Visiting Fort Sumter by Private Boat

Fort Sumter and a Sailboat

Photo: NPS/Everitt


Fort Sumter by Private Boat

Fort Sumter is at the entrance of Charleston Harbor and is only accessible by boat. Those visiting by personal vessels (sailboats, kayaks, canoes, paddle boards, motorboats etc.) should be aware of safety conerns at Fort Sumter. Tides at Fort Sumter and in Charleston Harbor change dramatically throughout the day. Make sure to be aware of tidal changes the day of visitation. Visitors using their own boats should beach or anchor their vessel on the western side of Fort Sumter, between the fort and James Island. Please review the safety rules and regulations before visiting Fort Sumter, as well as, pet policies.

Operating Hours by Season
Fort Sumter is open year round except on New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Those visiting by personal boat must speak to a ranger or volunteer upon arrival. Fort Sumter can only be accessed when a Ranger is on duty. The operating hours are as follows:

Date Hours
January 1st (New Years Day) 11:30am-4:00pm
March 1st to March 14th 10:00am-4:00pm
March 15th to August 20th 10:00am-5:30pm
August 21st to Labor Day Weekend 10:00am-4:00pm
Labor Day Weekend (Fri-Sat-Sun) 10:00am-5:30pm
Labor Day Weekend to November 30th 10:00am-4:00pm
Thanksgiving Day Closed
December 1st to December 24th 11:30am-4:00pm
December 25th (Christmas Day) Closed
December 26th to December 31st 10:00am-4:00pm

The National Park Service strongly discourages anyone from tying up to the pier due to safety concerns mentioned above. Private boaters may not tie off to ladders, pillars or handrails, cannot use lines that are already attached to the pier (these are for the authorized tour boat and NPS operations), may not leave access gate to ladders open as this is a safety issue for all visitors to Fort Sumter. Again, plan to beach or anchor vessels on the western side of the fort.

Charter Boats
Fort Sumter National Monument does not permit Charter Boats to operate at Fort Sumter.

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Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1214 Middle Street
Sullivan's Island, SC 29482


(843) 883-3123

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