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The thriving city of Jacksonville is just the sort of community you might expect to find near a large Marine Corps base. The main highway is dotted with fast-food restaurants, used-car lots, and shops of every description. While Jacksonville is not always pleasing to the eye, there is no denying that a great variety of goods and services is available within a short walk of the waterfront.
The marina scene in Jacksonville has undergone a welcome change for the better during the past several years. First up is Kerr Street Marina. This facility flanks the river's easterly shore north of flashing daybeacon #61, on the old site of Tideline Marine (see below). Most of Kerr Street's slips are covered, but a few are open and are appropriate for use by sailcraft. Most of the available dockage is taken up by month-to-month renters, but the marina owner informed me that transients are gladly accepted if they make it this far upriver. Depths alongside range from an impressive 10-plus feet in the outer slips to as little as 4 feet for berths closest to shore. Power connections in the 15- to 30-amp range are offered, as are water connections. A small ship's store is located on the premises. Several restaurants and convenience stores along U.S. 17 can be accessed via a 4- to 5-block walk.
As of this writing, Kerr Street Marina was in the process of repairing the roofs of its covered slips, which were heavily damaged during Hurricane Fran. This work should be completed by the some time in 1997. The owners hope to add gasoline sales as well.
Jacksonville's latest facility is the new incarnation of Tideline Marine, co-owned by an old friend and classmate of this writer's. In 1994, Tideline moved to a new location flanking the river's westerly shoreline a short hop upstream from Kerr Street Marina. The energetic husband-wife owner team undertook the renovation of an old icehouse and have received a local award for their restoration efforts.
Visiting cruisers with shallow-draft vessels are welcomed to a well-protected harbor with new, fixed wooden slips and full power and water connections. The entrance channel's depth of 3 to 3 feet will be the limiting factor for many large cruising vessels. Depths in the harbor range from 6 to as little as 3 feet. There are a limited number of slips available for visitors. To be on the safe side, call ahead of time to check on berth availability.
Shoreside, you will discover an ultranice ship's store offering charts, marine publications, clothing, and a full line of marine hardware. Gasoline can be purchased dockside. Sales of small powerboats are in the offing, as are repairs for outboards, I/O's, and some gasoline inboards. Several restaurants and a convenience store are within easy walking distance.
If your craft can stand the skinny depths, I highly recommend a visit to Tideline's new location. You won't find a warmer welcome anywhere.
Boats that can clear a 13-foot fixed bridge can cruise north and northeast of Tideline and take advantage of the fixed wooden pier adjacent to Fisherman's Wharf Restaurant. Dockage is provided for restaurant patrons only. Depths alongside run 3 to 4 feet.