Oregon Inlet NPS boating access

Anyone ever float their boat there? How was it dealing with the motor-boaters? Is there a sandy/grassy launch area or just the concrete ramps?

Thanks for any advice,


Oregon Inlet
Looking at your profile, you’d probably best stay away from Oregon Inlet, which is the most dangerous of all the inlets on the NC coast.

What He Said
If you choose to go anyway, Magoo gave me a great piece of advice. “Navigate inlets at or near high tide.” Don’t try to get back in when the tide is going out.

wait a minute…
You mean to tell me you can’t answer my question just because my profile says something to make you judge and jury of my kayaking abilities? Perhaps I should rewrite my profile since I have now taken several classes and paddled many different locations…just not at the OI. I just wanted to know if there was a beach/grass hand launch area, not your opinion of my abilities. Unless you have a crystal kayaking ball, you don’t know where I intend to go once I get there.

I’ll just drive down there and look for damn myself.

This meessage board used to be helpful. I remember now why I quit coming here.

your profile …
oregon inlet can be VERY dangerous. it’s not a place for “beginners” to play. it has an extremely strong current, rips, strong undertoe, and develops some huge waves (8 feet is not uncommon) given the proper wind and tide. such conditions can develop in minutes.

it’s good that you’ve had a few classes and paddled in a few different places. that however, is not enough in John’s qualified opinion and mine as well. it will however, serve to get you in more trouble than you’ll be able to get yourself out of. if you want to learn some good ocean skills, do so at Swansboro Inlet or Drum Inlet where conditions are generally more benign.

we’re trying to save your life here, not castigate you for having insufficient skills to paddle oregon inlet. if you want to go despite our warnings … yes, there’s a cove with beach just over the bridge where you can launch from.

good luck … keep a VH radio handy and pre-program the coast guard number. here’s hoping you don’t need it.

You have scared me away Dan. I have had enough of eight foot breaking waves and will stick to the babies for a bit longer. Swansboro Inlet??, is that the same as Bouge Inlet?

Happy Paddling,


If you go over to the Marina…
And go to the end of the parking lot (the one on the left side), there is a little spot where you can launch that isn’t a concrete boat-launch, you just have to carry your stuff across about 10 feet of rocks to get to it. There is very heavy boat traffic though, and most everybody going out is pissed-off or frustrated already so do your best to not escalate anyone’s already crappy mood.

If you’re not in really good physical condition and are not extremely confident in your abilities DO NOT head towards the inlet. I went through it at a full outgoing neap-tide, and I do really dumb stuff all the time, but that was one of the few times in my life where I’ve been really scared, and I’m pretty bad-ass. There is some weird shit going on there that can put you in trouble very quickly.

You can head north and have a nice and not too difficult paddle and check out some of the houses on the little islands and maybe head up to Bodie Island lighthouse.


The whole area has lots of good paddling opportunities as long as you’re safe and don’t exceed your abilities too much. I like paddling there and I’m sure lots of other people do too. Do what you want, just don’t ruin it for the rest of us.

THE Most Scared I’ve Been in a Boat

– Last Updated: May-20-06 7:08 AM EST –

was in Beaufort Inlet. I was trying to go into the sound and the tide was starting to go out. That's when I learned "navigate inlets at high tide" the hard way.

Dan, another inlet that's very forgiving is Barden Inlet at the Cape Lookout lighthouse.

Let me qualify that. The water is very forgiving. Some of the powerboaters are idiots.

Oregon Inlet
For what it’s worth, I paddled Oregon Inlet in April as part of my ICE and it is for advanced paddlers only. The currents there are extremely dangerous and there are powerful eddys and claptois. Very confused seas and it’s easy to VERY QUICKLY get carried way past the jetty.

It requires constant attention and focus, not only on the waves and current, but also on the boat traffic. Even on an incoming neap tide there was a lot of water moving OUT of the inlet along the channel 1 hour away from peak high (flood) tide. The conditions change very quickly – swells get big, fast, and you’ll want very solid bracing skills.

Like others have said, there are better places to put in if you just want to get out on the water. Just north of Avon (south of Oregon inlet) try the Canadian Hole on the sound side. Public parking, shallow water and you can watch the windsurfers if the wind is blowing.

There are also some access areas along the causeway to Manteo.

Just my .02 worth