Visitors to the Southport area can have an exciting sail on the Carolina Gale, a 52' sailboat anchored at the Southport Marina. Captain Dave is a kind and competent skipper who will help people of all ages learn more about sailing. Captain Carolyn plied us with soft drinks and snacks. They also give sailing lessons. Their boat is available for weekend or weeklong captained charters, as well as custom cruises around the Southport area. Soft-soled shoes that won't scratch the boat are a must if you want to help sail the boat. Layered clothing, down to the swim suit, is also recommended.
MM 309.3 Southport Marina
When we came south the first time in 2000, we stayed at Bald Head, because Southport was full. On the way up, we went outside from Little River to Cape Fear and bypassed Southport. Coming south in 2001, we went to South Harbor Village, but Bob was spooked by the large amount of current, so we finally ended up at Southport Marina in the spring of 2002. $1.15/ft, and $4 electric and free cable. They put us on the face dock south of the gas dock. Their restaurant is closed on Mon. They will let you do email in the office. I noticed that you cannot go down the concrete pier, you have to walk on the floating docks. This is because the rebar in the concrete under the pier has rusted, and parts of the concrete have fallen off, so it isn't safe.
It is in a basin so is protected from current, but there is some wake from passing boats. From internet material: This marina's extensive docks -180 wet slips up to 120', 207 dry storage racks, floating docks, Cable TV, High speed fuel pumps, Shower and laundry facilities, 75-ton open hoist, & 20,000 lb. fork lift - welcome the cruising boater with fuel, power, transient slips, restaurants, repair service, a clubhouse and supplies. An outdoor tiki lounge invites one and all to kick back with a cocktail or soda after a hard day of boating. It is one of only about a dozen North Carolina marinas with pump-outs. This marina is owned by the federal government and leased to operators.
MM 315.0 St. James Plantation Marina
The rate was 95 cents a foot with a Boat US discount. They have floating docks for up to 8' draft.
This marina is sort of strange. They have no problem with taking transients, but they have no services - no showers, and no laundry although they do have ice and fuel. They have internet access and bathrooms in the marina trailer which is only open 8 to 5. Otherwise no bathrooms. They do have fuel, ice and water, and there is a restaurant that is about 1/2 mile away. They also apparently have bikes. They say that they have:
151 wet slips with floating docks
8' draft MLW
Ocean access 6 miles north and 5 miles south
Fresh water connections
Shore power (30 & 50 amps)
Fuel pumps (gas and diesel)
Dry rack boat storage: 160 boats up to 35' long(Second dry rack storage facility being planned)
Pressure washing and boat detailing services
Interim ship's store stocked with marine lubricants, cleaners and fuel treatments, fishing tackle and apparel
Annual boat show in the spring
This is the lighthouse on the end of Oak Island that you can see from the pier at Southport and reach the lighthouse by way of the Oak Island Bridge. You can also see the Bald Head Island Lighthouse (Old Baldy) from here, but you'll need to catch a ferry to get to the island which is around $16 round trip.