Swansboro, NC and Dudley’s Marina are great places to anchor or take a slip. We anchored just before the bridge in 10 feet of water and just off the great town. This is a town that also wants the cruising boater to stop, drop anchor and come on in and visit. There is a FREE dinghy dock (something St. Augustine FL needs to learn) and plenty of wonderful little shops right off the docks. Coffee shops, cigar shops, ice cream shops, news stands, dinners, and a fantastic pizza shop all within a block of the dinghy dock. A bit up the hill and about a mile down the road is the grocery store, drug store and laundry. Swansboro is a nice anchorage and we will stop again.
For a dock, DUDLEY’S is the best deal on the ICW offering docks for $0.75 per foot with free 30 or 50 amp electricity! We pulled up anchor at Swansboro due to high winds and moved to the docks once we found out what a fair price they offered. We ended up spending 5 days there as we shuffled our car from Charleston, SC, back up to here. Dudley’s offers a free car for up to an hour. They have a great mechanical shop and a ship’s store nearly as good as a West Marine but with better prices.
We were lucky enough to visit with a local shrimper who has run the LADY ELLEN for the past 30 years. Sadly this shrimper is being hurt by the imported shrimp arriving at our docks from China and Vietnam. He used to be able to sell his shrimp for $4.00/pound when diesel fuel cost $0.55/gal, now he has to sell his shrimp for $1.25/pound and his diesel fuel is $4.00/gallon. He will catch and sell $2,500/week of shrimp but his fuel bill is $1,800/week. The $700.00 profit he has to split with his two daughters who also work the shrimp boat. It has been a family business for over 30 years and now he is in trouble.
He shared the story of a China ship from with one million pounds of farm raised shrimp attempting to off load in New Orleans. The off loading was halted by US Inspections due to the steroids found in the shrimp. The China ship left the docks and sailed their product up to Canada where they could ship it into the US without being inspected. His point is that the US is not protecting the consumer from these imported farm raised shrimp that are loaded with chemicals. He has to compete and has to sell his shrimp at the same low prices. All in all, Swansboro and Dudley’s Marina are very interesting places on the ICW that would be easy to simply pass on by.