Written by Anna Barthelme
Located at the mouth of the Cape Fear River in North Carolina, Southport Marina is a prime destination for cruisers on the East Coast waterways. The area puts you within a day’s travel of both Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The marina is only a short walk to downtown Southport. You’ll stroll past 200- year-old oak trees as you head in to check out the many shops and restaurants. Southport has been an extremely popular filming location — everything from the new CBS series “Under the
Dome” to the movie “Nights in Rodanthe” has been shot there.
Preston Development Company purchased Southport Marina in 2006. Since then, more than $10 million has been spent on the facility, creating one of the largest and best-equipped marinas in North Carolina. Renovations and additions have included state-of-the-art Brazilian hardwood floating docks, 225 wet slips, 260 dry slips, 32 mini storage units, a deck for special events, a tiki bar, a full-service boatyard, and a recreational dock for sail, fishing and sightseeing tours. And during construction, all the century-old oak trees on site were preserved.
All interior marina slips have been dredged to a low-tide depth of six feet, and their transient and approach depths average eight feet. Phase 1 of the indoor dry rack is finished, and phase 2 of the dry storage building is currently in the planning stages.
The future looks bright for Southport Marina. Hank Whitely, marina manager, says, “Our staff is always focused on our customers. We are always prepared with the right team in the right place at the right time.” The facility recently partnered with on-site service provider Zimmerman Marine Incorporated, a yacht-repair and custom-boatbuilding yard. Both parties welcome the partnership. Says Whitley, “Zimmerman’s reputation for delivering high-quality customer service and workmanship aligns perfectly with Southport Marina’s ideals.”
There are all sorts of reasons to visit the area. For more than 30 years, Southport Marina has been the host of the annual U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament, held October 3-5 this year; the event is expected to bring in
more than 500 boats. Fourth of July is another extremely popular time to visit, as the town of Southport puts on a great fireworks display. But regardless of when it is, the next time you are cruising in North Carolina, be sure to stop at Southport Marina for a first-class experience.