Saturday, May 26, 2018

Marina Review – Port Royal Landing Marina (SC) 2018 New

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.

Let's be clear on two things that do not influence what I think about a marina.
    1 - I don't consider if a marina has nice people working at it, or how special they are. It's not that I don't think it's important; it very much is. To be frank, I built my entire working career out of developing successful people as part of working teams in corporate environments. Damn straight it's important. But most people are predisposed to do a good job, thus most marinas now have nice people working at them. It's expected. It's the norm. It's unremarkable. What is news is the marina that has crusty, mean-spirited, non-caring, incompetent, ineffective people working there. They're the ones that influence what I think of someplace.
    2 - Dock condition, especially things like cleats and the docks that face the boats. Again, most marinas are in good enough shape that you don't have to worry about what the condition of the docks and cleats are. It's expected. It's the norm. It's unremarkable. What is important to report is when a dock is in bad repair, the planks are falling apart, the electrical power is bad, and there are exposed pieces of hardware that may damage fiberglass.
So, what about Port Royal Landing Marina? We only stayed there one full day other than the days we arrived and departed. What's the deal with them?

Lovely clubhouse
N: Navigability – Along the ICW magenta line a mile south of Beaufort; we can see it from our deck. Watch the currents. Very competent dock hands ready to help you get tied up.

D: Dockage Big, long, transient facing dock. Plenty of depth. Like I said above, watch the currents when pulling in or out. It is noteworthy that they have had to make extensive repairs after Hurricane Irma, and the results of their efforts are very good indeed. It does all kind of stick out in the open and gets blown around some. There's wave and wake exposure too.

S: Services – Gasoline, diesel, pump-out at the fuel dock as well as along the facing dock. I can't speak about the availability of technical service at the marina or elsewhere in the area, but I'm guessing if you need to get something fixed on your boat, there's someone in the area who can fix it.

Big center pier

A: Amenities – The clubhouse and office are in a park-like setting with lots of outdoor seating. It's pleasant. They have a nicely stocked little store at the office. Full boater shower and bathrooms that were clean and serviceable. Beaufort is a lovely town with everything you need. There's a West Marine 0.7 miles away. Wifi was variable; sometimes it was white-hot, sometimes not so much.

A: Accessibility – They have a FREE LOANER CAR! It's a four-door Dodge pickup truck with a sort-of covered bed. (It's got a cover, but I don't think it works.) The truck is in good condition, but you do have to pull on the driver's door smartly to open or close it. Bike riding is also an option. There are stores, especially a West Marine, less than a mile from the marina.

P: Provisioning – Plenty of grocery stores to choose from: Publix, Piggly-Wiggly, Walmart, more. Beaufort is a large community with all the usual accouterments. Piggly-Wiggly is the closest.

That's our boat down at the end.
P: Price – There's a conflict of information. Their published transient rate on Active Captain is $2.25 per foot. Their website says $2.25 per foot also, but they also say it's $2.00 per foot with discounts for MTOA, AC, AGLCA, Boat US, etc. Electricity is extra. Confused? They charged us $1.75 per foot.

They get my recommendation, but they do miss out of my highest acclamation because they don't have a swimming pool. (Remember the Big Three: New, near-new, or like-new condition, pump-out at the slip, a pool.) There is pump-out along the transient dock, and they have obviously taken advantage of Hurricane Irma to make significant improvements to their facility. Everything is freshly painted and clean. The boater bathrooms are clean and well-kept. They have a nice little lounge in the office. There's a full-service restaurant right there. When we walked up the massive aluminum center-pier, the flowers that were all around the well-groomed lot were in full bloom. I was told that they are starting some kind of renovation to the entire facility in September, 2018. Everything is up-to-date and inviting. Beaufort is a bustling town with lots to see. The downtown area is quaint. It feels Southern, and that makes perfect sense since, you know, it's in the lowcountry of South Carolina.

Verdict – Good marina in a good location. Lovely in all regards. Not a resort but nice enough. It's a good stop.

Random Thoughts
Damn, their center aluminum pier is massive.
Did you know Beaufort is the kazoo capital of America?
Seriously, the variable wifi connectivity was a mystery. Sometimes we got a big, fat nothin', and other times we could connect and stream easily.

I've stopped giving out stars. Too many people got their noses out of joint. But I'm not giving up on not giving into the hype about some marinas that are not top tier facilities! If it deserves my raves I won't hesitate to say so. But if a marina is just a convenient place to tie up, I'll tell you that too.

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