My Marina

Published in the March 2014 Issue March 2014 News Katie Burke

Houseboating is fun, no matter where you live. But certain areas are more set up for a weekend adventure. When we asked our Facebook fans what marinas we should cover in 2014, we heard a lot of great things about houseboating in South Carolina, especially Lake Hartwell.

“Anytime is a good time to houseboat in South Carolina,” says Julie Gillespie. “In the winter it’s a little cool, but with a front enclosure down, it makes for a great sun porch. Houseboating during the winter is also a wonderful way to unwind.”

Lake Hartwell actually sits on the Georgia and South Carolina border and encompasses the Savannah, Tugaloo and Seneca Rivers. Lake Hartwell is one of the southeast’s largest and most popular recreation lakes. The lake is a man-made reservoir created by Hartwell Dam.

Portman Marina

Gillespie and her family keep their boat at Portman Marina, which is located on beautiful Lake Hartwell. This marina is the largest inland marina in South Carolina. It’s only 90 minutes from Atlanta, Ga., and 30 minutes from Greenville, S.C. Other people had good things to say about Portman Marina as well.

 “Portman is the place where the most wonderful people, who are really like family, are,” says resident Pam Roystown.

Additionally, the marina features two of the area’s premiere restaurants: the Galley Restaurant, which offers waterfront dining with a selection of fresh seafood, steaks and prime rib; and Nami, an authentic Japanese restaurant, which offers a full sushi menu.

It is a full-service marina, with over 500 wet and dry storage spaces. Some of the most notable amenities include: covered and uncovered slips up to 50 feet in length, courtesy dock; a full-service gas dock with fuel, oil, and a pump-out station; and a large launch ramp with good parking.

For houseboat owners, they offer water and electricity hook-ups, cable TV and phone service and shower facilities. Short-term slip rates for transient boats are also available.

For more information on all the marina services, or for up-to-date pricing information on boat storage facilities, contact them at 864-287-3211 or

Harbor Light Marina

Another option for houseboat slip rentals on Lake Hartwell is Harbor Light Marina, located near Lavonia, Ga. This is a family-owned and operated marina that offers a variety of services including boat service and slip rentals. The marina also has a great lineup of pontoon and deck boat rentals, which make a great addition to your houseboat. Its current lineup includes 16 pontoons, fishing and deck boats. They are all kept clean and in excellent mechanical condition ensuring a positive rental experience.

Harbor Light Marina South is a new addition and is one of the newest and most unique marinas on the southeast part of the lake. Some of the features include great amenities such as DirecTV pre-installed and free wireless internet access. This marina is clean, well-maintained and full of friendly people. Slip lengths are 20-77 feet long, both covered and uncovered. Check out or call 706-356-4119 for more information.

Hartwell Marina

If you are on Lake Hartwell, be sure to consider Hartwell Marina, which is located right outside of Hartwell, Ga. This marina has been in operation since the late 1960s. The Tew family bought Hartwell Marina in 1999 and have since expanded the marina’s capacity and capabilities including new docks, extensions and renovations of docks and a massive expansion of the dry stack facility for those of you who own runabouts as well. Hartwell Marina continues to grow and change to better serve Hartwell and visitors to the lake. You can learn more at or by calling 706-376-5441.


Fun Facts About Lake Hartwell

  • Lake Hartwell was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1955 and 1963. The authorized purposes of Lake Hartwell are many, including flood risk management, water quality, water supply, downstream navigation, hydropower production, fish and wildlife protection and recreation.
  • The Hartwell project was originally authorized for only three specific purposes: hydropower, flood control, and navigation. Things like recreation, water quality, water supply, and fish and wildlife management were added later.
  • Lake Hartwell contains 55,900 acres of water and has 962 miles of shoreline. 23,563 acres of public land surround the lake.
  • The lake is located in two states (Georgia and South Carolina) and six counties (Georgia: Hart, Franklin, and Stephens; South Carolina: Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens).
  • The three corps-managed lakes on the Savannah River (Hartwell, Richard B. Russell, and J. Strom Thurmond) are responsible for maintaining water supply and water quality needs of the Savannah River from below Thurmond Dam all the way to Savannah, Ga., and the Atlantic Ocean.
  • The Savannah River forms at the confluence of the Tugaloo and Seneca Rivers, 7.1 miles above the Hartwell Dam.
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