Marine Surveys by Gudgeon & Pintle Marine Surveys, Stephen T. Duncombe, SAMS® SA, New Bern, North Carolina, USA Gudgeon & Pintle Marine Surveys

New Bern, North Carolina, USA
Serving The US East Coast

Stephen T. Duncombe, SAMS® AMS®

Principal Marine Surveyor
Cell: 252 626 3281

Boating on the Neuse River -

The Neuse is a wide but shallow river, the deeper areas not being more than 25'. The average depth is approximately 9'around the New Bern area and 19' at the mouth of the river. While the two main towns, Oriental and New Bern, may hold to these depths, many of the marinas and yards that accessible by tributaries and creeks have controlling depths of 6 to 7 feet. There is no tide, as such, on the river, but the depth can be affected by the wind. A strong Westerly wind can reduce depths by up to 4' at New Bern and 2' towards the mouth of the river. Winds out of the East can have the opposite effect. The saving grace is that the river bottom is mainly mud and sand, and when (not if) a boat runs aground, it just stops... which brings up a salient topic: towing


There are not multiple choices on the Neuse for marine towing services. The TowBoatUS franchise is Deaton Yachts out of Oriental for the whole river. They can be reached on VHF 16, by the Boat US 800 number on your card, or pager number 252.634.1142. For under $200 you can buy "unlimited" towing. DO IT. Remember the mileage: if you are near New Bern and need a tow, it is a 50 mile round trip from Oriental. The last time I had the pleasure to call them it was a 16 mile round trip (the tow itself was 500 yards) and cost $316. The time before that, $2,450.00 (yes that is correct) was the charge. Both towing incidents were paid for by an "unlimited" card. Off the Neuse, there is a second available service, Sea Tow. Whichever you choose, DO IT.


The colonial capitol of North Carolina offers history, restaurants and shopping. Roughly 26 miles up river from Oriental and 37 miles from the mouth of the Neuse, New Bern is the largest town on the navigable portion of the river. There are currently three marinas with easy access to the town: The New Bern Grand Marina, on the Trent River and operated by a Hilton Hotel franchise, The Galley Store Marina on the Neuse and The Bridgepointe Marina located on the Trent River. Both the New Bern Grand and Bridgepointe marinas are reached through the Trent River drawbridge (VHF Channel 13). The Galley Store Marina is the only facility which offers fuel along with a nice selection of food and sundries. There is also a good anchorage on the West side of the railroad bridge in the mouth of the Trent. The highway bridge (Rte. 17) that must be passed under to reach New Bern has a controlling height of 65'. There are "tide" boards on the starboard sides of the underpass that give the actual height.


The town of Oriental has long called itself "The Sailing Capital of North Carolina". This, it seems, is not an idle boast. For recreational day sailing/racing, the Neuse River at Oriental is 3 miles across and close enough to the coast to get daily sea breezes. Boats outnumber people by two to one in Oriental, with the vast majority being sailboats. Sailors from throughout the state choose Oriental as their home port, and while the town may not compete with services available in Annapolis or Charleston, that may be exactly its charm and appeal. It is a small, laid back town, almost entirely dedicated to boating and commercial fishing.

Oriental has a number of marinas with a range of available services:
  • Whittaker Creek Yacht Harbor
  • Whittaker Pointe
  • Sea Breeze
  • Pecan Grove
  • Oriental Harbor
  • Oriental Marina

Between the booming metropolises of New Bern and Oriental there are five marinas, two of which are private. The private ones are Hancock Creek (34°56'26"N/76°50'54"W) for active and retired military, and "Blackbeard's Sailing Club (35°03'44"N/76°56'50"W), a private membership sailing club on Upper Broad Creek.

The public marinas are:
Matthews Point Marina (34°54'22"N/76°45'47"W) Tel. 252.444.1805. Out of the way for groceries, but is a nice, quiet location. Clubfoot Creek was the original ICW before Adams Creek. Good shelter from almost any wind can be found in the creek.

Wayfarer's Cove Marina (34°58'11"N/76°49'11"W) Tel 252.249.0200. First time in, you may wonder about your sanity. Once you are in and make the hard port turn, you are completely sheltered from almost all wind and waves. An older marina with nice facilities and a full yard with 60 ton travel lift. Groceries and sundries definitely require a car or an extended bicycle trip.

Northwest Creek Marina Tel. 252.638.4135 (35°03'18N/75°57'59"W) Tel. 252.638.4133. Full service marina (fuel, pumpout) that is well maintained and fairly well sheltered. Some groceries are available on site.


There are two main boat yards in Oriental. They are right across from each other on a creek branching off of Whittaker Creek that is entered from the Neuse at approximately 35°01'23"N/76°41'09"W. Pick out the Range Marker and hold to it. Channel Markers bear around to port, follow the creek and Deaton's Yacht Service (Tel. 252.249.1142) will be to port. Sailcraft Service (Tel.252.249.0522) is across the creek from Deaton's. There is also Triton Yachts (Tel. 252.249.2001) on Smith Creek if your boat is able to clear an overhead bridge with a 45 foot limitation.

On the Neuse, there are three yards, Wayfarer's Cove, mentioned above, Duck Creek Boat Yard and Neuse Harbor Boat Yard. These last two near to New Bern.

Duck Creek Boat Yard Tel. 252.6381702 (35°05'39"N/77°00'32"W). The entry to Duck Creek is East (down river) of the Rte. 17 highway bridge. Private markers (not USCG) mark the entrance. A white PVC pole acts as the red. Controlling depth in the channel is 6-7 feet. Follow the channel; it is about .8 mile to the sharp port turn. Favor the port side here at the turn, but also sailboats need to watch the masthead for overhanging trees. The yard can handle boats to 48' or so, but the boat's draught is an issue. Duck Creek is a full yard with both DIY and contractors permitted.

Neuse Harbor Tel. 252 636 2377 (35°06'57"N/77°01'10"W). West of the Rte. 17 bridge in Bridgeton is the Neuse Harbor yard, right on the North side of the river proper. Best bet is to follow the channel up river just shy of the red "38" marker, and turn 90 degrees into the lift. Again, watch the depths. Neuse Harbor is also full service and DIY.

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Installed September 14, 2008, Last Revised May 28, 2020 - This site is hosted and maintained by Don Robertson