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Old 09-07-2010, 09:55   #1
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Charleston Harbor

Wife and I just finished our ASA 101/103 courses back in early June in PCB, Florida and are now looking at maybe a day charter in the Charleston area, but I had a couple of questions, and I was looking for some information on the area.

I found the NOAA coastal chart for Charleston Harbor, but was wondering if there is more detail out there.

For instance:
Can anyone from the area tell me where I can information about Shem's Creek (primarily depth?). We love to eat at Red's when we visit Charleston, and since we're still so new to sailing, I can't imagine much cooler than pulling up to the dock and having a meal, and then sailing (well maybe have to motor) away. (I'm such a newbie ). I was worried this may not be a big enough area though?

Also, is there a public dock at Fort Sumter? We'll be having some friends, with us and they wanted to visit there, so I was thinking of taking the boat over there if we can find one?

Any other suggestions to check out by boat while we're in the area? Beaches, Nature?

Any tips on places that will charter us a bareboat for the day. I found OSA, but not much else. Thanks for any tips and advice. Feel free to lend any other opinions too.
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Old 09-07-2010, 09:59   #2
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Re: Shem's Creek

Just found another CHarleston Harbor chart that shows Shem's Creek at 12 ft... I think? Does that sound right to any locals around? Still open for all the other tips too. Thanks
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Old 09-07-2010, 14:38   #3
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Shem Creek should be easy to access with a smaller sailboat. I've seen some larger ones in there, but not too often. Depth isn't really a concern, and there is a well marked channel from the harbor. As for docking I would give Red's a call to make sure you can tie up there while you eat. Some of the docks are private.

As for Fort Sumter, there is no public dock. You have to take their tour boat from next to the aquarium downtown. I think they also leave from Patriot's Point near the Yorktown.

As far as places to go, you can easily eat up a whole day just sailing around the harbor. There are plenty of places to anchor and have lunch. You could also go up the Wando river a ways depending on the tide.

For charters check out Charleston Sailing School at Charleston Sailing School - ASA Sailing School Charleston - South Carolina Sailing School - Ocean Sailing School - Charleston SC Sailing School - Bareboat Charters - Charleston Sailing Charters. They have a Catalina 25 and a 380 for charter.
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Old 09-07-2010, 15:03   #4
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Shem's creek is home to a number of shrimp boats which keep the channel open behind the Crab Bank, an island protecting the mouth of the creek. I have entered the creek many times with my 50 foot ketch, which draws 6.5 feet. The channel approaches from the south near where the ICW North and the harbor channel intersect, and is well marked. Red's and the other restaurants allow docking, but on a first come, first served basis. All others raft up to the boats that came before them. Larger boats are better off anchoring behind the Crab Bank and sending their tenders in. There is , or was when I lived there , public access to the dock at Ft. Sumter. Best to contact the U. S. Park Service for it's current policy on dockage. Another fine destination in Charleston Harbor is the Maritime Center. From there you can walk to many fine restaurants, pubs, and shops. I was docked there for about 2 years while taking part in building the "Spirit of South Carolina", Charleston's tallship. We loved it's close proximity to the Harris Teeter grocery, The Noisy Oyster Pub & Restaurant , and numerous delis. I would check with Charleston Harbor Marina about bareboat rentals. There is at least one organization that operates in that capacity there.
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Old 09-07-2010, 22:36   #5
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Thanks for the advice, and the link. I wrote Charleston Sailing School to get some information on the Catalina 25.

Guess I'll have to give Fort Sumter a call to find out about private boat access. Website says private boats can access, but I wonder about size.
We will def. be exploring downtown Charleston as we always do when we visited.

Guess I'll just have to check out Red's at that time. Since I'll just be day chartering a boat, I doubt I'll have a raft/dinghy Thanks for all the tips, we're just excited to be going sailing again.
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Old 13-07-2010, 11:01   #6
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Fort Sumter

For any future visitors, Fort Sumter is open to private boat access during business hours. I spoke with the National Parks today. They have a t-dock, with the top of the "T" reserved for the ferry, but the rest open for private access.

The NP worker said the depth is around 12' at the dock.
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Old 13-07-2010, 11:53   #7
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Shem Creek is deep enough up to the restaurants (bars, really), but you have to turn around to get out amidst all the other boats. There's a low clearance bridge just past the restaurants.

As above, not a lot of dock space and people rafting and climbing over your boat. I've never been by boat and would only think about it during the week or in cooler weather.

The channel from the harbor is deep enough but if you stray outside of it, you will find out how well pluff mud polishes your running gear.
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Old 13-07-2010, 14:26   #8
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Turning around at Red's

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
Shem Creek is deep enough up to the restaurants (bars, really), but you have to turn around to get out amidst all the other boats. There's a low clearance bridge just past the restaurants.

As above, not a lot of dock space and people rafting and climbing over your boat. I've never been by boat and would only think about it during the week or in cooler weather.

The channel from the harbor is deep enough but if you stray outside of it, you will find out how well pluff mud polishes your running gear.
Thanks for the advice. I noticed outside the channels dropped off real fast in this area. Just don't want to run aground. Poor wife had the helm 5 minutes in our first ever lesson and she was in the sand and had to get a tow (not really her fault since we were learning).

Think there is enough from from a Catalina 25 to turn around w/ motor? Could I motor just past the last dock, and swing around before the bridge? I'm trying to remember the distance but can't visualize.


Also, what about an early Friday afternoon for a crowd? (I'd rather be there at night as I love the atmosphere, but a day charter is all I'm getting)
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Old 13-07-2010, 14:38   #9
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Thanks for the advice. I noticed outside the channels dropped off real fast in this area. Just don't want to run aground. Poor wife had the helm 5 minutes in our first ever lesson and she was in the sand and had to get a tow (not really her fault since we were learning).

Think there is enough from from a Catalina 25 to turn around w/ motor? Could I motor just past the last dock, and swing around before the bridge? I'm trying to remember the distance but can't visualize.


Also, what about an early Friday afternoon for a crowd? (I'd rather be there at night as I love the atmosphere, but a day charter is all I'm getting)
I would think you could turn the boat around, but I'm a powerboater so I don't really know. I also can't tell you much about the crowd at any particular time although I suspect Friday and Saturday evening and night are the worst.

On my previous boat (an I/O), I had just sanded down the lower part of the outdrive and prop and primed and painted them. It was about two days later and I was going through the channel to Shem Creek when my wife pointed and said "look over there". Well I did and the boat went the same way. Beep, beep, beep, and the engine stalled and boat stopped. I shifted to neutral, started the engine, raised the drive, and backed out, no problem.

When I got back home I looked at the drive and prop. All the new paint was gone from the drive and the prop (black) had a black, grey, and silver swirl pattern on it.

At least I didn't have to do any sanding for the second painting.
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Old 13-07-2010, 16:24   #10
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There is always a great crowd there. The bars run pretty much up to the bridge. You may try the water taxi from C. H. M. [Patriots Point] as a water alternative to driving there after your sail.
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Old 13-07-2010, 16:37   #11
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There is always a great crowd there. The bars run pretty much up to the bridge. You may try the water taxi from C. H. M. [Patriots Point] as a water alternative to driving there after your sail.
Or just drive. Me, I wouldn't want to rent a boat for a day and spend part of it sitting in a restaurant.

There's lots to see by boat. Touring the harbor and the waterfront on both the Cooper and Ashley rivers is one part. Go out past Ft. Sumpter in the jetties. Going up the Cooper river and seeing the ships at the former Navy base is another. Cruise North up the ICW for a few miles and see some pretty nice homes.
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Old 15-07-2010, 12:55   #12
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Shem's creek has some great restaurants, Water's Edge, Reds. It has an authentic fishing feel. The canal is deep, but its pretty narrow too.
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