Posted by Larry | Posted on 09-02-2012
Just completed in February, 2012, the new Carolina Beach mooring field is located south of Snows Cut, between markers #4 and #5 on the approach channel into Carolina Beach town waterfront. A dinghy dock is now available at the Carolina Beach Municipal Marina in the extreme southwest corner of the harbor.
Visited the new Carolina Beach mooring field on August 18 and called the mooring mgr using the no. that was posted on the sign. Was told the fee was 20.00 for 24 hrs. No one was using the moorings. I dropped the hook 50 yards away for free. Plenty of room and depth. Too much to tie up on the ball, and free would be best as you will dingy to day-dock and spend money locally. At best have boats register for maybe a 5.00 fee… Just my thoughts on a nice protected basin
Well that’s a slap in the face to the forward thinking town of Carolina Beach for spending their local taxpayer’s money to establish and maintain a safe harbor and mooring field for transient boaters, especially in a harbor that is known for not having good anchoring conditions. Capt Mike was lucky he didn’t drag his anchor and he obviously doesn’t get around too much or he would know that a 24 hour mooring ball rental for $20 is well below the average cost virtually anywhere in the world, and worth every dime when you need it the most.
My comment on the mooring field that was completely empty, near dark, on a Saturday, was not meant to be a Slap In The Face to the town of Carolina Beach. I will always look to anchor for free, and had ho problem with dragging anchor the many times I have anchored in the harbor. Guess my point was empty moorings produce no income, and yes I only sail locally. I would consider using them if caught in a big blow. Just my view on the field.
I’ve seen situations like this before, a mooring field is built at great tax-payer expense, but no marketing research is put into the project and there is surprise when no one wants to use the moorings. I’m thinking of Titusville, FL, as an example. Plenty of room to anchor, and in T’ville, there’s virtually no tide or current. From a marketing point of view, why would anyone pay when they can anchor for free? These mooring fields need to re-think their strategy, maybe dramatically lower prices to entice people to use the moorings? I’m definitely not against mooring fields. I think the one in St. Augustine, where the currents are tremendous and anchoring limited, is great and well worth the cost. The one in Marathon is another example of a successful mooring field as anchoring space is very limited there. Think of it this way, if you build an expensive hotel in an area where there is no demand, would you be surprised that business is slow? Towns and municipalities that want to invest in a project like this need to do the responsible thing with the tax payer dollars and do their market research. Many people would choose free parking on the street, if it’s available, rather than use a pay parking lot, it’s human nature. “If you build it, they will come,” is not always the case… Moreover, I’m no lawyer, but it seems like the ICW is a Federal Waterway under the jurisdiction of the Army Corps of Engineers. I’m curious if anyone consults w/the Corp when they make changes to these Federal waterways (by definition, any river or waterway feeding into the ICW is also considered to be under the control of the Corps).
As all marine businessmen know, rag baggers are notorious tightwads with no product loyalty . . . myself included. Supposedly wind is free!
To those who think mooring balls and additional regulations are just peachy:
If I had to tie up to a mooring ball every night of the year, the cost would be $7300 extra per year. Thanks but no thanks. And that’s assuming that anchor ball and chain is as good as the gear I have on my boat.
As for those who have difficulty anchoring, perhaps it’s time they learned how, or sold the boat. I have almost never, anywhere, experienced anchoring problems. That includes Carolina Beach.
Cruisers choose this life for its freedom. That means freedom from unnecessary regulation, among other things. Freedom from having to shell out money to every level of government that thinks they are entitled.
Freedom to live life on our own terms. If more people tried it, we’d see a lot less of the crap we’re forced to put up with.
One of the problems with a “free” anchorage is that some boaters will take advantage and anchor boats there and never even come to look at them. In St. Augustine, one man had as many as six boats anchored there. In a popular anchorage, putting down anchors or mooring balls takes up a lot of space which could be used by transients who would maybe come ashore and spend money in the community. While trying to be self sufficient is admirable, we should help out the communities when we can. After all, the moorings which were paid for with taxpayer money are there should you really need them.
Thanks for the other opinions, and thoughts. Guess I started a conversation>>>
Capt Mike Wilmington
The Carolina Beach anchorage is high on my list of preferred anchorages along this part of the ICW. I’ve found it to be a good, protected refuge of choice during many deliveries on both power and sailing vessels. I’ve never experienced a holding problem here and been through some pretty good blows while holed up waiting for the weather to get better.
The $20 per night rate is exorbitant considering the “free” option but my prediction is that the next step will be an effort to outlaw anchoring in proximity like many municipalities in Florida have done in an effort to force people into their municipal anchorages. The boating community will then find other places to moor. For $20 I’ll certainly opt to bypass the Carolina Beach anchorage altogether.
If these communities think they are tapping a great source of new revenue by installing moorings, I suspect most will be sadly mistaken. For example, Marathon has only been able to survive in recent years by receiving large infusions of cash from the county. Last year more than 70 of their moorings were out of operation due to deterioration. If Marathon can’t make the numbers add up, it is hard to imagine how some place like Carolina Beach will make it work. I prefer to anchor, and I will just bypass places that don’t allow me to do so or make it too onerous with restrictive regulations.
Interesting to see this mix of comments. Having just spent 2 months cruising the New England coast, I know that there are some very good justifications for mooring fields. But like anything else, not all items apply all the time in every place. Claiborne, have you called the CB Town Fathers to ask what their justifications were? They might be responsive to a journalist asking. Maybe it was just a “shovel-ready project” that got federal dollars to do with no thought to customer requirements. Maybe none of the justifications do apply in CB, but I suspect at least some do. I know the holding in CB is poor in some areas of the anchorage. In Provincetown, they get $55 per night for mooring balls, and no launch service. In Marblehead, they get $50 per night, but that includes a launch service. In most of Maine, you’d pay $35 per night for a ball without launch service and $45 a night for a ball with launch service. Carolina Beach isn’t Maine, of course, but there are good reasons for mooring fields. Just what are those reasons in Carolina Beach? Some actual facts in this discussion would be informative. (And yes, cruising Maine is damnable expensive compared to the mid-atlantic and southeast. Probably won’t do it again, but glad I scratched that itch.)
Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary
Mr. Healy is right about New England mooring costs, but it is still possible to cruise almost everywhere and stay at anchor, and I have done so, including most of the coast of Maine. I keep my boat in Massachusetts and I haven’t rented a transient mooring or dock space in many years. Having said that, Carolina Beach has its good points, but it is no Marblehead or Provincetown in terms of a cruising destination. The harbor was notorious for poor holding in deep ooze, but if one fished around a bit you could find decent holding. I suspect the reasons were a combination of landlubbers thinking that those who anchored were getting away with something for free (now they will just go elsewhere), complaints about dragging boats, and a misguided attempt to “attract” boaters who don’t know how or don’t care for the hassle of anchoring. Some places, Like St. Augustine, with its swirling currents were tricky for anchoring, but they have now covered almost all the popular anchoring areas with moorings. Those who want moorings are more likely to come, but those who prefer to anchor will go elsewhere. I suspect that with a nice port like St. Augustine, it will be close to a wash in terms of visitors, but in someplace like CB I suspect a lot of potential anchorers will just keep moving on and skip the place.
I didn’t mean to criticize your post. I was just clarifying that many of us do anchor out almost everywhere we go, even in Maine! I have actually anchored in Camden and Belfast in the past, but not for a few years. Yes, there are places that are difficult, but in Maine there is almost always another equally interesting spot just around the corner
that is more accessible. My philosophy in Maine is to explore, and I have often ended up in some harbor with almost no other transient boats–sometimes requiring scrambling over lobster boats to get ashore, but still very interesting. In any case, I hear from some that they don’t like New England because they “have to” pay for expensive
moorings. Like I wrote in my note, I haven’t rented a transient mooring in many, many years. In fact, I can’t really remember the last time I did so. On the other hand, I have been boating in New England since the 1970s, lived in Maine for several years, have kept boats and lived in Massachusetts and RI for many years, so I do know my way
around. This summer we spent about 10 days between Narragansett Bay and Martha’s Vineyard, anchored out every night, and had a wonderful time. If you aren’t paying for moorings and dockage, costs in New England can be just about the same as anywhere, though fuel tends to be higher if you use a lot of that. Food prices in the supermarket are
actually lower than places like South Carolina that have sales tax on groceries.
With regard to Carolina Beach, I have never found the place all that attractive in the first place, but the anchorage was a handy “harbor of refuge” at the end of the day, if I happened to be near there. I’m afraid that those of us who prefer to anchor will simply bypass small places like this that pave over the harbor with moorings. It sounds
like there still may be enough room to anchor safely, so apparently that hasn’t happened yet.
“I didn’t take your remarks as criticism at all. They reflect the difference in our skill level. You have years of experience and local knowledge. This was our first-time-to-New-England survey trip. We were not looking for peaceful outback hideaways. We were looking for fun places to share with two grandsons that were cruising with us. And yes, I was very much put off by the very high costs. And very disappointed. They claim their costs reflect their short season, but somehow the Great Lakes cruising community manages the short season, too, and at far, far more reasonable costs. The costs were so high, I doubt I would do it again. That said, though, I can certainly see and appreciate the value of mooring fields up there. There is so much demand for space – and so much variability in skill level – that every square foot must be well utilized.
And I agree with you on CB! We too used it as a harbor of refuge; just a place to overnight.
I think $20 moorings are a deal if one wants a mooring to feel safe….no one says you must take it and bad holding is not always the problem..I have watched many boaters anchor and I have trouble sleeping after watching them expecting them to drag. Not all boaters know how to safely anchor so be thankful the boater who does not go often can take the moorings and we can all sleep better. Also it costs money to maintain them to keep us safe so that fee is very low considering. For the occasional boaters its still a very cheap way to vacation and relax….how many have known someone who anchored, relaxed with too many drinks and then found they are dragging too late and not capable of handling the situation??? so bravo for other options. No one says you must use them but sometimes it’s nice to have one. I’m often tired of fending off others who drag on anchor.We too love to anchor but have had time we are thankful for the option of a good maintained mooring…so don’t knock a good thing…
Susan Dawson aboard S/V Colleen Mae
What a great addition to this area. Arrived on Monday night 9/17/12. There is a big sign upon entering, just grab a ball and call or register on line. Boats from 26′ – 55′. Randy the dockmaster is great. He will come to your boat and collect the $20 fee not to mention that he offered to take us ashore or bring us ice if needed. Really glad to be on a ball during the big blow on Tuesday.
We just got back from a 4 month trip around the south, including FLA Keys. $20 is above market, but Carolina Beach, which is our part time home port, is a great stop. The balls are a good addition and it is good to see more mooring balls being installed in the south. We have also been to Maine on our boat, and the mooring balls there are more, but we found some that were as low as $15 and the highest was in Sag Harbor, Long Island, the cost was over $75 (we anchored – LOL) – supply and demand wins.