April 2015

Hilton Head Boathouse- Just Add Water!

Author: Kent Thune | Photographer: John Brackett

Hilton Head Island, and all of that encompasses the Lowcountry, is unmatched in its beauty, wildlife, beaches, and golf courses. And that’s not to mention its best element—water!

“The waterways of Hilton Head Island and the surrounding areas offer boaters a whole different world,” said The Hilton Head Boathouse managing principle, Grant Kaple.

From the Intracoastal Waterway, to the May River, to the tidal creeks and Atlantic Ocean, the access to the wildlife and destinations of the Lowcountry is unmatched and nearly unlimited.

Whether you want to fish, go to your favorite restaurant for dinner, do some bar-hopping with friends, cruise around other nearby islands like Daufuskie and Tybee, or if you just want to get away from the hustle and bustle of land life for a while and experience the salty air and scenery of local waterways, there is no better way to do it than by boat. In fact, many of these perspectives and destinations cannot be accessed in any other way than by water.

After speaking with Kaple, you’d wonder why you even own a car. “From Hilton Head Island, you can get to Savannah in about one hour’s time, which is about the same travel time as a car, and much more enjoyable,” he said. “Also the Charleston, SC, area is only about three hours from Hilton Head Island.

Access to the Intracoastal Waterway even makes it possible to travel by boat all the way up to Maine, if you wanted to go that far.”

Kaple not only gets to enjoy his love of boating and fishing, but he also gets to help others share in the joy of water life. “If you would have told me 40 years ago that I would be running a boat business, I wouldn’t have believed it,” he said with the excitement of child that was just told he would be starring in the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie.


An aerial view of Hilton Head Boathouse’s location on Skull Creek.
Grant Kaple aboard one of the many boats that are offered.
The showroom at the location on Squire Pope Road.

Among the greatest of beneficiaries of boating around the Lowcountry are people who love to fish. “Fishing around Hilton Head Island may be better than any other location on the southeast coast, because the area is still relatively undiscovered; it’s not overfished and there is great opportunity for all levels of fishermen and boat sizes,” Kaple said.

Types of fish around the area and in various times of the year include Red Fish, Grouper, Sea Trout, Flounder, Snapper, Mahi-Mahi, Cobia, Tarpon, and Wahoo. The Hilton Head Island area is also home to a vast array of wildlife, including alligators, deer, loggerhead sea turtles, manatees, and hundreds of species of birds that can be more visible from a water perspective.

The bottle-nosed dolphin is also a favorite boating experience. Their friendly, playful, curious, gentle and intelligent nature makes them a common and popular attraction among locals and visitors alike. Even a brief and quiet cruise around Port Royal Sound is likely to include a close encounter with one or more of these saltwater mammals on almost any given day.

With such a variety of boaters and water lovers coming to Hilton Head Island and surrounding areas, The Boathouse has grown along with that diversity and growth in popularity of boating. As the Lowcountry’s premier marina for more than 25 years, Hilton Head Boathouse has been serving the area since it was originally opened in 1987.

Priding themselves on service and selection, The Boathouse features a 280 boat slip dry stack marina, a factory authorized Yamaha service center, the area’s largest inventory of new Grady White, Sea Hunt, Parker, G3 and Sun Catcher Boats, an extensive list of brokerage boats for sale, and a full-service fiberglass and paint shop.

To meet the increasing and shifting demands of the various needs of fishermen and boat enthusiasts in recent years, Kaple has expanded The Boathouse by upgrading the Hilton Head Island location and, most recently, by adding a new location in Bluffton.

To expand their already expansive inventory, and to conveniently serve the people of Bluffton, Beaufort, and beyond, their new Bluffton location has 15,000 square feet of a wide variety of new and pre-owned boats, including a selection of the popular G3 Boats.

G3 is an aluminum boat line that incudes jon boats, bass boats, bay boats and pontoon boats, which are a perfect fit for many of the waterways on Hilton Head Island and in surrounding areas. Like The Boathouse, G3 has a reputation for high quality and customer satisfaction.

The Boathouse now has something for every kind of boater, and if you want to know how to discover a whole new world that exists beyond the island, there is a simple, three-word instruction to make it happen: Just add water. 

Hilton Head Boathouse is located at 405 Squire Pope Road Hilton Head Island and is adjacent to the waterfront restaurant, The Skull Creek Boathouse. For more information, call (843) 681-2628. The new Bluffton location is at 1498 Fording Island Road, Bluffton. For more information, call (843) 681-2628. You can visit them online at hhboathouse.net.

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