Boating in Charleston ... Unless one is introduced to the pleasures of leisure sea crafts and is called to the water by the mythical siren song or a person grows up in a harbor or port town and by virtue of necessity, participates in some form of boating, little thought, if any, is given to an entire industry devoted to water travel and recreation. Until one actually investigates what comes under the heading of "boating" the vast variety of leisure time choices may never be revealed to the landlubber. Sure, one thinks of boating as a summer pastime but what type of boating? Sailing, of course, comes immediately to mind, but the truth is, there is a type of craft for just about every water activity and depending on what you plan to do on the water, you will need a specific type of watercraft.
Clipper boats are sharp bowed, narrow-beamed sailing ships designed in the mid-1800s for great speed. A modification of the clipper offered less speed but was used to accommodate more cargo. A modernized version of the clipper sailing vessel is still in use but the name clipper is more commonly applied to any fast sailing vessel.
Wake and water skiing as well as parasailing requires a boat and a motor with the horsepower to drag a passenger fast enough to give them lift or mobility atop the water. An inboard motorboat is preferred for this sport for the safety of skiers behind the boat. A skiff was originally a small sea-going fishing boat, crafted of wood with a flat bottom and powered by either wind or oars but has evolved to include small outboard motors as well.
A skiff may be used for either pleasure or fishing. Boats of a certain speed or size can only be operated in designated areas. To operate any motorboat one must also know age requirements and necessary training.
A speedboat is often associated with Miami Vice type cigarette boat chases and clandestine drug trafficking but these quick crafts, ranging in size from the 4-meter, open Boston Whaler type boat to the luxury mega yachts capable of crossing the ocean in comfort and style are identified by the simple fact of the use of a combustion engine motor for propulsion.
Cruiser boats range from light cruisers all the way to luxury cabin cruisers with full amenities. A light cruiser is identified by one that can leave homeport and comfortably accommodate a few passengers for a number of days. A cabin cruiser can achieve the same goal but is better equipped to offer food, drink for a longer period of time at a higher level of comfort.
Charleston offers a multitude of marinas and boating clubs from which to choose for your family time and boating pleasure. Have your own captain take you and your family to tour the secrets of the Carolina shorelines as offered by Ripley Light Marina at Ashley Point Drive in Charleston. Or you may desire to captain your own boat and take the helm for a day, a weekend or a week to explore the ports from Hilton Head to Myrtle Beach. Perhaps a single day for water skiing is all you care to try so the Daniel Island Marina at Marina Drive might be your choice.
Or if a private day of sunning and romance is in your future perhaps to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or to pop a special question the Reserve Harbor Boat Club in Pawley's Island is just where you'll find boats of all sizes to reserve and enjoy. A balance of both private charters and larger special occasions can be accommodated on the Schooner Pride, located at the Aquarium Wharf in Charleston. (Of course a schooner is a type of sailing vessel identified by fore and aft sails attached to two or more masts of equal height.) In Charleston, there are boats and clubs, marinas and packages enough to suit all your water craft and seafaring needs even for those newcomers who wish only to learn how to sail a small craft, there is the Charleston Sailing School located at the Charleston City Marina.
Don't be adrift for something exciting to do on your family vacation or staycation: set sail; take the wheel, and full-speed ahead for some aquatic fun!