Port Sanilac Marina, Port Sanilac, Michigan

Where everybody knows your name

Published in the February 2018 Issue July 2019 Feature Heather Magda Serrano

Nothing beats vacationing in a small, friendly area where everybody knows your name. When you pay a visit to Port Sanilac Marina off of Lake Huron in Michigan, that’s exactly what you’re getting. Sarah Arrell, the general manager at the marina, explained that most of the customers who dock at Port Sanilac become repeat customers because of the friendly atmosphere.

“What we’ve found is once somebody comes here, they stay,” shared Arrell. “They keep coming back because they see the same people every year and it’s enjoyable.”

It’s little wonder since Port Sanilac offers a carefree vacation packed with boating, friendly people, festivities and exemplary customer service.

Fun & Friendly

With a population of 600 during most of the year, this number swells to just 2,000 or 3,000 during the summer months, lending this port a peaceful atmosphere with a nice community feel. Many of the visiting boaters come from the Detroit area and they generally like to live aboard during the summer or have a cottage in Port Sanilac and boat every weekend.

“It’s a small town atmosphere up here and everyone’s friendly in town,” described Arrell. “You go into the same shop every week and people get to know you. They get to know your name, understand what you like and what best suits you, so it’s more personable than other areas.”

Port Sanilac is also home to the Bark Shanty Sail Club which rents a space in one of the marina’s buildings. They organize plenty of activities for boaters, and rather than being exclusive to just sailors, they welcome power boaters as well. With all the fun and educational social events, people get to know each other in no time and form lasting friendships.

Everything You Need

As a full-service marina, Port Sanilac Marina offers dockage, indoor and outdoor storage, a full service department and a convenience store. They’re open virtually all-year-round and only close for one month at the end of December. They even do new and used boat sales. In fact, they’ve been a Beneteau dealer for the past few years and have received great feedback on the sailboats from their customers.

The marina also has a restaurant that overlooks the harbor, so after a long day of boating, you can kick back and enjoy a tasty dinner on the lake and hop over to the ice cream shop for some dessert.

Port Sanilac has 102 slips with about 90 percent of these being booked seasonally while the others are used for transient boaters. Something else to note: there’s a nice sandy beach on the north side of their harbor which is a great place for launching kayaks and swimming.

Don’t have a kayak? Not to worry. The marina sells new kayaks as well. They really did think of everything.

A Full Calendar

Port Sanilac hosts loads of events that’ll keep everybody entertained. To kick things off, there’s the Open House on the fourth Saturday of April this year. There will be live music and complimentary refreshments, so you won’t want to miss that.

Then there’s the Blessing of the Fleet on Memorial Day weekend. For this event, you have the option to participate in a parade of boats that go past the fuel dock where a local priest blesses each boat. There’s also a 21-Gun Salute where you can kneel for fallen servicemen.

For the Fourth of July, Port Sanilac has an unparalleled fireworks display that is shot off the break wall and there’s also a parade that goes through town. Then don’t forget the Summer Festival in July, which is great for children and families. This event includes bounce castles and kid games in Harbor Park

There’s also a Blues Festival at the beginning of August, which is a huge draw for the town. Thousands of people attend to sway to the rhythm and have a great time.

Lastly, there’s an antique boat show where you can gander at antique boats and camper vans. They offer tours so you can get a feel for the gorgeous old vessels.

Satisfaction Guaranteed

When you visit Port Sanilac Marina, you’re not just docking your boat at the marina. You’re experiencing the friendly town, the fun events, and the exemplary service. In the end, Arrell feels their service at the marina is what truly sets them apart.

“We find customer service to be the most important thing because owning a boat is not a necessity,” said Arrell. “So if it’s not enjoyable, people aren’t going to do it. Here at Port Sanilac we want to make it something that’s fun for people so they’ll continue enjoying it.”

For More Information:

Port Sanilac Marina


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