This is another marina review on the On Board Life. Using the N D S, A A, P P marina analysis model, I'll fill you in on what my experience was. The views expressed are strictly my own.
When you come into Charleston you have several marinas to choose from. The one everyone talks about is the MEGA DOCK!!!! at the Charleston City Marina. (I just like saying MEGA DOCK!!!! Imagine there's an echo-effect of some kind.)
N: Navigability – Directly across from Elliott Cut of the Ashley River. I mean, it's a big marina so you can't miss it. Plenty of deep water, but there is a pretty hefty current too.
D: Dockage – Big, long, transient facing dock. Plenty of depth. The facing dock is a hair over 1,500 feet long, and because the dock itself is very substantial it is very well suited for big, big yachts. A 287 footer came in while we were there. The current through there is very strong, and you have to be on your toes when pulling in or out. They do like to put boats on an inside thoroughfare along the main dock. We've heard stories of how boats can get screwed up in there because of the current. That was no place for a 46 foot single-engine, no-bow-thruster boat. We asked if we could be on the outside and they accommodated us without blinking. It got a little rocky and roll-y, but it wasn't bad. One thing they do that is interesting is that they have different size cleats on the dock that range from normal size ones for most recreational vessels to MEGA CLEATS!!!! (sorry. I couldn't resist.) for the really big boats.
S: Services – Gasoline, diesel at a fueling area on the mega dock. Multiple diesel fueling stations the entire length of the dock with very long hoses so fueling can happen almost anywhere. Pump-out at the fuel dock as well as by a pump out boat for a fee and 24 hour request. They have an in-house (or should I say in-marina) boat service service. There were quite a few technicians on the dock at any one time.
A: Amenities – The marina's office is right there on the docks. The bathrooms and showers are in very good shape: clean, up-to-date. There is a laundry. Wifi was somewhere between good and great. I think it would be easy to confuse the Charleston Yacht Club, a large blue building to the left of the marina as you walk onto the shore, as the on-shore clubhouse for the marina. It's not. There is an associated restaurant on shore to the right that people have said has good food. There's a gas station convenience mart. But, to be fair, they don't need awesome amenities at the marina because they have the spirit of the next section down pat.
A: Accessibility – Downtown Charleston is a vibrant and exciting destination with lot's of shopping, restaurants and attractions. You really should make time to explore it. The marina makes it easy. They operate a free hourly shuttle set up to make sure you can get to it all. It goes into downtown and will drop you off or pick you up darn near anywhere on the route.
P: Provisioning – There's a Harris Teeter on the shuttle route, so provisioning is possible. There's also a West Marine 3.4 miles away, and they make a shuttle run to it specifically at 11:00 am everyday. While the shuttle is very flexible about pickup / dropoff locations on the route, they don't deviate from it. Big box stores are not accessible. As said, the daily run off-course to West Marine is the only exception.
P: Price – Their published transient rate on Active Captain is $2.15 per foot. We paid $2.50 per foot plus electricity. Pricey.
Verdict – MEGA DOCK!!!! (I can't help myself) is a fun experience, and the closest and most convenient way to explore Charleston.
RESTAURANT RECOMMENDATION: You MUST go to SNOB (Slightly North On Broad) and have their shrimp and grits. Great food with modern southern sophistication. Holy cats! It's a little pricey but worth it.
If you enjoy looking at lots of different kinds of boats, this is the place for you!
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