This was our 3rd visit to Beaufort SC. Virtually all of what was true a year ago remains. Just a few updates:
The review from our previous time here (2020) is below:
Mixed feelings here.
The dinghy dock, when we were there, was completely full with what appeared to be storage boats, as for the several weeks we were on a mooring, none of them WEREN'T there when we came in, and the mass of tie-off (nobody seems to know what a Herreshoff mooring tie looks like.) for each had not changed.
We resorted to tying to the end of a floating finger pier serving the paddleboard and kayak storage and forming a quarter of the dinghy dockage, a precarious mount/dismount location with less than a foot on the three sides surrounding the concrete pillar holding the end in position.
However, a couple of days before our departure, an employee who happened to see us returning/leaving that end-of-finger told us to tie up in one of the vacant dock rental spaces one slip away. That was far preferable, and comfortable. Just a heads-up; you can use any empty space for your dinghy if you find the same situation on your visit. Of course, you could also moor to the put-in ramp's very long dock, but if you're headed downtown on foot, it's a longer walk, and not as protected from any mischief as the marina docks.
From chitchat with other cruisers, it appears that Safe Harbor has a corporate policy that no courtesy cars will be retained on any of the properties they buy, so don't hold out any hope that one will be provided in the future; the one previously available from the city, when they owned it, went away on the purchase, and from reading commentary on other Safe Harbor Marinas, that's what happened at all those which previously had courtesy vehicles. The closest food shopping is about 2.2 miles away from the marina, but if you have a fast (or don't mind taking a very long time) dinghy, and don't mind walking a mile or so, you can go through the bridge, and use the dock at the public ramp. You could also go further up to Ladys Island Marina and pay their daily-use fee, which would cut about a half mile off your round-trip to Publix.
The marina now has gas, diesel and water available, at the usual marina-level prices. The gas pump did not have any labeling to say what was coming out the pump but I presume it to be alcohol free, and likely 89 octane Valvetec, seen at most marinas.
Moorings at the time of our visit in mid-September 2021 were scarce, as most of them were out of service while awaiting either repair or upgrade or maintenance. Some were actually disconnected and stored at the public ramp dock.
However, if you're lucky enough to snag one, or want to be on the dock, they still use Dockwa for reservations and payment, which we have found to be very convenient. One added convenience is/was that when we needed to overstay by a couple of days, after the allowed checkout and late departure time had passed, Dockwa/Safe Harbor updated and billed our reservation for the extra night(s - we stayed two extra nights, separately billed/autopaid).
One niggle about those is that there is no weekly rate. It's all daily, other than for monthly rental. A second niggle is that, while I did two successive weeks' rentals, the promised one-night-free after a 12 night rental never materialized (it would ideally have been for the first unscheduled extension mentioned above).
Finally, all the good things mentioned in the below review are still there, but there's been an addition since our first visit:
There's now a free day-dock. You can tie up a very large boat, or several sizeable boats, or a lot of small boats on the face dock which ramp leads to the lovely waterfront park further toward the bridge than the marina's. The overhead pictures shown don't show it. You can leave as late as 2AM without facing some form of discipline (the day dock signage does not mention consequences of staying too long).
So, my 4-star rating remains, this time due to the paucity of moorage available. Otherwise, a pleasurable experience all around. In the event we return (we believe we're getting off the boat this year) to Beaufort SC, we'll happily stay here again.
My wife did not see the issues raised in another review complaining about the women's bathroom, but not being one of the users, I can't directly comment on that.
I can comment on the men's, however; I found it clean and tidy, and on my last day's shower (15th, 3 days after the review of the ladies'), it had obviously just been cleaned.
I enjoyed, as I'm taller than most, the telephone style handset well over my head. As I have challenges with my right arm, the ability to aim it up into my armpit (and, of course, direct the stream anywhere else I'd like) was nice. It also allowed me to do a rinse of the walls and curtain; perhaps others do the same, lending toward a clean-and-shiny appearance.
As to the marina facilities, we were on a mooring so I can't comment on the docks, other than that my ability to fuel was foreclosed by other boats being on the face dock where the pumps were located. A much smaller boat might have been able to get into the small space left open; certainly a runabout would fit. It was of little moment to us as we were headed south and the marina only 3 miles away had empty docks at the pumps; we and another boat arriving at the same time easily were served with the long fuel and water hoses. That, too, is a Safe Harbor Marina (Port Royal).
The dinghy landing is either the public docks next to the launch ramp, or a small U shaped opening next to the Kayak dock; it's immediately next to the ramp up to the exit.
There's a laundry there, but we did not have occasion to use it, so I have no opinion on it other than that there's a book exchange inside. I left about a dozen, and picked up a few I'd not read yet; what I noticed of the laundry was neutral, but heard no complaints from the users we encountered. It's also the entrance for the women's rest room and showers.
The moorings are mostly (not all) new, with much larger balls than when they were originally installed. We spent Hurricane Matthew on one of their at-the-time new moorings. The new moorings have long polypropylene pennants, supported in the middle by floats secured by chain and heavy wire ties, so picking it up is easy, even in rough or windy conditions.
However, and the reason for only 4 stars, some of the moorings' pennants were fouled under the balls; we attempted to help a power yacht moor at one such and could not free it; there were others available so it wasn't a big deal, but those sorts of things should be easily remedied, and, if the marina is fiscally responsible, they should be checking the moorings on a regular basis to assure that only registered guests are on them.
As to making it happen, Safe Harbor uses Dockwa for their reservations. Once on Dockwa, ANY boat's registration, and payment, is a doddle. Just say how long you want to stay, and hit the confirmation button (or stop at the fuel office, which is the dockmaster's office) and it's done; your boat and financial, as well as any needed personal information, is already there.
So, if and when we have occasion to return, we'll stay there again.