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RobGallagher 08-20-2011 01:19 AM

Block Island - Champlin's Marina Showers
Well I finally got "busted" trying to "sneak" a shower at Champlin's. (Busted and Sneak where their words, not mine.)

I've read the sign over the last decade + about showers only being for guests but I always gave Champlin's the benefit by buying ice, renting bikes, drinking at the dock bar, even ordering crap breakfast in their Harbor View Restaurant and considered myself a "guest" for doing so. Well last week I found out I was wrong.

I was escorted to the marina office like a kid being escorted to the principal's office. I only followed the rude employee in hopes that I could pay for a shower. No such luck for me.

And no such $100+++ dollar bar tabs on the dock, fill ups at the fuel dock, rip or bike rentals, nor will I ever have to endure a shite breakfast and coffee at their restaurant. I won't even buy a block of ice from these jerks.

I enjoyed the hot showers, but, somehow I think they enjoyed my money more.

I could have rented a slip for what I paid in frozen drinks last week.

No longer. So long Champlin's. The food is better and the drinks are more reasonable at The Oar anyway.

Rant completed. Over and out.

rwy36 01-31-2012 07:56 PM

Hi Rob,

Although it sounds like we had a little better luck 'sneaking' showers (my wife and I took turns while at the bar, and the bartender didn't seem to mind) - we had a similar negative experience at Champlin's one windy Saturday morning when we we're coming alongside their fuel dock for diesel, water and ice. It was quite choppy and our bow pulpit was nearly fouled with a ferry brow that was hanging over the side of the dock. Although numerous dock hands were in the area, no one offered any assistance with us getting our lines secured to the dock. Once we were finally on the dock, it was like we were invisible and we got treated as if they wished we weren't there. We got the water and ice (but no diesel), and decided to depart rather than wait around for the dock hands (we got the ice and water on our own).

As we were pushing off the dock (unassisted), the Admiral advised me that "we will never come here again" - and we haven't. Sounds like we made the right choice. Someday, when gas gets so expensive (again) and the go-fast boats decide not to take the trip out to Block, Champlin's might be sad they chased all the sailboats away.

Take care,


Minnewaska 01-31-2012 09:05 PM

New Harbor has gotten so popular and crowded that the marinas really don't have to worry about not having enough business. Sadly, I think that impacts the service. I only go out before 6/15 or after Labor Day.

In the basement beneath the Oar there are coin operated showers.

PaulfromNWOnt 01-31-2012 11:14 PM

I've always thought that an annual fee to a community sports center would be a good workaround to showers and stuff. You'd get a small locker for your towel, and likely access to a sauna as well. Around here, it would work out to less than a dollar a day.

ottos 02-02-2012 02:46 PM

Funny - on my only trip to Block we had the opposite experience(2010). Fueled up & stocked up at Champlins. The hands couldn't have been more helpful. Let us tie up for a visit to the showers after we were done fueling. We took care of them, of course (afterwards)Including me parting with a prize IPA which were in short supply. ;)

Of course, it was the week AFTER Labor Day. Seemed awfully quiet around there.

christyleigh 02-02-2012 03:48 PM


Originally Posted by ottos (Post 825664)
Of course, it was the week AFTER Labor Day. Seemed awfully quiet around there.

Yup..... totally different world up here after Labor Day. Minniwaska covered it pretty well .......6/15 - Labor Day is the Summer for most. Before and after that 90% of the power boaters are on the hard and 50% of the sailboaters are getting ready for the summer or getting ready for the winter.

jimrafford 02-02-2012 06:12 PM

I have had similar poor service at champlains. I have no desire to associate w/ the people that typically dock there. Loud drunk jerks.
We are always anchored out and go to the oar.
Because Block is close to a wide geographical area and the cost of fuel it has become very popular. We stopped there last summer in mid august on the way to chatam and the salt pond was crazy. It was as crowded as the fourth. We bypassed it on the way back and don't plan on stopping in the future.

Bene505 02-02-2012 07:44 PM

Can't comment on the service, but having spent considerable time in resort areas I'd like to present another viewpoint. They have to earn a whole years income in 60 days. That's never an excuse to be rude, but I can image that it affects them.


rwy36 02-02-2012 07:56 PM

Hi Jim,

We were probably in the pond during the same period last summer - we were also out there in mid-August for a couple of days and as you said, it was very crowded.

It seems that the anchorage has been reconfigured somewhat with new mooring balls being placed in areas that were once available for anchoring. So, since it was so tight, we did have a little trouble initially finding a spot with enough swinging room. Once we were <finally> settled, another guy swooped in downwind of us, dropped a short-scoped anchor and disappeared below decks. In about 5 minutes, they proceeded to drag down on our downwind neighbor and fouled their anchor rode on his prop and/or rudder (the crew of the 'target boat' wasn't aboard at the time). The captain went over the side to try and free the fouled rode, but the wind was blowing which was making things difficult for him and those assembled to help. Fortunately, TowboatUS quickly intervened and after helping to disentangle things, then helped them to a mooring for the evening (thankfully - we were worried they would try anchoring upwind of us next where there was still a little room - in about fifty feet of water).

As soon as the crew of the 'target' boat arrived back on board, we saw several folks stop by to let them know what happened while they were gone (and they then checked their rode for any damage from the fouling incident). They did stay put so apparently no damage was inflicted. It was nice that those that saw what happened passed the word along when the crew arrived back on board - I thought that was pretty neighborly of everyone (I was climbing in the dinghy to take a ride over to tell them when we saw the first (of many others) stopping by to let them know).

The Admiral enjoys Block since her family used to vacation there when she was a kid, (so we'll be back for more Anchoring Follies, I'm sure) - but I agree that overall, Block is a much more pleasant experience after Labor Day (both out in the anchorage and ashore)!

Take care,


rwy36 02-02-2012 08:22 PM

Hi Brad,

You raise a great point, and when comparing the $$ spent on the fuel dock between a powerboat and a sailboat, clearly there is more profit potential on the powerboat side when considering just that aspect.

However, as the OP mentioned, when you start throwing in bar tabs, dining and other shore-side incidentals (which can quickly add up), its harder to make a clear-cut determination. It would seem that a resort/hospitality business would be interested in building goodwill within both power and sailboat communities to help drive these other high-margin parts of the business.

To your point, though, I'm sure they have also had to tolerate some (and perhaps many) who take up lots of time and dock space while filling up their water tanks, then water jugs, then the sun shower - and then only buy about $10-15 worth of ice for all the trouble. From the marina's perspective, I'm sure they would be happy to never see that customer again (and especially if powerboats are queued up waiting for dock space during all this).


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