Docking Woes at St. Augustine City Marina, AICW Statute Mile 778 and Downtown Marina of Beaufort, AICW Statute Mile 536.5
Posted by Larry Dorminy | Posted on 04-07-2011
St. Augustine City Marina lies on the western side of the Waterway just below the Bridge of Lions in downtown St. Augustine.
We were at the fuel dock at St. Augustine Municipal Marina by 1400.
I’ve decided I really don’t like this marina, which is a shame because most of the people are very nice, and the facilities are excellent. The floating docks are aligned parallel to the shore, which normally would be appropriate. However the current does not flow parallel to the shoreline but the axis of both flood and ebb flow is 10 degrees or so off parallel, and therein lies the problem. It is difficult to line up with a slip, and as we found out a year ago, impossible to back out of a slip against the current when it pushes your boat sideways before it can clear the slip. There is, then, no way to escape. The engineers who laid out the docks (if, indeed they were engineers) should have angled everything to line up with the current flow. Added to the problem on the north side is the close proximity of the Bridge of Lions. Getting sideways to the current here could sweep your boat under the bridge leaving your rig behind. Docking at marinas which are aligned with strong currents (I’m thinking Ashley Marina and the City Marina in Charleston) is a piece of cake as one can use the current to advantage both when it’s favorable or contrary. Not so in St. Augustine.
Captain Ted Jones
Similar docking woes in Beaufort, SC. Nevertheless, Downtown Marina of Beaufort is a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR! and is on the AICW at Statute Mile 536.5.
I encountered almost the same situation at the Beaufort, South Carolina municipal marina, and on trying to back out against the current with ample on shore help was in fact caught and turned sideways against the main dock. It was quite a feat getting the bow turned back into the current and finally out. For power boaters this is not much of a problem, but for sailboats with single screw auxiliary diesels it is a big challenge.
Never attempt nor accept a down current slip assignment at St. Augustine’s City Marina. The slack current time at high and low tide is VERY short. “WARNING” Always dock into the current at a slip at this marina. Stay on the fuel dock until the current is in your favor before moving to an assigned slip with a single screw vessel.
“The VOICE of experience”
Having read a negative comment about the St. Augustine City Marina, I would like to post a favorable comment as I would hate to see anyone miss this great place that is so friendly and convenient to the historical district, not to mention they have the best fuel prices I could find in a 60 mile radius. The docking here was a breeze and my better half easily maneuvered our 48 foot powerboat “Tropical Breeze” into her assigned slip. During our 3 days here we observed many arrivals and departures of all kinds of boats, none came close to being swept under the bridge.
Read and heed Larry’s earlier posts. This is tricky if you are not familiar with this marina and the tide. I learned to only approach this marina during a slack tide with my boat. I have a Hunter 36. Crew safety has to be your number ONE concern.