The approach to Washington is straightforward: Simply follow the well-marked channel up the PamlicoRiver. Stay in the channel after flashing red 16, since the river tends to shoal on both sides near the railroad swing bridge. The bridge is usually open, otherwise call the bridge tender, (252) 975-1017, or sound the whistle to indicate you require an opening. The tender doesn’t monitor VHF channel 13.
Washington’s Department of Parks and Recreation oversees the city’s public docks, (252) 975-9367. There are 36 slips for boats to 35 feet on the fixed T-docks at 75 cents a foot per night, with electricity (30 amps and provisions for 50 amps) and water. Short-term docking also is available at $5 for up to six hours per slip. Reservations are accepted. Additional free dockage is available for up to 48 hours along the five 80-foot fixed-face docks next to the promenade. (The city is considering extending the free dockage to 72 hours.) There is no water or electricity, and all vessels must register with the dock attendant.
When selecting a spot on the free docks, stay clear of G and H, the first two docks after the T-docks. When the new bulkhead was under construction rocks were dropped there, making it unsafe for boats that draw more than 4 feet, especially when water levels are low. Depths on the T-docks and on I, J and K docks are generally 8 to 9 feet. The dockmaster monitors VHF channel 16 from 8 a.m. to sunset most days. Showers and heads, built in 2003, are available for boats at the Ts. There is free pumpout when the dock attendant is on duty.
The CarolinaWindYachtingCenter may have space, but the slips there are largely for seasonal rentals, (252) 946-4653. You also can anchor off the waterfront in 8 to 9 feet, though on the south side of the river the water thins. Holding is good in mud and sand. Tie your dinghy up to the float at the west end of the waterfront, near the dockmaster’s office.
Gas, diesel and boat repairs are available downriver at McCotters Marina in Broad Creek, (252) 975-2174, www.mccotters.com . NOAA chart 11554 covers the approach to Washington.
• Dock reservations: Washington Department of Parks and Recreation, (252) 975-9367, Ext. 221.
• Washington Visitor’s Center, (252) 948-9415, www.originalwashington.com .
• City of Washington, www.washington-nc.com .
• North Carolina Estuarium, (252) 948-0000, www.partnershipforthesounds.org .
• April through September: Music in the Streets (third Friday of each month, last in October) with outdoor musical entertainment, food concessions and more on Main Street, (252) 975-9367, Ext. 403.
• June 9-10: Summer Festival, with vendors, food concessions, amusement rides, (252) 975-9367, Ext. 403.
• July 4: Fireworks on the waterfront, 9 p.m., (252) 975-9367, Ext. 403.
• Oct. 27-29: Fine Arts Show in the Civic Center, 110 Gladden St., Beaufort County Arts Council, (252) 946-2504. www.beaufortcountyartscouncil.org
• Oct. 29: Smoke on the Water, barbecue and chili cook-off, (252) 975-9367, Ext. 403.
• Dec. 3: Flotilla of decorated boats and fireworks, music in the streets, Christmas parade, and holiday arts and crafts show, (252) 975-9367, Ext. 403.