It’s that time of year again for the annual St. Marys Boaters Thanksgiving Week Gathering and Meal. From November 25th to 28th, residents in the southeast Georgia coastal town of St. Marys create a Thanksgiving stopping place for all mariner snowbirds heading south for the winter. All transients are welcome to join nightly gatherings at Seagle’s Saloon, partake in an Oyster Roast and give thanks at a giant Thanksgiving Potluck featuring turkeys, hams and side dishes. The final day includes a $5 Pancake Breakfast, a Swap Meet and Cocktails at the Yacht Club Clubhouse. Donations and snacks are welcomed. The St. Marys local contact is Charles Culp:; boating contact is Ann Barr: Riverview Hotel:

The Carolinas

The Coastal Conservation Association of South Carolina (CCASC) and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SC-DNR) have created oyster shell drop-off sites throughout the state to restore oyster reefs in the estuaries and marine ecosystems. This year the SC-DNR and CCASC collected 24,000 bushels of shell. A portion of a $75,000 contribution to CCASC from the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) helps fund the project with the belief that habitat today means fish for tomorrow.

Georgetown, South Carolina, is cracking down on abandoned boats and illegal anchoring that includes channel anchoring in the Sampit River between the town’s waterfront and Goat Island. This summer the town gave notice to abandoned boats to comply with the Mooring Buoy and Abandoned Boats Ordinance in advance of a proposed mooring field. Anchoring within 140 feet of a city mooring buoy is prohibited and a boat unattended for more than 45 days is considered abandoned. Poor anchor holding is a common complaint in the area.

Once legitimately anchored, the South Carolina Maritime Museum in Georgetown welcomes mariners and other guests with free admission. Over the summer an original lighthouse lens returned to its Georgetown home. The fifth-order Fresnel lens of the Georgetown Lighthouse helped guide ships headed south from Cape Fear or north from Charleston into Winyah Bay since the 1870s. It was removed from South Carolina’s oldest lighthouse in 1986 when the lighthouse was automated and was displayed in Miami until recently. Insured for $250,000, it will stay in the museum for 10 years within a custom-built eight-sided wood and glass case similar to the original lighthouse’s lantern room.

A newly renovated marina at Bridge Pointe Hotel and Marina in New Bern, North Carolina, offers mariners new docks, upgraded utilities and amenities in an improved layout. New IPE hardwood decks built by Bellingham Marine highlight the improvements. The marina at the confluence of the Trent and Neuse Rivers handles up to 125 vessels from 33 to 150 feet with a deep-water basin. Upgraded amenities include metered power, fresh water, cable TV, free Wi-Fi,  charcoal grills, and a redesigned cruisers lounge. A new building houses showers, restrooms, laundry, and an air-conditioned sitting area.

By Nancy Spraker, Southern Boating November 2014