Thursday, December 7, 2023

Carolina Beach looks to bring its mooring field into digital age

The mooring field in Carolina Beach currently charges boaters $20 a night, the town only gets $5 of the fee (Port City Daily photo/MICHAEL PRAATS)
The mooring field in Carolina Beach currently charges boaters $20 a night; the town only gets $5 of the fee (Port City Daily photo / MICHAEL PRAATS)

CAROLINA BEACH — The Town of Carolina Beach’s mooring field is moving into the digital age. The town hopes to move toward a 100 percent online system for registration and payment.

Members of the town council heard a presentation Tuesday morning during a workshop session.

Carolina Beach established the mooring field in 2013 as a place for boats to come and moor in the harbor. Shortly after it opened, the town hired a marina management company to provide services to the mooring field, Town Manager Michael Cramer said.

The marina management company provides the services for the mooring field including all enforcement of mooring field regulations, the collection of fees, and the regular maintenance of the mooring field. Currently, the marina management company retains 75 percent of all funds collected, while the town receives 25 percent, Cramer said.

“Out of a $20 overnight stay, the town gets $5 basically,” Cramer said.

The mooring field is not a money-making venture for the town, but it was also never intended to be Mayor Pro Tem LeAnn Pierce said. But it should be able to pay for any necessary repairs or mooring field needs, she added.

The annual sum collected for mooring fees ranges anywhere from $6,000 – $10,000 Cramer said.

While the 25 percent of funds received typically pays for any town expenses, there are plans in place to allow the town to start collecting 100 percent of the fees paid.

The Dockwa system is an online registration application used by the town to help aid in the process of paying for and registering mooring sites. About 50 percent of the town’s business is currently done through the Dockwa system, reducing the number of cash and check transactions, Cramer said. Future plans for the town would see the move toward 100 percent of all transactions happening via Dockwa.

Water tank needed

The council also discussed the possibility of new regulations to the Freeman Park beach area to help control the amount of trash, as well as a the potential location for a new water tank in the town.

Carolina Beach is also in the market for a new 3 million gallon groundwater storage tank, and has been for the past several years, according to the presentation. There are several requirements for the construction of a new water tower including close proximity to primary distribution lines, good access to the property, and at least one acre of developable space.

The town has been considering a partnership with the Presbyterian Church located next to Town Hall. Cramer said he hopes the church will donate land to the city to allow for the construction of the new water tower.

Plans have not been approved yet and the process to getting a new water tower will not happen overnight, the topic will be brought before the council in future meetings as the plans progress.

Michael Praats can be contacted via email at

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