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table of contents
Marinas and the Intracoastal Waterway
Marinas (49 bytes)Pender County (49 bytes)
New Hanover County (49 bytes)
Wrightsville Beach (49 bytes)
Carolina Beach (49 bytes)
 Wilmington's Downtown Waterfront (49 bytes)
Bald Head Island (49 bytes)
Southport-Oak Island
South Brunswick Islands
    Topsail Island
Tide Tables






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Marinas & The Intracoastal Waterway

Marinas and the Intracoastal Waterway

Southeastern North Carolina’s Cape Fear Coast is, in short, a boater’s paradise. The entire length of the four-county coastal region is fronted by the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AIWW, or simply the Intracoastal Waterway, ICW), a series of barrier islands, numerous sounds and a variety of rivers and streams, all connecting with the Atlantic Ocean.

Authorized by Congress in the Rivers & Harbors act of 1938, the AIWW was originally developed for commercial water traffic. Over the years, it evolved into a route that is now used more by pleasure craft than by commercial vessels. The total waterway is about 3,000 miles in length and ranges from Boston to Key West on the Atlantic coast, and from Apalachee Bay in northwest Florida to Brownsville, Texas, on the Rio Grande River.

The toll-free waterway is maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers to a minimum depth of 12 feet for most of its length, although 7 and 9 foot minimum depths will be found in some areas. Because of shoaling, depths as little as 5 or 6 feet can also be encountered. Check current information before setting sail either with the Army Corps of Engineers or at the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association online at

The Cape Fear segment of the AIWW is a bonanza for nature and wildlife lovers because so much of it traverses the sounds and marshes between the barrier islands and the mainland. Some of these areas are protected and accessible only by boat. In addition, because of the mild climate in the southern coastal region coupled with the warming effect of the Gulf Stream, boating enthusiasts can enjoy a nearly yearlong season on the waterway.

In addition to numerous private and residential community boating facilities, there are well over 40 marinas and boatyards in operation, providing a full spectrum of services and supplies for the boating public. Detailed information about facilities, along with a wealth of other boating information and a searchable database, is available online at A valuable resource for the boater is the North Carolina Coastal Boating Guide, which can be ordered there online or by calling (877) 368-4968. Another valuable source of  information about the towns and facilities along the Southeastern coast can be found online at Follow the links to the various coastal communities. Further information and photos of many of the marinas can be found by clicking Marinas North Carolina at