Cross any bridge on a gorgeous Charleston weekend and you’ll see the waterways dotted with boats of all shapes and sizes. With its many rivers, creeks and the Intracoastal Waterway, there are plenty of places were boaters can enjoy life on the water here in the Lowcountry.
Whether you’re looking for a deep-water lot where you can dock your boat on your property or proximity to a marina with boat slips, your boat will play an important role in your Charleston home selection.
Before you get started housing hunting, you need to think through exactly what you need based not only on personal preference but on the type of boat you have. Middleton Rutledge, an agent with Daniel Ravenel Sotheby’s International Realty, suggests the following:
- What is the draft of the boat or how much water does it need to dock? Charleston has a 6-foot tidal swing so there is a major difference between low and high tides. A lot labeled “deep water” might not be so deep during low tide, making it difficult to get the boat docked.
- Check out the condition of the dock at any home you’re considering. Has it been well maintained? Many higher-end properties have docks constructed with newer materials like the hardy ipe wood rather than something like treated pine that will degrade faster.
- What kind of boat do you have? If you have a big heavy cruiser, you may need a boat lift – those can be high maintenance and corrode in a saltwater climate like Charleston. Always consider maintenance costs for both the dock itself and any boat lifts when budgeting for a purchase.
- How long is the floating dock as compared with the length of your boat? Make sure the floater is sufficient for your particular vessel.
- Are there any bridges nearby that would be too low for your boat to pass underneath? This is important if you want to cruise in the ocean or on the Intracoastal Waterway.
- Do you need water and electric on the dock for fish cleaning and/or recreational uses?
- Do you plan to make any modifications or additions to your dock? If so, you’ll need to secure permission and proper permits from state authorities(this guide is helpful). Buyers often purchase waterfront property contingent on permits for a new dock or a change to an existing dock facility.
Once you’ve thought about your specific needs, you can begin the house hunt. Charleston has a number of high-end deep-water homes that fit perfectly with the boating lifestyle.
Finding plenty of homes with water access won’t be tough. The hard part is picking from among the many incredible water and marsh views you can enjoy from your boat.