Marina Review – Annapolis Harbor Mooring Field (2018) New
Is this really a marina review? It's a mooring field.
The views expressed are strictly my own.
I don't care what anyone says. Annapolis is my #1 favorite destination and the mooring field is the coolest place ever to tie up. So there!
N: Navigability – Annapolis bills itself as the Sailing Capital of America, or the East Coast, or wherever, so it is an extremely well-maintained harbor. Plenty of water everywhere. Well marked channels.
D: Dockage – The mooring balls are available first-come-first-serve, but they do attempt to track how many balls are available if you would call them the morning you plan on arriving. We arrived at the mooring field just shy of noon on the Saturday before the 4th of July and found several mooring balls available. We chose #17. We were told that the main mooring field is now set up for boats up to 55 feet long. They are directing smaller boats to a ball in the mooring field past the drawbridge down Spa Creek. 36' max back there. If you are in a smaller boat and tie up to one of the big-boat balls, they will ask you to move to the other field.
As you can guess, there's lots of boat traffic. It can get roll-y.
S: Services – Several of the surrounding marinas have fuel and pump-out available. Annapolis Harbor has two unique features: a pump-out boat and water taxis. When you need a pump-out, call for the boat on channel 17 and get on the schedule. It's better to call right when they come online at 9:00 am. $5 per pump-out. If you have multiple holding tanks, you have to pay the $5 per tank. The water taxis can be hailed on channel 68. They're a little pricey, but very convenient and fun. Note that the pump-out boat and the taxis are operated by different entities and don't speak for each other. After you arrive and get acclimated, you take a taxi or your dinghy and go the harbor master's office and pay up.
BIG NOTE: Fresh water is available on shore down either Ego Alley or a short-use slip off of the field that may have spigots for water. We didn't check that out ourselves. These water sources are not for public use, only for those that have paid for a mooring ball.
BIG NOTE #2: There is a protocol for saving your mooring ball you paid for if you depart to get water or for a day cruise. Tie your dinghy to the ball when you leave. That is the “reserved” symbol. We heard the harbor master himself say so. He also said that any other floating item such as a PFD or paddleboard or some such thing will not be honored and can be untied or cut loose.
A: Amenities – 24 hour locked bathrooms with showers, laundry, AND THE ENTIRETY OF ANNAPOLIS.
A: Accessibility – Once you're on land, you're on your own. Uber, Lyft, a limited free trolley. There is public transportation, but the streets downtown are too narrow. One of the purposes of the trolley is to funnel bus users out to the main lines. BUT YOU'RE IN ANNAPOLIS! If you've prepared ahead of time you don't need to go anywhere else anyway.
P: Provisioning – Very limited. There's a CVS downtown with a few things: eggs, milk, snacks. Otherwise you need to head out into the residential areas. If you're going to spend any amount of time in the field, you need to provision for your stay ahead of your arrival.
P: Price – $35 per night for a mooring ball. 7th night free.
Staying in the Annapolis Mooring Field is a singularly amazing feat. It's fun, exciting, and surprisingly easy. And you're in Annapolis, fer cry-yi-yi. There's the Naval Academy, the State Capital, museums, bars, restaurants, shops, Chick and Ruth's Delly, and so much more. It is an amazing place, and being out in the mooring field is as exciting as anything you can do on your boat. And what is my favorite store? Hats In The Belfry. I buy a new hat every time we're there.
Verdict – IT'S ANNAPOLIS! THE COOLEST PLACE ON EARTH! AND STAYING IN THE MOORING FIELD IS FUN!
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