LonRCrow@yahoo.com or cell 804-580-1162
Things everyone should know
buying waterfront property in the "Neck"
The Neck has dozens of deep rivers and some of the best anchorages on the Chesapeake Bay BUT there are also tidal areas that may have deep waterfront but no navigable exit to deepwater. Some waterfront property can have a depth of 5 feet and abundant crabs and fish indigenous to the bay, but the controlling depth to a navigable river like the Potomac can be a matter of inches. ALWAYS ALWAYS, check the controlling depth of any body of water that fronts property you are considering. Your agent should have a boat (I have seven).
You may now own a skiff or day sailor that requires only 2 feet of water BUT what will the boat you ultimately desire draw??? One must always consider the draft or overhead clearance of your dream boat. You do not want the property you purchase limit the size and kind of boat you hope to own one day. As the man who built my pier said, “you can always put a small boat in a big hole but you cannot put a big boat in a small hole”.
Some people desire property with broad expansive views of the bay and major rivers the Neck has to offer. If you desire to have a boat riding the swells at your pier while you cast your eyes out over the 14- mile-wide Potomac River, think again! Take it from someone who has ridden out storms on the Potomac, gentle swells can turn into 6 foot high breakers in a matter of minutes. When you have a long fetch, where the wind has the ability to generate large waves over long expanses of water, you better consider either a more protected harbor or, at a minimum, investing in a boat lift. Always examine such water in high wind conditions or ask potential neighbors their experiences with high wind events.
The normal daily tide for the Bay can range from 1.0 to 1.5 feet. Over the course of a year, the total range can be 3.0 feet. BUT, when there is a protracted high wind event, the waters of the Bay can literally blow out of the western shore rivers onto the eastern shore. During such a high wind event in the fall of 2003, my boat, which draws 4 feet 8 inches was sitting on the bottom in water that has 7.5 feet at mean low tide. While this does not pose a problem with most boats and these wind events are rare, one must take into consideration the bottom configuration of your boat and the susceptibility of your props/shafts if such an event were to occur. During the Ernesto tropical storm, winds blew the water into the tribs and the water was 2 feet above a lot of piers. When looking at lots low to the water, investigate the elevation of the lots relative to mhw and make wise decisions.
In the summer, stinging migrate up the Bay. Because of the drough last year they did not appear in any numbers but if you think about swimming off your pier know that these critters do show up about july and leave around august.