Touring Charleston by Boat

By:Page Ivey


view of Charleston's Batter from the water
If you don’t have access to your own boat, Captains Source has a wide range of tours that let you see Charleston from its best side: the water.

It is my firm belief that the best way to see Charleston’s Battery is from the water, but very few people visit the Holy City with their own boat.

For those of us without our own water transportation, there is an option. Captains Sou​rce is a one-stop shop for folks looking for reliable and friendly captains, well-versed in the area’s history and knowledgeable about the local ecosystems.

This clearinghouse interviews captains, puts them through a background check and makes sure they are trained and certified both as captains and tour guides.

Our recent tour was a sunset sail. Our guides were Capt. Mike and his wife, Michelle, who live on the boat they use to take folks out on excursions. They provide water and other soft beverages, while riders are welcome to bring their own adult beverages and snacks.

Their boat was called the “Emotional Rescue” and did it ever live up to its name. Mike and Michelle took care of all the grunt work of rigging the sails and getting us out into the harbor where we sailed past the South Carolina​ Aquarium, White Point Gardens and the Battery.

Mike and Michelle told wonderful stories for each point of interest, many things I had never heard, despite having lived in South Carolina my whole life and having visited Charleston so many times.

Their sailing skills were excellent and kept us on a nice even keel so we could walk to the front of the boat to take pictures of the beautiful homes along Charleston’s Battery. Mike and Michelle knew about most of the homes and pointed out “celebrity” homes, like those belonging to a successful local car dealer and the president of a locally based grocery chain (I won’t give away the name, but his front porch was decorated with ornamental pigs).

You also will get fantastic photo opps with the Ravenel Bridge.

For the sunset tour, the boat pulled into the slip at Patriots Point just as the sun was sinking behind the steeples of the Holy City. It was a beautiful day on the water.

Through Captain’s Source, you can book a dolphin-watching tour, a fishing tour, sunset sails and more. Many of the tours operate year-round. Check them out for a truly unique view of Charleston. Prices vary widely based on type of trip booked. A two-hour bay boat dolphin eco-tour is $150 for two people and a six-person two-hour sail is about $400. Click here or call (843) 767-4200.

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