June 28, 1975, started out as a typical Saturday at Nashville’s Commodore Yacht Club. But by 2 p.m., tragedy would strike the marina in what would become one of the city’s most costly fires on record.
The fire, which began after a houseboat’s engine exploded, took 90 minutes for local firemen to bring under control. Two people were injured and one dog died as a result of the blaze. Forty-five houseboats and yachts worth approximately $2 million were destroyed.
In the four decades since the fire, the club has been rebuilt, survived the Nashville flood of 2010, and has continued to thrive as one of Middle Tennessee’s best-kept-secret marinas off the Cumberland River.
The club, while private and small, boasts 80 slips in an intimate setting compared to nearby larger marinas. As a member of the BoatUS Cooperating Marina Program, Commodore offers both fuel and transient dockage discounts to BoatUS members. It is roughly 18.6 river miles from River Front Park at the foot of Broadway and the heart of downtown Nashville.
At the park, boaters can tie up and walk to hundreds of Nashville’s hottest restaurants, honky tonks, shopping and entertainment venues. Catch a Predators’ hockey game or a Titans’ football game, too. For those who want to safely sample the city’s libations without driving their boat back to the marina, Commodore is a short, 10-mile Uber ride from downtown.
When not touring Nashville or the nearby locks and dams, there’s plenty to do at the club. Commodore regularly hosts potlucks, fish fries and holiday feasts. There’s also nearby fishing and plenty of music and dancing dockside.
Getting to Commodore Yacht Club by boat is rather simple. The club, located at Mile 172.4 on the Cumberland River, is about 24 river miles from the Cheatham Lock and Dam at Mile 148.7 and 44 miles from Old Hickory Lock and Dam.
By car, club visitors would exit I-40 at Charlotte Pike at either 201A or 201B, depending on the direction of travel. Once you have exited, go west on Charlotte Pike and bear a right onto River Road in about a half-mile.
At a Glance
Commodore Yacht Club
6002 River Road
Nashville, TN 37209
Ron Ackerson, harbormaster
Dockage: Transient docking available, with 30/50 amp power.
Fuel: Gas and diesel.
Amenities: Ice, pumpout, ramp, bathhouse, laundry and WiFi.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday through Monday