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Getting Around Charleston Harbor

If you are looking for a day of boating, look no further than Charleston. Charleston is the largest city in South Carolina, sitting only 19 feet above sea level. The large Charleston Harbor, where the Cooper and Ashley River estuaries meet, has endless options for boats of all sizes. Come along as we explore the waters around the Holy City!

Charleston Harbor

The Charleston Harbor, with water depth averages of twelve feet, is the product of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers meeting. The Harbor is what attracted early settlers dating back to the late 1600’s. This is when Charleston was declared a colony, and the Charleston Harbor was it’s official port of entry. In 1862, the Civil War broke out and Fort Sumter was the location where Fort Johnson’s army fired the shot which started the war.

You can access the harbor through Remley’s Point Public Boat Landing which is located at the end of 5th Street. Remley’s Point is public and the easiest landing in Charleston to get into but, be warned that there are strong currents in the water. So, be sure that you are familiar and comfortable with docking boats in strong currents. The Maritime Center located in downtown Charleston, is a full-service marina that can accommodate boats up to 120 feet long to launch and dock near Historic Downtown Charleston.

Ashley River

The Ashley River is part of the Charleston Harbor and is made up of salt marshes and cypress swamps. It is also home to a number of species of fish, birds of prey and other wildlife such as dolphins. Boating down the river you will also see pre-Revolutionary War plantations. And no matter the tide, with a power boat you can easily travel up or downstream. The W.O. Thomas, Jr. Boat Landing offers plenty of space and scenery. Another option is, the Wappoo Cut Boat Ramp puts you at the end of Wappoo Creek. It is just a short boat ride to the end of Ashley River and then the Charleston Harbor.

Cooper River

The Cooper River was used as the main transportation route when early rice plantations were established during the colonial period.  It is made up of the East and West Branch starting near the Francis Marion National Forest and rising in Moncks Corner. Today, the Cooper River is a main source of transportation for the US Navy. Here you can find the Bushy Park Boat Landing, which features a fishing dock, ample parking and more. It is best to land your boat here only during high tide, so be sure to have your tide chart handy and plan your day accordingly.

life industries

Although there are a number of other rivers and creeks in the area that have boat ramps and landings, Charleston Harbor has a little something for every boater. Charleston is the perfect place to get out and explore with something different around every corner. With just a bit of planning, you can spend a fun-filled day out on the boat exploring everything our city has to offer by way of the water.


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