Information for Renters and Guests about How to Catch the Ferry

Dewees Island Ferry Guidelines – revised 07-15-2015

Exciting update as of August 2014: Emily Watson is now the fearless leader of Dewees Rentals.  Judy has left the rental business to focus on real estate sales, but you’ll still see her out and about on the island.  Over the years, here are some tips we’ve learned.


Here is some information about packing and how to catch the ferry to Dewees Island. The first hour of your trip to the island is the hardest one, logistically. Check-in time for most homes is the 4:00 ferry.  (Charlotte’s Pearl is the 3:00 ferry.) Be sure you arrive by 3:45.  In the busy summer months, there may be an intern or escort on the check-in boats or in the parking lot who can help you get acclimated. When you pull into the parking lot, pull straight ahead and then left under the awning for loading a cart.   Once you have loaded your gear into a cart, you will wait off to the right or left side until all the passengers disembark. The mate will load your cart onto the ferry from the top deck. Please don’t put carts at the bottom before the ferry has unloaded disembarking passengers and gear.

When you get on the ferry, sit down and wait until the mate comes around to check you in. Give your name when asked.   If there is any problem, call Emily 843-906-0410. Once the mate knows who you are, you might want to ride on the top deck, where you could spot dolphins, sea turtles, or manatees. Sit back and relax~ your vacation has begun.

An intern will try to meet you on the Dewees side to assist with luggage and help you get to your house. (This assumes you arrive on the 4:00 or 5:00 ferry.) Otherwise, you will look for the golf cart that matches the number of the house where you are staying. If you plan to arrive at night, you may want a flashlight. The number of the golf cart is on the front of the cart.

Once you get there, if that property has a key, you will find a lock-box with the key. We will email you the combination with directions a week before you come. (OR The key may be in the door or on the counter if someone has just checked out.)

FAQ: Can I check in early?  Dewees Rentals can arrange for early check-in if the house is empty before you get here.  Otherwise they will try to accommodate you.  You can choose to pay an extra $50 per hour to arrive as early as 1:00, but they need 48 hours advance notice.

Do we have to bring all our groceries on the boat? Yes, but you don’t have to bring them all on the same run you are arriving on.  Some families drop off luggage and most people on the check-in ferry, and then shop and return on a later boat.  It is entirely up to you.  Dewees Rentals will assist the first group of arriving renters in each home; subsequent arrivals need to be greeted by your party.

Can I reserve a particular ferry? Not really, although we may get to the point where you have to. The best strategy is to arrive early.

Is there a link to the rules I can download?

Dewees Island Ferry Guidelines – revised 07-15-2015

Is it true that owners can bump me off the ferry?
Technically, yes.  Owners take priority for both seats and luggage carts.  If you get bumped, you will be on the next ferry, and Dewees Rentals will do everything we can to assist you. This video may help you with packing:

Does everyone need to check in at the same time?
No, but you are responsible for picking up and orienting guests who arrive on the later ferry.

Where should we stand while waiting for the ferry? Please wait at the top of the ferry waiting area, and not on the dock.  Luggage carts should be under the awning, off to the far right in order for passengers to disembark.

Do I wheel my own cart down onto the dock?  
Unless the mate tells you otherwise, able-bodied passengers should wheel their own carts on the dock to the loading zone of the ferry after disembarking passengers have exited the ferry.  The mate will help you get the cart onto the boat.

Can we ride on the top deck? Yes.  Be sure pets are leashed and kids are supervised. Hang on to your hat, and have fun watching for dolphins, turtles, eagles, and manatees.

What if we are late catching the ferry? You are late if you arrive any time after —:45.  It takes a few minutes to unload your cart and get your gear onto the boat.  Please don’t stress out the captain by arriving to the parking lot at 4:00 and expecting to get on that ferry.  It is his job to depart on time.

How much bottled water will I need for the week? NONE!  Please don’t stress out our resources by bringing bottled water to the island.  The water on the island is perfectly safe to drink, and there is a great tasting R-O filtration system at the landings building.  If you must, bring your own 3 gallon bottle– and leave it behind for the next guest to refill. Cases of individual bottles of water should not be on the ferry.

should be on a leash in the parking lot, on the ferry, and on Dewees at the ferry landing/causeway area. Click here for more information about pets on the island.