Oak Island is a boater’s dream location because it offers several boating activities all within the same area. Fishing and Oak Island boating is just as much a part of Oak Island as the sand dunes that line the highway, which means that large fishing boats are in abundance docked along the waterway at Oak Island. Many locals run successful fishing charter businesses out of both Oak Island and Southport marinas.

Oak Island boating is easily accessed with many marinas containing dry dock storage, allowing individuals to keep a boat year round on call. Leaving a boat in the water without running the motor for long periods of time will cause corrosion, which can lock the propeller on the motor in place permanently and damage the engine. Dry dock storage is a great idea for anyone who owns a boat and visits the Oak Island sporadically.

The waterway offers a perfect location for those who wish to have a smooth relaxing ride without waves. Jet Ski’s are also available at almost every dock as well. The waterway provides a perfect location for learning how to jet ski because it has a large shallow areas on either side that is perfect for falling off and being able to stand up and flip the jet ski over. This can be extremely hard to do while treading water.

Every town has its own specific rules and regulations for owners of personal watercraft. In Oak Island you may not speed within six hundred feet of the shoreline or a fishing pier. Speeding in no wake zones is similar to causing as much destruction as burning a small plot of land because it will disrupt and potentially destroy the natural habitats of many animals that live in the marsh lands. Slowing down for a small amount of time through no wake zones is a small price to pay for the beauty of the natural Oak Island wetlands.

If you are up for a manually-powered activity, the wind on and off of Oak Island makes it an ideal area for sailing, windsurfing and kiteboarding. While sailing has always been a practiced pastime, kiteboarding is a great opportunity for adrenaline junkies to get their fix while on vacation. Lessons are available on the island.

Boating regulations:

Intracoastal Waterway Boating regulations are enforced by N.C. Wildlife Resources officers, sheriff’s deputies and the U.S. Coast Guard.

  • Alcohol: State law sets the same standard for boat operators as for drivers: a maximum blood alcohol level of .08 percent. Wildlife officers and sheriff’s deputies patrol waterways and enforce boating regulations.
  • Wakes: Boaters are responsible for any damage caused by their wakes. In the aftermath of several fatal accidents caused by the wakes of big boats in the Intracoastal Waterway, local and state law enforcement agencies are urging skippers to slow down in congested areas, especially if smaller craft are nearby.
  • Water scooters: Personal watercraft operators must be at least 16, or 13 if they have a valid boater safety certificate. Speeds are limited to 5 mph in marshes, near piers, shores, swimmers or surf fishermen.
  • Boat Smart Course: The Cape Fear Power Squadron offers a boating-safety course, which qualifies teens age 13 through 16 to operate personal watercraft. It covers nautical rules and regulations and “courtesies of the sea.” Dates have not yet been announced for the 2003 summer course. Information: 256-9702.