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Old 05-06-2017, 11:18 PM   #1
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We are in the market for our first coastal boat and not sure where we want to keep it in NC? Any suggestions? We like Beaufort a lot. Also curious about what to look for in a marina and what costs to expect.
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Old 05-07-2017, 07:44 AM   #2
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Beaufort Town Docks are right in the middle of town with easy access to the town's attractions. Floating docks and decent shower facilities. I suspect they are about $10/ft per ft for monthly rentals.

Further inside, you have Oriental and New Bern. The marina right in town in New Bern is about $7.50/ft. Oriental marinas might be a little more, probably in between New Bern and Beaufort.

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Old 05-07-2017, 09:14 AM   #3
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Beaufort and Morehead are high rent districts. We are currently in Morehead at $14 per foot. Beaufort is about the same. Around memorial day we are headed back up to the Neuse where it is around $7/ft. and a better hurricane hideout. I am a big believer in not staying in your favorite place and making it a destination. It gives us much better motivation to go visit those places... by boat!

Anyway, we have stayed or visited a great cross section of the NC marinas. A lot depends on what kind of experience you want to get out of it. There are marinas near towns with lots of stuff to do with little social interaction between guests... and there is the opposite. Do you want to be around sailors or powerboats? Near an inlet, right on the ICW, or up river?

Give us a lot more info and let's see if we help you put.
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Old 05-07-2017, 09:42 AM   #4
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Thanks so much for the replies.

We are looking at power boats so we would like to be around and learn from other power boaters I suppose. I completely understand and agree with your point about not being based at favorite destinations and being able to journey to those places. We would, however, enjoy having our boat somewhere that when we are there for a few days that if we do not take it anywhere, we could be close to things to do like restaurants.

As far as being on an inlet, ICW or up river, to be honest, we have no idea and would love advice and thoughts about those options. We live in Elon, NC and have a small airplane. So, we would love to be somewhere that has an airport close by and is not too far from home.

Tom.B, you mention you are in Morehead now. I am not sure how this works but are keeping your boat there for a few months then headed somewhere else to keep it there for a few months? I assumed boats had one home and took short trips for a few days or weeks now and then. It would be great if you can rent a slip for only a month or few months at a time. Is that the way it works? We have a boat on Lake Norman and we only have the option to pay for the year.
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Old 05-07-2017, 12:29 PM   #5
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We like to call ourselves NCCruisers. We travel a lot and stay in different places for different lengths of time. All staying with driving distance from home. There are no rules for us. We like to move around and try different places. I mean, come on... that is what a boat is for!

We have been in two different New Bern marinas. One in Carolina Beach for 6 months. One in Oriental for 6 months. Mateo for 3 months. Morehead for nearly 3 now. And from each location we ventured out to further away places, using it as a jumping off point.

There are a few things though. We do, often times, pay a higher rate for shorter term slips rentals. It's not a lot and it is sometimes negotiable. Lots of marinas have annual rates, but we have only found one that require us to sign up for a year, so we left.

We are outgoing and don't have much trouble making friends, but we do have one marina that we pretty much call home. That is where our closest friends are. It is kind of our decompression location. After a year away, it is nice to come home and loft the stories of your latest adventures, pass along advice to the people that have never left in 15 years or more, and listen to the stories of home.

So don't think you have the tie up and never leave. Marinas want your money, and in exchange, give you a new experience and view from the flybridge. I could spend all day telling you what we have experienced and other will certainly chime in with their favorites for one reason or another, but until you get put there and find your own way, my(our) advice is only as valuable as what you paid for it.

Get your boat buying out of the way first and don't worry about where you think you want to be yet. You have a lot of learning to do first. Take this off your radar and don't get hung up on this part just yet.
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Old 05-07-2017, 12:45 PM   #6
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You are within a 3+ hour drive of lots of interesting places: Washington, Edenton, Bellhaven, Oriental, New Bern, Moorehead City, Beaufort.

Why not bounce around and keep your boat at each of these for a month or so until you find what you like. One month rentals are maybe 10% more than yearly contracts and rarely if ever will a marina hold out for a year and not rent month to month.

If I were doing this I would want my home base to be central to these locations so I could do weekend cruises to outlying areas. Bellhaven might be a good choice. All of the others are within an easy day cruise from that point.

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Old 05-07-2017, 02:13 PM   #7
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I kept my boat in Beaufort for about a year a few years ago. One of my favorite places ever. Here is a great diversity of places that you can travel to in less than a day. Cape Lookout Bight is probably one of the best anchorages along the East Coast. Water quality is amazing there.

I found this bare-bones marina that I have pinned on the attached map. There is no restroom or dockmaster. However, the docks are well-built and the location is awesome. I paid $250 per month plus electric for my 36 foot grand Banks. That's a heckuva deal. If you want to pay more and have better facilities and a spectacular location, Beaufort town docks.

I lost the contact info for the owner, but if you go there you can find a phone number.

One other thing… If you keep it in Beaufort or Oriental, there is a special rate that boat US has for Pamlico and Albemarle sounds that is much less than typical coastal insurance. Give them a call you probably will be shocked.
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Old 05-07-2017, 02:38 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the advice everyone. Very helpful. I will move on from this topic Tom.B as you suggested but first, one last question. If you drive to your boat and cruise it somewhere new, how do you get back to your car?
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Old 05-07-2017, 03:35 PM   #9
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That "marina" noted above is not listed by Active Captain. So it must be a real Mom and Pop operation. One of the reviewers of the yard nearby noted the smell of the nearby fish processing operation.

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Old 05-07-2017, 04:21 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the advice everyone. Very helpful. I will move on from this topic Tom.B as you suggested but first, one last question. If you drive to your boat and cruise it somewhere new, how do you get back to your car?


You have to do The Car Dance... or Dancing With The Cars, if you will. It is the suckiest part of moving, but it is a necessary evil. Usually we will both drive and just plant a car at the new location, then drive back to the old and both drive home.
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Old 05-07-2017, 04:30 PM   #11
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If I were doing this I would want my home base to be central to these locations so I could do weekend cruises to outlying areas. Bellhaven might be a good choice. All of the others are within an easy day cruise from that point.

David

Belhaven is a bad choice to keep a boat full time. Well, maybe Dowery Creek (friendly group there), but it is way outside of "town". Belhaven is a tired old town that is still struggling to find its way back with very little or nothing to do. A restaurant or two, a shop or two, and a watering hole or two. That's about it. Yes, it is coming back, and yes, it is a nice place to stop while cruising the ICW, but it it has litlle long-term dockage and the best destinations are pretty far away. If you like Beaufort, you would not like Belhaven. I would pick Washington over it for sure, but even that is pretty far up river.

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate the place. We have stopped there often. But with its sleepy town feel and lack of stuff, NC offers much better. Save Belhave for just a stopover.
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Old 05-07-2017, 06:02 PM   #12
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David, I have to concur with Tom about Belhaven. It seems like it takes forever to drive to it. The town is struggling with the only food store we found out on the highway. 'Little' Washington to me would be a better choice. It's only about 25 miles up the Pamlico. However, Morehead and Beaufort are hard to beat. Especially if one likes to fish. Cape Lookout, one of the premier gunk holes on the east coast, is only about 6 miles from Beaufort Inlet. Plenty of eating establishments, too. Then of course plenty of marine services around the area.
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Old 05-07-2017, 06:24 PM   #13
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I have only anchored out in Bellhaven and never actually gone ashore other htan fueling up. But I have heard the same comments: sleepy and kind of run down. I picked it mostly for its central location. Everyone loves Dowry Creek Marina, but as noted it is a long way outside of town.

Edenton or Washington might be better choices for a central home base but as noted they are far up the river.

As a single choice Beaufort would probably be a better pick. It has reasonable access to Oriental and even Ocracoke. And Cape Lookout can't be beat.

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Old 05-07-2017, 10:54 PM   #14
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But as an OVERALL location? The one most centralized to just about everything NC has to offer for boaters? New Bern beats them all. I could go on and on about it, but won't right now. Still, it is really the best of everything up there. Save one thing... really... they don't support the boating community quite as well as Morehead City does. Boating support businesses are EVERYWHERE down here, and while NB in association with Oriental, does keep us all afloat, it pales to the amount of support Morehead, in association with Beaufort (ie. Jarret Bay Industrial Park), provides. It REALLY makes it hard for us to want to go back, but we have to. We need to check back in at Northwest Creek and want to be there for hurricane season. The sirens call us, but we shall return.
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Old 05-08-2017, 11:01 AM   #15
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That "marina" noted above is not listed by Active Captain. So it must be a real Mom and Pop operation. One of the reviewers of the yard nearby noted the smell of the nearby fish processing operation.

David
Us natives call that "Nasty Harbor". That was a deserved name 20 years ago. The docks there now are very nice and the area is well protected from the wind. It is not a fun or easy walk to anything retail wise, though. This will change when the new bridge project is complete, but probably for the worse. The fish house next door is a wholesale buying and packaging operation, not what I would consider a "processing" operation. As far as smell, think fresh seafood versus cat food. Locally, the old menhaden plant was what we'd consider a "processing operation".
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Old 05-08-2017, 01:25 PM   #16
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Thanks for all the advice everyone. Very helpful. I will move on from this topic Tom.B as you suggested but first, one last question. If you drive to your boat and cruise it somewhere new, how do you get back to your car?
After doing this several times, Enterprise (one way) rental cars are way more convenient and worth every penny to not have to take two cars for the Car Dance. We just learned this recently!!
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Old 05-08-2017, 01:50 PM   #17
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David, I have to concur with Tom about Belhaven. It seems like it takes forever to drive to it. The town is struggling with the only food store we found out on the highway. 'Little' Washington to me would be a better choice. It's only about 25 miles up the Pamlico. .

I have to agree with both of you on Belhaven....Tired town, dockage is iffy...
We're in Washington and have been for 2 years now. Charming small town, pretty waterfront, plenty of restaurants within an easy walk, and an airport Nearby... It takes some time to get down the river to other destinations, but the trade-offs are worth it to us. Bout $6.50/ft. with nice amenities. It's not a "marina" envoirnment, but a great place to hang out and boat out of..

Waterfront | Historic Waterfront | Little Washington NC

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Old 05-08-2017, 03:24 PM   #18
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Greetings,
Mr. E. Welcome aboard. I agree that looking for a marina at this point is a tad premature BUT since everyone seems to be offering suggestions, here's mine:

We docked for 5 years at Lamb's Marina in Camden, NC. Lambs Marina
It's a very well protected (hurricane-wise) place to dock your boat. A bit out of the way but about 5 miles out of Elizabeth City, NC which has all the major chain stores and grocery outlets.
I see current rate is $4.50/ft. Never had a problem with theft, super clean bath house, pretty good restaurant on site, diesel, gas and propane on site, courtesy car AND the superb hospitality known throughout the south.

It's NOT your average marina. NOT a big boating fraternity or "club" type atmosphere. Harbor is adjacent to a trailer park (friendly non-intrusive folks).
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Old 05-08-2017, 04:35 PM   #19
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Homer Smith's in Beaufort is nice and has to be cheaper than the town docks. Lots to do in and around Beaufort -- New Bern, Oriental, Lookout Bight, Wrightsville Beach and on and on. We've kept our boat in many different places for different periods of time. Usually do combinations of 1 month leases. We've gotten to really know several places really well this way. Marinas are all different, and it usually comes down to the number of live aboards and what type of boats are staying there. To stage it we usually just rented a car or had someone else drive us in our car.
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Old 05-09-2017, 08:36 PM   #20
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Made an offer today on a 2002 43' Silverton. We are so excited. Will have a lot more questions soon, hopefully.
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