Park Service selects new group to run Oregon Inlet Marina

By on October 23, 2018

The marina was originally a tidal creek. In 1954 the National Park Service granted a concession to Capt. Toby Tillett, who dredged the basin and opened a bait shop that  eventually became Oregon Inlet Fishing Center. (NPS)

A newly-formed company has been chosen by the National Park Service to enter lease negotiations for the marina at Oregon Inlet, potentially bringing an end to a 45-year relationship with the current group running what’s known as the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center.

Oregon Inlet Marinas LLC has been selected over multiple proposals submitted this past summer to lease and operate the marina on the north shore of Oregon Inlet.

“The proposal judged best under the proposal selection criteria has been given an opportunity to negotiate a final lease agreeable to both the selected applicant and the NPS,” according to an NPS press release.


Oregon Inlet Marinas is managed by Russell C. King, according to the National Park Service. An article of organization was filed on Friday with the N.C. Secretary of State, listing only Andrew W. Howle as organizer.

The Park Service said proposals were evaluated by an independent panel of experts in commercial services from parks and offices outside of Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Selection was made by National Park Service Southeast Regional Director Bob Vogel, who was on the Outer Banks over the weekend for the opening of the renovated Wright Brothers National Memorial visitor center.

Oregon Inlet Fishing Center Inc. was formed in 1973 as a shareholder-owned corporation made up of captains and boat owners and has operated the marina ever since.

Its concession contract with the Park Service has been extended on an annual basis since 2000.


The facility includes a 60-slip marina; seven buildings totaling 7,369 square feet; about 7.4 acres of associated land area; a parking lot with about 220 spaces; six vessel fuel pumps, one vehicle fuel pump, and a fuel system and storage.

Stipulations in a June request for proposals included continuing marina slip rentals and services for charter fishing boats, headboats and tour boats, and providing regular maintenance and upkeep of the marina and facilities.

The request also called for “improvements necessary to ensure that a safe, sustainable, environmentally sound, and resilient marina bulkhead, or equivalent shoreline stabilization project, is implemented to allow for marina operations throughout the term of the lease.”


Outer Banks Group Management Analyst Sarah Merrill said details about the proposal from Oregon Inlet Marinas, LLC, was confidential while the negotiations were ongoing.

Merrill said information on the number of proposals and details about the other groups involved could also not be disclosed.

The Park Service said plans are to complete the lease negotiations by the end of the year.


  • Mnteoer

    I hope it works out best for the people that have made there livings out of that marina. That is the best fleet of charter boats and captains on the east coast. YOU DON’T WANT TO LOSE THAT FLEET OF CHARTER BOATS.

    Tuesday, Oct 23 @ 8:38 pm
  • Mark Nelson

    Why the change??

    Tuesday, Oct 23 @ 11:46 pm
  • surf123

    I expect to see a protest of the lease award, as that has become the norm in government contracting. It’s an odd business where the government has started to interject themselves to force changes just for the sake of change without regard to experience and expertise. Price can also be more important than it should be. I’ve been involved in many contract awards where the winner is ill-equipped to perform the work and the government has to extend deadlines, adjust funding levels, and just plain look the other way until they figure it out.

    Wednesday, Oct 24 @ 11:03 am
  • Edward

    The old shareholders have never made adequate upgrades. Basically let everything fall apart building, docks,etc. They do not deserve the lease, plain and simple. It’s about time someone else ran the property.

    Wednesday, Oct 24 @ 3:34 pm
  • Dan

    Edward, maybe you should find out the facts first before you just blame the shareholders. The NPS also was supposed to have taken part in keeping things updated as well. For example the freezers are way out of date the last couple of summers that I know of they have broke countless times and the nps would do nothing for months. The ice company would have to leave a Tariler there for the ice and bait. Call me crazy but I would think fixing this problem would be cheaper than rent on an ice Tariler. You also might believe that this is a big money making operation but it’s really not when you take in to fact that the nps gets a percentage of everything you sale charter boats are self owed who pay dock rent and pay for there ice,bait,fuel,maintenance, Insurance’s and a mate an a offshore trip only cost 2020$ so you tell me how much they make then the nps wants a new bulkhead and docks that will be approximately 1million which the nps will contribute nothing to help pay for. Those examples are just the tip of the iceberg so much more could be said.

    Thursday, Oct 25 @ 6:35 am
  • Carter McKay

    Anyone entering in a concessionaire’s agreement with the NPS is completely aware of all the requirements that are required by the Department of Interior. Whether it’s a $1 million plus investment into new bulkheads, upgrades to gas and diesel facilities, a potential new store and/or basic maintenance to existing facilities, all parties are aware of their respective responsibilities. If the former operators were that ignorant of the terms of the concessionaire’s agreement, then perhaps they should have surrender management a long time ago or at best should have never attempted to operate the business in the first place.

    I’m confident that the new partnership being forged between Oregon Inlet Marinas LLC and the NPS will be the best possible outcome for both the charters that choose to remain at Oregon Inlet as well as the consumers that seek the services they provide.

    Oregon Inlet is one of the most sought after marinas on the East Coast due to its proximity to world class fishing, so I’m sure the new operators will have little to no difficulty whatsoever in keeping those slips filled with the best fishing fleet possible. Maybe a few of the captains need to find a new home, but overall the fleet at Oregon Inlet is by far the best on the East Coast.

    Thursday, Oct 25 @ 10:43 am
  • Edward

    I got the facts, the place needs a complete rehall. You must be one of the old timers getting that check from the shareholders. Give me a break place is a dump.

    Thursday, Oct 25 @ 9:32 pm
  • manteobxr

    somebody got caught snoozing at contract renewal time most likely. probably some name calling and finger pointing at the last board meeting.

    Friday, Oct 26 @ 5:25 am
  • Manteoer

    To Ed now why would the business invest money into a building you’d never own. Nps took ownership while I worked there because nobody can own a structure on nps proerty anymore so nps bought it from the oifc board and tell me why anybody would fix that old building not owning it. Nps wants new building new bulkhead and money put aside for parking lot maitenence. That place doesn’t make enough money for that. And again why put money into something you dont own and aren’t gonna get a permit from nps

    Friday, Oct 26 @ 6:54 am
  • The Captain

    Very interesting. Having been involved in Government contracting for many, many years, there is always a caveat in their awards “Best Qualified Bidder”. Now the National Park Service is one of the most underfunded Departments and may have been totally “Duped” by $$$$$$$$$. Have they totally checked the financial resources and capability of the bid winner. Putting in nebulous words “improvements……….” without specificity is useless. So they “Bang Some New Boards and Nails”, a joke. I was under the impression the new contract raised the “Sales Commission” to the NPS. Either the new operator has very deep pockets or the public and boat owners are going to pay dearly. Charter rates will go up. Right now a charter is financially getting out the reach of your normal vacationer. From the Charter boat side most don’t understand the low profit made. Without significant Overhead (Insurance, Dockage, Advertising and Maintenance) the expenses for a big boat Offshore Trip can exceed $1,300 for Fuel, Bait, Ice and Crew Salary. Then consider that the business is somewhat seasonal for most boats. Ugh.

    Friday, Oct 26 @ 8:25 am
  • KB

    Ed you obviously know nothing. The buildings are property of the park service, and they hold responsibility as well. The docks on the other hand are practically new, they were rebuilt in September of 2011 by they fishing center, new pedistals were put in as well. Bottom line is the share holders likly did not want to bend and give the NPS a bigger chunk of the pie, since that is one thing that the park service wanted. In all likelihood this is going to hurt the owner opperators that charter out of that marina. I am pretty sure some of them barely skate by with what little they make chartering, now the parkservice will likely take a lion’s share of what little they would clear.

    Friday, Oct 26 @ 10:23 am
  • The Old Man & The Sea

    Best of luck to Oregon Inlet Marinas LLC! We welcome you to the Outer Banks and so wish you all the best with your future endeavor!

    Friday, Oct 26 @ 12:43 pm
  • Manteoer

    Nps should have not taken the buildings from the original owners nps new the condition of the structures there when they pulled there iminent domain on the owners of the buildings so again why would the captains that started that place replace something there not gonna own and get an indefinitely lease remember one thing there were boats there befor nps was. It will be impossible for some of the less booked boats to stay there if they change prices too much

    Friday, Oct 26 @ 9:03 pm
  • Manteoer

    And another comment ( fact is) they were fishing out of that place before nps took ownership of the land. Late 90s they bought the building from said owners of the buildings . As a owner of a building it’s your you take care of it not your renters. Everything else the nps owns around here it mananged to government specs. As owner of the fishing center they should manange it as well as everything else they own.

    Saturday, Oct 27 @ 8:16 am
  • Joe

    Sounds like the end to a good ‘ol boy sweetheart deal.
    New owner ideas and a new approach will be welcomed.

    Saturday, Oct 27 @ 1:30 pm
  • Manteoer

    Carter you need to find a new home. The captains aren’t happy as it will probably raise charter prices fuel prices and slip prices. If the new lease holders chare too much they are gonna leave and you’ll have that place full of wanna bes. Remember it’s the captains that are there now all of them, that make oregon inlet fishing center.

    Saturday, Oct 27 @ 7:05 pm
  • Carter McKay

    Manteoer, Oregon Inlet is a nationally recognized brand that was under utilized by the previous management regime, so I’m confident the new management group is far better equipped to operate a multi-million dollar marina more efficiently and effectively than the previous management group. If any captain currently located at Oregon Inlet is upset then I would suggest they take those grievances directly to the Board of the soon to be defunct Oregon Inlet Fishing Center and not attempt to use intimidation with Oregon Inlet Marinas LLC as a means to coerce an agenda. From what I have been told there are no less than 11 offshore vessels currently located at various marinas from Virginia Beach to Morehead City that have expressed varing degrees of interest in relocating to the new Oregon Inlet Marina. Sometimes change is necessary and all too often it benefits those that complain the loudest. CEM

    Sunday, Oct 28 @ 2:59 pm
  • Edward

    Excuse me, rehaul. Bottom line changes are needed. Hope it’s for the better.

    Sunday, Oct 28 @ 6:51 pm
  • Manteoer

    There isn’t enough business to support 11 extra boats carter. Look at all the boats tied up every day in July and august. And add up all the trips run out of that marina and the expense of operating a boat. Especially if you raise slip fees fuel prices charter prices the nps owns it they should maintain it. Just like the bathrooms at the oregon inlet boat ramp oifc didn’t build that building. THE NPS DID AND THEY SHOULD BUILD THE NEW MARINA STORE AND BULKHEADING

    Monday, Oct 29 @ 6:30 am
  • Carter McKay

    Manteoer the new management group negotiated a superior deal with the NPS. At the end of the day the NPS wanted a management company in charge that had the financial and management wherewithal to do what needs to be done at Oregon Inlet. The previous group had 45 years to get it right, and still managed to squander opportunity after opportunity, so don’t harbor any hostility toward Oregon Inlet Marinas LLC. It’s difficult to manage an operation like Oregon Inlet when there’s no day-to-day manager on duty, and the defacto mananger is 30 miles offshore day in and out. Once everything is public record, you’ll see that the new group simply offered a superior vision and the NPS in turn offered them a better contract. The captains and customers will definitely be the true winners when all is finalized.

    Monday, Oct 29 @ 8:58 pm
  • Manteoer

    The only way I could invest in something like this where it would take you more than 25 years to recoup your money would be if I was a multi millionare and needed good tax write off and the rich get richer. That is how it is most likely gonna go down. I hope the new owner of the lease dosent have his family running the business like they did before. Or if they do the nps needs to have someone in there every day to watch every dime coming in and going out.

    Tuesday, Oct 30 @ 7:04 am
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