Charts: NOAA 13276, 13275
Marblehead is located approximately 12 nautical miles northeast of the entrance to Boston Harbor and 9 nautical miles southwest of Gloucester. Marblehead Light (42º 30.3´ N, 70º 50´ W), a fixed green beacon atop a 130′ skeleton tower, is located at the tip of Marblehead Neck and is visible for 10 nm.
The harbor entrance is easily approached from any direction through marked channels. Aids to navigation mark all hazards, so boaters should have little difficulty provided they pay close attention to their electronic or NOAA chart 13275. The mile-long, 700-yard-wide harbor is 20′-plus deep at mean low water, but a crowded mooring field and heavy small-boat activity in season can make passage tricky. A small, mooring-free channel runs close to the northwest shore to the downtown public landing.
- Gas and diesel: Fuel is available at the Marblehead Trading Company (781-631-7565), located directly in front of the Landing Restaurant, as well as at the Boston Yacht Club (781-631-3100).
- Pump-out: The town maintains a pump-out station and a pump-out boat on request via the harbormaster.
- There are no marinas in Marblehead (nearest are in Salem and Beverly). Limited transient dockage is available at the town-owned Tuckers Wharf in Marblehead’s historic district. Cost is $3/hour during the day (8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.). Overnight dockage can also be arranged via the harbormaster and includes 30 amp/50 amp electric hookup, fresh water, use of public restrooms and showers and coin-operated laundry. Advance reservations can be made via the harbormasters office, beginning March 1. Reservations may be made by phone or by written request as well as by VHF and will be assigned in the order in which they are received. A credit card number is required for any reservation. Failure to notify of cancellation will result in a 1-day charge for dockage. Cancellation of reserved dockage must be made 24 hours prior to arrival date. Reservations will be allowed for up to 10 days at a time, at which time the vessel must leave for a period of 10 days before returning. Transient vessels may be ordered to leave if weather conditions seem hazardous to the floats and gangways. Parking for 1 vehicle is provided per transient vessel. For rules and regulations regarding boating in Marblehead, go to the town website.
- The Eastern, Corinthian and Boston Yacht Clubs jointly maintain guest moorings at the harbor entrance. Boaters in need of a temporary mooring should contact these clubs or the harbormaster (781-631-2386).
- Guest and seasonal moorings are also available off Marblehead’s west shore in Salem Harbor via Mid-Harbor Marine (781-631-0611; VHF 69). Fee includes launch service to the Village Street town landing on Marblehead’s west shore (3/4 mile walk to downtown).
- Marblehead Trading Company (781-631-7565), located on the waterfront, offers service, fuel, repair, storage and more.
- The Forepeak (781-631-7184), located next to the Landing Restaurant at 89 Front Street, has a wide assortment of marine and boating supplies, including hardware.
- Boston Yacht Club (781-631-3100, VHF 68)
- Corinthian Yacht Club (781-631-0005, VHF 09)
- Dolphin Yacht Club (781-631-8000, VHF 68)
- Eastern Yacht Club (781-631-1400, VHF 09)
- Marblehead Yacht Club (781-631-9771, VHF 71)
- Pleon Yacht Club (781-631-1076)
Boaters wishing to anchor inside the harbor must first contact the harbormaster; however, the only real option, due to the abundance of moorings, is an area near the mouth of the harbor, which can be uncomfortable in easterly winds. Also, note that the rocky, ledge-filled waters offer poor holding ground and the potential for fouling. Public dingy tie-up is available at State Street landing.
- Charles Dalferro (781-631-2386; VHF 14)
- For rules and regulations regarding boating activities in Marblehead, go to their website.
- The Riverhead Beach public launch ramp is located at the head of Ladys Cove, off Ocean Ave. This ramp is only usable (for most boats) during the 2 hours on either side of high tide. Kayakers and cartoppers may have less of an issue. There is no dock or float, and the water depth is below 3′ for the first 50 to 75 yards into the cove. The ramp fee ($5 residents) can be paid at the attendant’s building across the street.
- A second, unpaved ramp is located north of town, on Gas House Lane, off Orne St. It allows access to deep water on all tides, but a 4WD vehicle is necessary. Trailer parking is sometimes available along the street. No fee; limited parking.
- Trailerboaters who want to access the Salem Sound area in general are best off launching at Winter Island in Salem or Popes Landing in Danvers.
North Shore Kayak Outdoor Center (978-546-5050)
Crosby’s Marketplace at 118 Washington Street (781-631-1741) is a well-stocked market within walking distance of the waterfront. It has a deli and bakery and sells a full line of groceries, wine and beer.
- The Barnacle, at 141 Front Street (781-631-4236), overlooking the harbor near Fort Sewall, is a cozy, rustic-looking eatery with a popular outside deck. Specializes in sandwiches, salads, chowder, fish and seafood.
- The Landing, at 81 Front Street (781-631-1878), is a large, waterside restaurant and pub next to the State Street wharf.
- The Muffin Shop, at 126 Washington Street (781-631-8223), and The Driftwood, 63 Front Street, (781- 631-1145) are breakfast and lunch favorites on the harbor.
Marblehead has numerous bed-and-breakfast inns, some right on the water. For information, contact the Chamber of Commerce.
- Favorite visitor stops when walking through historic Marblehead are the Old Town House, the Jeremiah Lee Mansion, Old Burial Hill and Abbot Hall.
- The Marblehead Historical Society, 161 Washington Street, (781-631-1768) runs guided tours of Marblehead’s historic sites on weekends during the summer
- The Marblehead Chamber of Commerce, 62 Pleasant Street, (781-631-2868) offers a brochure that outlines a self-guided walking tour.
- Devereux Beach on Ocean Avenue is a pleasant, sandy public beach with a playground, restaurant and good swimming (if you like cold water).
For information, contact the Chamber of Commerce.