, Swansboro, NC, AICW Statute Mile 229

    Dudley's Marina - Click for Chartview

    Dudley’s Marina lies northeast of the Waterway near AICW marker #46A, and just a walk across two bridges and a causeway from downtown Swansboro, NC. Good reviews of Dudley’s Marina are frequent here at SSECN and this is not the first time that the skill of the dock hands has been mentioned and praised.

    Stayed here for two nights this week. It was our second time stopping at Dudley’s this year. The docks are still rough and there are shallow areas around for sure. The wind was blowing pretty good against the dock when we got there and when we left. The dock workers there really know their stuff and were very helpful getting us in and out of there. The place is nothing fancy by any means but it serves its purpose well. We are walkers so we went across the bridge to town (a mile or so?) to check out all the shops again. There is a Wed and Sat street market but we were very disappointed to find that there were no produce vendors, only arts and crafts.
    Paula Spence

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

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Dudley’s Marina

  • Report from Pungo Creek Anchorage, AICW Statute Mile 136

    Pungo Creek - Click for Chartview

    Pungo Creek makes into the western banks of the Pungo River, a short hop south of the charming community of Belhaven, NC, on Pantego Creek, and west-northwest of the AICW’s marker #8. This is a surprisingly wide stream, but with excellent depths.

    A bit off the beaten track but a great place. Better shelter from East winds can be found a bit West, closer to the fixed bridge.
    Dave Boxmeyer

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For the Pungo Creek Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Pungo Creek Anchorage

  • Report from Bond Creek/South Creek Anchorage, off the AICW, on Pamlico River

    Bond Creek Anchorage - Click for Chartview

    Bond Creek flows south from (what else) South Creek’s marker #3. South Creek makes into the southern shores of the Pamlico River, east of charted Indian Island.

    We spent a windy night here in July 2013. Excellent holding in mud and great protection from all but northerlies. No apparent landing.
    Jim Lea

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For Bond Creek/South Creek

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Bond Creek/South Creek

  • AICW/Dismal Swamp Canal Alternate Route – Captains Susan and Chuck Report

    Click to learn more about our Carolina Loop programSet in beautiful Camden Count, NC, the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center provides free dockage for cruisers' on the Dismal Swamp AICW Alternate RouteThere are few topics here on the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net, particularly those concerning the North Carolina coastline, that have raised more discussion over the years, that whether or not to take the AICW/Dismal Swamp Canal Alternate Route, by way of Elizabeth City, NC, or the primary North Carolina – Virginia Cut route (a. k. a. the “Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal), by way of Coinjock and North Landing River. In these numerous strings, we have always come down on the side of “Doing the Dismal,” UNLESS you are being hurried along by a set schedule. In this instance, the North Carolina – Virginia Cut is definitely the way to go!
    The “big knock” against “doing the Dismal,” as addressed by Susan and Chuck below, is the “possibility” of damage to underwater hardware by waterlogged debris. The US Army Corps of Engineers works HARD to minimize this problem, and, while dinged props and bent shafts are possible, we think it’s worth the risk in order to enjoy the DELIGHTS of the Dismal Swamp Canal, it’s excellent Welcome Center, and the incredibly cruiser friendly atmosphere of Elizabeth City (BOTH of which are SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSORS).
    We think Susan and Chuck have authored one of the most definitive articles ever penned below, on the virtues of cruising the AICW/Dismal Swamp Canal Alternate Route. We STRONGLY RECOMMEND that anyone who thinks they might even consider this passage at a future time, read the article thoroughly. And, don’t miss Chuck and Susan’s previously published treatise on Elizabeth City, NC at http://cruisersnet.net/?p=119601.
    We are once again greatly indebted to Captains Susan Landry and Chuck Baier, owners of Beach House Publications, publishers of “The Great Book of Anchorages,” (http://www.tgboa.com) for providing the superb, in-depth article and copious photographs, contained in the article below. THANKS CHUCK AND SUSAN! Please read on!

    The Great Dismal Swamp Canal And Welcome Center
    by Captains Chuck Baier and Susan Landry
    When we tell other boaters that we plan to travel the Great Dismal Swamp Canal, many respond that they would love to do it but are afraid to try. I already know the answer but I still have to ask, why? The answer is always the same. They are afraid that they will hit a log and damage the keel of the boat or their props or rudders. The canal has a reputation for debris floating in the water and, especially, lurking under the surface. The question then becomes, is that reputation and fear justified? The answer isn’t that simple; its yes and no. Is that fear and reputation enough to avoid a wonderful experience. It wasn’t for us. After several trips up and down this stretch of the AICW, we vowed that this time we would do the Dismal Swamp, no matter what.

    Entering South Mills Lock

    Heading northbound, a small detour to Elizabeth City is required, the perfect place to prepare for the canal transit. As we pulled off the town dock in Elizabeth City, it was necessary to time the trip from the drawbridge to the first lock at South Mills. There are two locks that need to be negotiated, each with their own drawbridge. The normal lock schedules for both locks are at 8:30, 11:00, 1:30 and 3:30 seven days a week. If you’re northbound, the schedule will be about 30 minutes later at Deep Creek Lock, southbound about 30 minutes later at South Mills. The distance from the bridge at Elizabeth City to the South Mills Lock is about 18 miles. We cleared the bridge at 8:30 AM and adjusted our speed to make our arrival just before the 11:00 AM lock through. Taking the trip along the Pasquotank River in the early morning reminded us of the Waccamaw River, one of our favorites. This isn’t an area you want to hurry through, rather it should be enjoyed at a slow pace. If you’re in a hurry, take the standard Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal route.

    Arriving at the South Mills lock about ten minutes ahead of schedule, there were two other boats already waiting. One was a trawler we had met at the town docks in Elizabeth City. The lock opened promptly at 11:00, and we slowly pulled into the lock as the Lockmaster picked up a bow and stern line from each boat so we could tie to the wall. Northbound boats are raised about 8 feet, depending on water levels on the river and in the canal. The controlling depth for the canal is 6 feet, but can vary depending on rainfall, or lack of rainfall, and other environmental factors. We found the shallowest water to be 6.8 feet and the average depths to be 8 feet. There have been some years in droughts when the canal was closed and years when storms have closed the canal. The lock transit went smoothly and took about 20 minutes. As the gates opened for us to exit the lock, the Lockmaster had to drive quickly up to the drawbridge to open it for the boats. There is a free tie up at the seawall just before the drawbridge at South Mills if you want to stop for groceries or a bite to eat.

    Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center Dock

    The entire canal is a no-wake zone with a maximum speed limit of 6 miles per hour. Traveling along the canal is almost a surreal experience. The channel is very narrow with overhanging trees, and water the color of a good cup of coffee, minus the cream. There are possibilities of hitting flotsam in the canal, but keeping a sharp eye forward, staying in the center of the channel and going slowly minimizes that possibility. Staying in the center of the canal also keeps the boat away from stumps, logs and fallen trees along the banks. Be watchful of critters swimming across the canal. We found several places where trees had fallen into the canal and blocked sections out to the center. These were all easy to see and avoid. Boat wakes often increase the problem by dislodging logs and branches that would normally be secure along the banks. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does an excellent job of clearing debris from the canal. They encourage boaters to report any problems to the Corps, the Lockmasters or the folks at the Welcome Center. Be sure and give exact locations with your report as they relate to the mile marker posts along the canal. They will promptly send a small boat to try and correct the problem immediately and if the job is too large, a barge is sent down the canal with equipment to handle just about anything.

    The Great Dismal Swamp Welcome Center is at about mile 28. If coming from the south, the first thing you see is a pedestrian bridge across the canal that seems to be blocking your path. This bridge was built to get folks from the highway, across the canal, to the state park on the other side. The Park Rangers are always watchful of boats approaching and almost always have the bridge open well before you arrive. If they happen to be busy and don’t see you coming, a short toot of the horn will get their attention and the bridge will quickly open. Once immediately north of the pedestrian bridge on the east side of the canal, is the Welcome Center and a free face dock long enough to tie up 4 or 5 boats, depending on size. Depths alongside the docks when we were there were 5.5 feet with a soft mud bottom. When docking, be sure and keep the space between your boat and the next as close as possible to make room for others. During the busy transient season, you will be expected to raft up with others. The dock can be busy and crowded in season. When we visited in July, we were one of two boats at the dock.

    Deep Creek Lock

    The Visitor and Welcome Center is both a rest stop for the busy highway and for the Canal. The staff at the Welcome Center has earned a reputation for being friendly and extremely helpful to boaters over the years. The Welcome Center provides 24 hour restrooms, free Wi-Fi, free loaner bikes to ride the bike trails and if boats are delayed in transit for whatever reason, they have provided transportation to South Mills for groceries if needed. There is also a water bib at the north end of the dock. The State of North Carolina has put a sign on the faucet that says “non-potable water,” but this is the same water that is piped into the restrooms and water fountains at the center. We put it in our tanks and found no problem. It is the same water provided to the residents of South Mills. There is also a lounge in the air-conditioned Welcome Center with a TV, book exchange, and a desktop computer connected to a printer if needed. Internet access is available at the lounge computer for those that don’t use one on their boat. On the park-like grounds there are many shaded areas with picnic tables and outdoor grills. The staff at the Welcome Center can often provide charcoal.

    Across the pedestrian bridge is the State Park, where you will find extensive hiking trails, bike rentals, and canoe and kayak rentals to paddle the canal. If you explore the hiking trails, be sure and use a good insecticide. During certain times of the year, the biting yellow flies can be brutal (June/July), and of course, there is the always present mosquito. Another concern for hikers is ticks, and precautions need to be taken. It’s best to wear light, long sleeve shirts, hats and long pants. Check often for the little critters while on the trails. This is a wildlife sanctuary and the state does not allow for pesticide spraying at any time. When you cross the pedestrian bridge, be sure and register with the Park Ranger before going on the trails in case you get lost or have a problem, they will know to come and look for you. The State Park has its own Welcome Center where their bikes can be rented and a fabulous exhibit on the history of the area and the canal. There is also a nice display of animals native to the swamp that have been mounted by a good taxidermist. You feel like your eye ball to eye ball with the real animals.

    Semi-floating Logs in Dismal Swamp Canal

    There is no set limit on your stay but there is no long-term docking. Once you have enjoyed all the Welcome Center has to offer, it will be time to continue on. We headed north and one stop often overlooked is the tie up and dinghy ride over to Lake Drummond. Lake Drummond is the largest lake in Virginia and has a major affect on the water levels in the Dismal Swamp Canal. About 7 miles north of the Welcome Center there is a small dock to which you can tie your large boat. To the west is Drummond Feeder Ditch Canal that will take you to a spot where you will find a small trolley to put your dinghy on and haul it a short distance overland to Lake Drummond. The lake is large and flat and the shoreline all looks the same. It is best to take a handheld GPS with you to find you way back to your starting point when your day of exploration is over. It might also be helpful to tie a bright ribbon to a high tree branch near where you enter the lake. If the wind is up, the lake can be uncomfortable, so be aware of the weather. It can be very calm in the canal and very windy on the lake. Continuing northbound, you will come to the drawbridge at the Deep Creek Lock. You will need to call the Lockmaster and wait for him to drive down from the lock. If he is locking boats southbound, you will have to wait a bit longer. (There is also a seawall there on the east side before the bridge to which you can tie directly across from a grocery store.) Once the bridge is open and then closed again, he will then have to drive back to the Lock and open the gates for you to enter. There is a free dock on the west side between the drawbridge and the lock called Elizabeth’s Dock. It has about 8 feet of water alongside and is about a half-mile walk to the town of Deep Creek. In Deep Creek you will find groceries, marine and auto parts, a hardware store and a few restaurants. If you’re proceeding into the lock, have large fenders out for the lock walls and long lines at the bow and stern to pass up to the Lockmaster.

    Robert Peek - Deep Creek Lockmaster

    Robert Peek is the Lockmaster and he will keep you thoroughly entertained through the entire locking process. Robert can tell you anything you want to know about the history of the canal and the current conditions. If you don’t ask, he’s going to tell you anyway. Don’t be surprised to have Robert offer a fresh cup of coffee to anyone on board. If you have been to the Bahamas, Robert is always looking for replacement conch shells for his conch blowing lessons. You will get a lesson and demonstration whether you want it or not, and why wouldn’t you want it? We found Robert to be a pleasant surprise and he makes transiting a lock a truly enjoyable experience. The locking process can take 20 to 30 minutes, but sometimes Robert gets really involved, so be prepared to take a little longer. It will be worth it. The Deep Creek Lock dropped us down 8 feet, and as the gates opened for us to exit, we got a big, “see you next time” from Robert.

    The Dismal Swamp route connects to the AICW route just south of Norfolk. If you turn left at the intersection, you can proceed to the Norfolk/Portsmouth area. But for us, we weren’t quite finished with locks for the day. We had plans to visit with friends in the Great Bridge area, so we turned right instead. We needed to transit the Steel Bridge lock, which only opens on the hour, so we topped off our fuel at Top Rack Marina. They usually have the best diesel prices on the Waterway. Once topped off with fuel and through Steel Bridge, we proceeded through the Great Bridge Lock to the free tie up on the wall between the lock and the bridge. But that’s a story for another time.

    Chuck Baier and Susan Landry
    Trawler Beach House
    Beach House Publications

    Click Graphic Below For Dismal Swamp Photo Album, Courtesy of Captains Susan Landry and Chuck Baier

    Thanks to Chuck, Susan and Claiborne for the great stories and photos about a trip through the Dismal. We enjoyed having Chuck and Susan spend a couple of days in our neck of the woods! A quick note on the lockings…..there may be a slight delay if boats are coming from both directions, because boats coming into the canal are typically locked “up” first. But, the ACOE’s locking schedule is 8:30, 11am and 1:30, 3:30pm, no matter which direction you come from. So please be there at the appointed hour so you won’t miss your locking. We love to see your boats on our waterway!
    Donna Stewart
    Director
    Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center

  • Good Visit to Washington, NC, Pamlico River, off the AICW

    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

    Washington City Docks - Click for Chartview

    Washington, NC City Docks, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!, has proven to be well worth the journey up the Pamlico River to “Little Washington”, as Captains Colleen and Stan can attest!

    Greetings, we loved going to “little” Washington, NC, free docks with restaurants and everything within walking distance, folks friendly and old town village atmosphere, although a Walmart, marine stores, etc only a few miles from the docks. There is a great consignment store on Main Street as well as many galleries, etc. We simply fell in love with this town.
    Cheers, Colleen, Stan and Maybea2
    on the Next Endeavour

    Love little Washington. NC Estuarium is epic! 3 story interactive sculpture of complete water cycle, donated by artist! Great volunteers. Closed on Sunday.
    Wooduck

    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 the Washington City Docks

  • Elizabeth City, NC – Harbor of Hospitality, Captains Chuck and Susan Report (Statute Mile 50.5)

    Elizabeth City, NC, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, is indeed one of the most cruiser friendly ports of call anywhere in the Southeastern USA. Many mariners stop here while transiting the AICW Dismal Swamp Canal Route, which are the next waters to which our aces reporters, Susan and Chuck will turn their attention. However, it’s well worth the time of year round Tar Heel cruisers to simply cruise up Pasquotank River from Albemarle Sound, or captains in the Norfolk, VA region, to cruise the Dismal Swamp Route south, for the express purpose of visiting Elizabeth City. It’s really that special a destination!
    Susan and Chuck do a wonderful job laying out many of EC’s attractions and services below. I might just add that one of the nearby marinas that they speak about, Lambs Marina, is currently the only place you can purchase fuel on the entire Dismal Swamp route. That’s worth remembering if you need to fill those hungry tanks.
    We are once again greatly indebted to Captains Susan Landry and Chuck Baier, owners of Beach House Publications, publishers of “The Great Book of Anchorages,” (http://www.tgboa.com) for providing the superb, in-depth article and copious photographs, contained in the article below. THANKS CHUCK AND SUSAN! Please read on!

    Elizabeth City, North Carolina
    by
    Captains Chuck Baier and Susan Landry

    Any cruiser that has transited the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway more than once has at least heard of the hospitality offered to mariners in this sleepy North Carolina town perched on the Pasquotank River. Most boaters are also familiar with the tradition of the Rose Buddies, [and while there have been some changes, the Rose Buddie "receptions" are still taking place when enough boats are docked at Mariner's Wharf on any given night - Editor insertion]. A short detour off the traditional waterway on the Albemarle Sound will bring you to this friendly harbor, and you will still be met at the town docks by a fellow named Gus that has made himself the unofficial greeter and historian at Mariner’s Wharf. Gus will help you tie up in one of the 14 slips at Mariners Park, give you the latest on the town and direct you to wherever you might need to go. It seems that many boaters don’t know that the 14 slips at the park are not the only free facilities offered by the town.

    Approaching Elizabeth City

    Just off to port from the slips at Mariner’s Wharf is a long bulkhead at Waterfront Park. The bulkhead is available for tie up also, but neither has power or water. At Mariners Wharf, there is a faucet hook up for a hose under a blue cover just behind the water fountain. There is another bulkhead just on the other side of the bridge, northbound, with a sign that says “Dock and Dine” where boaters can tie if everything else is full. At the Mariner’s Wharf slips, the town provides free Wifi; we aren’t sure if it is attainable at the other docks. There are no restroom facilities other than a Port-A-Potty at Mariner’s Wharf, but there is some good news for the future. The town plans to put restrooms and a laundry for boaters in an existing building just off the slips. It should be completed by next season.

    The grocery store and coin laundry is about a mile and a half from the town docks. A taxi or a bike is the best way to resupply or do laundry. The Post Office is about a half mile away. In the downtown area you will find small shops, boutiques, a book store and restaurants. The Cypress Creek Cafe is across the street from the docks and is a local favorite. A short walk of a few blocks and you will find Quality Seafood, a restaurant and market. Have a great seafood lunch and buy some fresh fish to take back to the boat. After lunch, stop in the Museum of the Albemarle and experience the history and culture of the Albemarle region either by self or full guided tours. If you happen to be lucky enough, as we were, to be at the docks on a Saturday, you can enjoy the fresh produce, vegetables, baked goods and homemade wares of the open air market from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM. This is not your average Farmers Market.

    "The Sign Says It All"

    Elizabeth City holds several Festivals and Events each year. July is full of activities beginning with Mariner’s Wharf Film Festival, a Fourth of July Celebration, Music and Arts Festivals, First Friday, and many more, just in July. During other months try the Coast Guard Harbor Nights Concert, First Friday Artwalk, Music on the Green with Classic Country Bands, and even a tractor pull. There is so much more to Elizabeth City than free dockage. You will meet some of the most friendly people found anywhere along the waterfront. If you are a dog person, this is a very popular place for the local dog-walkers. The dogs are as friendly as their owners. So often someone would stop by the boat and strike up a conversation. We felt like we had lived here for a long time and everyone did their utmost to make us feel welcome.

    There is a downside, and that is the weather, if it happens to be blowing strongly from the south or southeast. Heavy winds can create a strong surge, and waves coming up the river cannot only make the water levels rise, but make the docks uncomfortable to downright dangerous under severe conditions. This also doesn’t appear to be a no-wake zone and boats speeding up and down the river do create a lot of wakes on occasion. A nearby boat ramps adds to the problem. Under strong conditions from the south, the bulkhead on the other side of the bridge or anchoring beyond the bridge would be preferable. There is a boatyard in town with haul-out facilities, but service is very basic. There are no real services for boaters in the area, so major repairs will need to be done elsewhere. The boatyard does have a surveyor onsite.

    Elizabeth City Waterside Farmer's Market (every Saturday in season)

    If you might be looking for a marina, there are two in the area. Pelican Marina has dockage with a pump out and a restaurant onsite. It is across the harbor from town. Just a little farther north on the river is Lambs Marina, in a very protected basin. The channel to Lambs has been recently dredged to make access easy. It is some distance from town. There is plenty of space to anchor, but keep in mind that the harbor itself is deep. Dinghy access is available at any space along the town bulkheads or at the boat ramp near Waterfront Park, next to the small highway bridge.

    The Visitor Center offers free loaner bikes to boaters for those long trips for groceries or laundry. The Visitor Center is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The gym at the adjacent Fitness Warehouse offers showers to boaters for a fee of $5.00, if a long hot soak is needed. Gus has a small pick-up truck that is a two-seater, but he will often offer lifts to the store if you might need lots of supplies. Don’t be tempted to tie up for the night and move on. Stay awhile and enjoy true southern hospitality and a town that prides itself in welcoming boaters and cruisers. You won’t see 24-hour limit signs on the pilings. Elizabeth City wants you to come, visit and enjoy. We sure did and we can’t wait to go back. From Elizabeth City, we headed north to explore the Dismal Swamp and all it has to offer.

    Chuck Baier and Susan Landry
    Trawler Beach House
    Beach House Publications

    Click Graphic Below to Check out ALL of Chuck and Susan’s Excellent Elizabeth City Photos:

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For the Mariner’s Wharf Elizabeth City Docks

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Pelican Marina

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Lambs Marina

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

  • Cape Fear Boat Works Recommended, Cape Fear River above Wilmington, NC

    Navassa Waterfront - Click for Chartview

    Cape Fear Boat Works is off the Waterway, upstream from the downtown Wilmington waterfront, on the main (northwest) branch of the Cape Fear River. Their facility is located 1690 N.E. Royster Rd, PO 2195, Leland, NC 28451. Telephone 910.371.3460, Fax 910.371.6555, Email info@capefearboatworksinc.com. Web page is http://www.capefearboatworksinc.com/services.html

    Another boatyard you may wish to consider is Cape Fear Boat Works which is located 3 miles from downtown Wilmington in Navassa which is further up the Cape Fear River. I kept my boat there on the hill for over a year and the charges were around $250/month for a 52′boat. Fuel can be acquired there. The owner is a very honest and cooperative. No conflict of interest, satisfied customer.
    Edmond Badham, COSMO, WIlmington, NC

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

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