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Old 10-13-2020, 09:29 AM   #1
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Charleston SC - Marina Suggestions?

Hello,


We are considering relocating our weekend home, a 2006 Maniship 400, from Hilton Head area to Charleston S.C. To explore that area some...


I see three marinas that look good.


Safe Harbor Bristol
The Harborage at Ashley Marina
Safe Harbor Charleston City


All in the same area, all priced about the same.


Open to suggestions, comment & experiences..


We would probably do an annual stay.



Thanks in advance.


Jeff
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Old 10-14-2020, 05:36 AM   #2
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I haven’t stayed at Bristol but walked the docks a few years ago and it appeared it good condition. As a Safe Harbor (now Sun) I’d guess it’s run decently. It’s across the street from a Publix and a park next to the marina. It’s a longer walk to town than the others but there is a bus route nearby. The bridges you will need open if more than 14’ air draft require 24 hour notice, so a spur of the moment ride down river isn’t going to happen.

Docks at Harborage at Ashley are ok condition as of a couple years ago. The staff has always been friendly and helpful. They had a shuttle when we were there. The restrooms/showers aren’t so good. It is a condo marina. There are several obvious liveaboards, some of whom appropriate dock space but everyone is friendly. Ironically, they deal with the liveaboard issue by not allowing many more liveaboards. And, they define that as staying on your boat more than ten nights a month, as I recall. So unless you’re one of the lucky few, that might not work. Parking is tight and if you or your guest don’t have a parking pass, you will be aggressively booted or towed.

City Marina is also Safe Harbor, now Sun. Friendly and helpful staff. Clean restrooms/showers. Docks are more of a hike from the ample parking. A parking pass is included. Easy walk to the Publix and closer walk to downtown. Has a shuttle and Holy Spokes bike share hub. As a Safe Harbor, they appear to be starting the “nickel and dime” campaign. They now charge for pumpouts and higher speed WiFi and they might be charging for waste oil disposal. Variety Store convenience store is nearby as is Variety Store Restaurant and Salty Mike’s bar. There is also a nice but small wine/liquor store. I’ve heard several not so glowing stories about yard work, credible first hand accounts, that I wouldn’t use them. Off site contractors like Zimmerman are permitted. We’re heading there for our third winter.

There are other less expensive options in the area but not as convenient and would require a car to go anywhere. There are four bridges in the vicinity so you won’t escape at least some road noise and grime. However, Bristol is closest to the lowest bridges and would expect to be the worst. With all three options, Ashley River current can rip, more than 2 knots. It might not sound like much but going slowly down narrow fairways at right angles gets your attention fast. The conventional wisdom is to wait until slack. We were hit three times in our slip at Harborage and witnessed numerous other damaging impacts on both the Ashley and Cooper.
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Old 10-14-2020, 07:17 AM   #3
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We wintered at Ashley for 2017/2018. Decent place. Friendly folks. Good location.

We didn't have a car. Good shuttle service to places on the peninsula (and there are three free city bus routes, one of which has a semi-nearby stop).

WiFi sucked, at the time, although they were experimenting with an upgrade to OnSpot.

Yes, docking at slack water recommended, with at Ashley or the City marina.

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Old 10-14-2020, 08:57 AM   #4
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If you'll have access to a car (which it sounds like you will if this is your weekend home) I would also look at St. John's Yacht Harbor over on the Stono River. We keep our boat there. Nice facilities, great bathrooms, pool, accommodating staff, weekly pumpout boat, floating docks, etc. Definitely more isolated than the city marinas but we actually like that. Lots of good restaurants and shopping locally and downtown is an easy 10-15 minute car ride when you want to go there.
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Old 10-14-2020, 10:04 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbabs View Post
If you'll have access to a car (which it sounds like you will if this is your weekend home) I would also look at St. John's Yacht Harbor over on the Stono River. We keep our boat there. Nice facilities, great bathrooms, pool, accommodating staff, weekly pumpout boat, floating docks, etc. Definitely more isolated than the city marinas but we actually like that. Lots of good restaurants and shopping locally and downtown is an easy 10-15 minute car ride when you want to go there.
I agree...I like being handy to downtown...but that is over at the Maritime zener on the north side. But not great for liveaboard.

Having a car would cement my choice, the liveaboard group at St John's as friendly and fun a few years back.

I would never stay at the (old) city marina again unless I had too. Not much to offer considering the price.....place was interesting considering the clientele, but even a good friend moved up to the county marina on the Cooper River because nothing there kept him and though he has money, he said it wasn't worth the price.
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Old 10-14-2020, 11:51 AM   #6
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Charleston Harbor Marina has become our favorite there. The City Marina and Ashley just became too congested and too much of a hassle over time by comparison. Charleston Harbor has more amenities. The disadvantage is proximity to downtown but they have shuttles and Uber and other options work.
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Old 10-15-2020, 07:23 AM   #7
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We stopped at St. John's going both directions on our last trip down there. Pleasant enough place, although the commonly-assigned transient berths on the face docks can be a bit bouncy at times. Inside is better, and that's where longer-term folks would be placed. We didn't have transport, and only stayed briefly, so I didn't get a fell for nearby infrastructure, supplies, etc...

We visited Charleston Harbor a couple times, once by water taxi, primarily to tour the Yorktown. Looked like a nice place. Of the two, I think I'd prefer being there over St. John's... I think mostly for the wider, more open water views. Assuming wider and more open doesn't mean weather would beat you up all the time... Lot's of shore stuff available in Mt. Pleasant, good restaurant on Shem Creek, etc.

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Old 10-15-2020, 07:59 AM   #8
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I live in Charleston and keep my boat at Bristol Marina. It is quieter and newer but the same management as City Marina. Biggest advantage for me at Bristol is that the dealer I bought my boat from (Coastal Carolina Yacht Sales) is based there so that their service people are always on the dock and handy.

I would second the positive comments about St. John's. I have spent time there because our CG Auxiliary activities are often based there.

I would also like to point out Ripley Light Yacht Club. It is not a club but rather a marina. It is directly across the Ashley River from the others. It is number 5 in the OP's image. It is across the Ashley River but just a little further from downtown than the others. The huge advantage is that since it is set in a cove, there is no current to deal with. Don't know their slip availability.
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Old 10-15-2020, 08:01 AM   #9
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We spent a winter a Charleston Harbor Marina. Nice folks, clean restrooms, tiny phone booth showers, Zimmerman on site, free pumpout boat and oil disposal. Can be a hike to parking. The liveaboard rate is cheaper and excludes amenities. However, if you stay on the boat more than ten nights a month you’re a liveaboard and they are full up of those. So you have to pay a transient rate which includes amenities. Pools at the two onsite hotels, shuttle, fitness room, 10% discount to the restaurant and bar. You will need a car/Uber to go anywhere other than the shuttle stop or water taxi downtown. Mt. Pleasant has pretty much all your suburban shopping needs including Publix, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Harris Teeter, and several good restaurants.

If you like watching ships come and go, this is the best seat in the house. Rolling from passing ships isn’t bad but can be from everything else that goes by. CoC Sailing Team is next door and fun to watch them with their 470s.

We had a car most of the time when we were there and enjoyed it but, we prefer to be able to walk around downtown at a moment’s notice.
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