The 8 Best Liveaboard Marinas in South Carolina for 2024

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The sailing culture of South Carolina invites you to enjoy life aboard your boat in harbors from Charleston to Myrtle Beach. With hundreds of miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline and sea island terrain, South Carolina offers you lots of marinas, but not all of them are created equal.

We toured the SC coast, reviewing a dozen liveaboard marinas before finalizing this list of the best liveaboard marinas in South Carolina. Read on as we set sail to the Palmetto State’s most liveaboard-friendly marinas!

The 8 Best Liveaboard Marinas in South Carolina

1. Charleston Harbor Marina

Location: Adjacent to the historic downtown area

Charleston, known for its rich history and vibrant community, offers some of the finest marinas for liveaboard enthusiasts. Charleston Harbor Marina not only provides excellent amenities but also easy access to the heart of downtown Charleston.

Amenities: Includes 17,000 linear feet of floating dock system, capable of servicing vessels up to 120 feet.

Charleston Harbor Marina stands out for its prime position near Charleston Harbor, offering stunning views and a rich blend of local culture.

The mild climate allows for year-round boating, as the coastal waters stay relatively warm during the winter and the afternoons remain sunny and pleasant even on the coldest days.

2. The Harborage at Ashley Marina

Location: Along the banks of the Ashley River

Amenities: Equipped with 235 wet slips and a variety of modern facilities.

Community: Known for a friendly atmosphere where both cat and dog owners are welcome. According to their website “only current slip owners and grandfathered long term lease tenants may elect to live-aboard their vessels, and must do so in their owned slip.”

Reviews: The marina is often praised for its excellent customer service and well-maintained docks.

3. Cooper River Marina

Location: Nestled by the idyllic Cooper River

Local History: Close to historic sites and the storied Charleston community.

Amenities: A peaceful retreat with full-service amenities including free Wi-Fi, laundry, and shower facilities.

Reviews: Visitors frequently note Cooper River Marina’s tranquil environment and scenic views.

4. Lady’s Island Marina

Location: Situated on Lady’s Island, you’re just a swing bridge away from the historic heart of Beaufort.

Beaufort, known for its charming Lowcountry landscapes and waterways, is an ideal setting for marina liveaboards. You’ll discover amenities and communities that cater to your love of the sea and boating lifestyle.

Amenities: Enjoy amenities like convenient boat storage, local restaurants, and nearby golf courses.

Liveaboard Specifics: Liveaboard reservations are limited to 3 months maximum. They have explicit rates for liveaboards, ensuring you have a place to dock and call home.

5. Port Royal Landing Marina

Location: Nestled on the Beaufort River, this marina offers a serene setting steeped in natural beauty.

Amenities: You’ll find clean facilities and friendly staff, alongside the comforts of southern hospitality.

Liveaboard Specifics: As a valued liveaboard, your maritime needs are met, granting you a quiet, yet engaging lifestyle on the water.

6. Grande Dunes Marina

Grande Dunes Marina offers you more than just boat storage. Situated within a luxury resort, it boasts immediate access to the Intracoastal Waterway, featuring boat lifts to keep your vessel safe.

Not just a haven for boating, it’s adjacent to a striking golf course, affording you a mix of nautical and recreational activities.

When looking for a top-notch marina experience around Myrtle Beach, this marina delivers great amenities for liveaboards and recreational boaters. North of Myrtle Beach is the starting point for the lengthy North Carolina coastline, home of the top liveaboard marinas in North Carolina.

7. Myrtle Beach Yacht Club

At the Myrtle Beach Yacht Club, you’re treated to well-maintained docks and superb customer service.

This marina is a paradise for liveaboard boaters, offering many amenities such as power hookups and fuel services. It also carries the charm of a resort, including nearby entertainment options for when you’re not at sea.

8. Lightkeepers Marina

Lightkeepers Marina is nestled in Little River and is a well-kept secret among the local boating community. It’s known for its peaceful settings and comes with the promise of deep waters and secure mooring.

Here, you can revel in the tranquility while your boat is cradled securely in reliable boat lifts.

Navigating the South Carolina Waters and the ICW

When you’re planning to navigate the waters of South Carolina, understanding the local conditions is key.

The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), for instance, is a critical waterway that provides safer, inland passage for boats, bypassing many of the hazards of travel on the open Atlantic Ocean.

Tides can affect your liveaboard experience significantly in South Carolina. You should always check tidal charts since water depth can change drastically, impacting where and when you can dock or move your boat. The Cooper River Marina is one of the places where being tide-savvy counts.

Along the ICW, you’ll enjoy smoother sailing compared to the open water of the Atlantic Ocean, which can get rough. While navigating the ICW, check for the proper markings; red markers should be on your starboard side when heading south, and green on the port side.

It’s also important to know about shore power availability. Most marinas offer hookups, but confirming in advance is always good. This is crucial for maintaining your liveaboard lifestyle comfortably.

Here’s a simple breakdown of what to remember:

  • ICW vs. Open Water:
    • Safer, calmer waters in the ICW.
    • Rougher conditions are possible in the open Atlantic.
  • Tides:
    • Significant change in water depths.
    • Consult local tidal charts regularly.
  • Shore Power:
    • Confirm availability at the marinas.
    • Essential for a comfortable stay.

Frequently Asked Questions on South Carolina Liveaboard Marinas

What factors should I consider when selecting a marina for liveaboard lifestyle in South Carolina?

When choosing a marina for the liveaboard lifestyle in South Carolina, consider proximity to necessary services like grocery stores and marine supply shops.

You should also assess the safety measures, including security personnel and dock lighting. Weather patterns and shelter from storms are crucial for year-round living.

What amenities are typically offered by marinas in South Carolina that accommodate liveaboards?

Marinas accommodating liveaboards in South Carolina often provide essential utilities such as power hookups, water connections, and Wi-Fi access.

Facilities like showers, laundry, and sometimes on-site restaurants or social areas are available, enhancing comfort for residents.

How does the cost of living on a boat in a South Carolina marina compare to traditional housing?

Living on a boat in a South Carolina marina can often be less expensive than traditional housing, especially when it comes to utilities and property taxes.

However, you must factor in marina fees, boat maintenance, and possibly higher boat insurance costs to get the full financial picture.


There you have it: the top liveaboard marinas in South Carolina.

Marina communities like Charleston Harbor Marina and Lady’s Island Marina welcome you with southern hospitality. Give yourself fully to the salt air and unwind at a new homeport where Atlantic waves gently rock your floating abode.

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Featured Image credit: Flickr, Travis Wise