Charts: NOAA 13276, 13275
Salem Harbor’s entrance is approximately 16 nautical miles northeast of the “NC” buoy (42º 22.5´ N, 70º 54.3´ W) at the entrance of Boston Harbor and 10 nautical miles west of “R2” (42º 34.2´ N, 70º 39.9´) off Eastern Point, Gloucester.
The waters surrounding Salem are riddled with rocks and ledges. Several marked channels lead into the harbor, but the Salem Channel, which begins just east of Newcomb Ledge (42º 30.5´ N, 70º 44.4´ W), is the most straightforward approach. This is a dredged ship channel with a minimum depth of 29′. It is marked by lighted buoys and runs in a west-northwesterly direction between Bakers and Misery Islands, until it turns southwest near the Beverly shore and heads into Salem Harbor.
The deep-water channel ends just beyond the power station. Depths in the central part of the harbor range 7′- 15′, with just 2′ – 3′ close to shore. Be aware that the water surrounding the wharves can be quite shallow. Docking alongside the wharves is prohibited.
Note: there is no fuel available in Salem Harbor; gas and diesel are available at nearby Marblehead and Beverly Harbors.
- Brewer Hawthorne Cove Marina (978-740-9890, VHF 9): Full-service marina located just west of the powerplant and adjacent to the House of the 7 Gables. A short walk puts you in the heart of downtown Salem. A 7′ deep channel leads to the marina, which has slips with 30- and 50-amp power hookups, moorings, launch service, showers and laundry facilities for boats to 55′.
- Pickering Wharf Marina (978-744-2727, VHF 9): Offers dockage (both long- and short-term) in the heart of a lively wharf complex. A 7′ dredged channel leads to slips and docks that can accommodate boats to 120′. Thirty- and 50-amp power hookups, showers and laundry facilities are available.
- Fred J. Dion Yacht Yard, Inc. (978-744-0844): Offers 50-ton Travelift, 35-ton crane, and Brownell trailer. Moorings available. Canvas, wood and fiberglass repair. Rigging and carpentry.
- Winter Island Yacht Yard (800-775-3797): Located on Juniper Cove, WIYY specializes in engine service and repair, wood and fiberglass repair, haulout, rigging and more.
- Salem Willows Yacht Club (978-744-9684, VHF 68): Private club offering reciprocal privileges to members of other clubs.
- Palmer Cove Yacht Club (978-744-9722, VHF 78): Private club offering reciprocal privileges to members of other clubs.
- Salem Water Taxi (978-745-6070, VHF 68): Mooring rental at $45/day, including launch service. Also rents on weekly basis.
- Mid Harbor Launch (781-631-0611): Mooring rentals on the Marblehead side of the harbor.
- It is possible to anchor off Salem Willows Amusement Park, off Juniper Point, which is protected from all but northeast winds. The bottom is hard, with 13′ of water.
- Another small anchorage with rocky bottom is located inside the harbor between buoys GC “25” and QG “23”.
- A third option for smaller craft is in the southern end of the harbor, although the water here is quite shallow.
- Launch service is available through Hawthorne Cove Marina (978-740-9890; VHF 9) or Salem Water Taxi (978-745-6070; VHF 68).
- Dinghy or tender tie-up may be available at Pickering Wharf (call for info) for a fee.
- Bill McHugh: (978-741-0098; VHF 16)
- For the harbormaster’s web page CLICK HERE.
- A public launch ramp is located at Winter Island Maritime Park (978-745-9430). The $5 fee includes trailer parking and use of the ramp. This ramp is one of the best on the North Shore, and provides quick access to Salem Sound and adjoining waters. Tent and RV campsites are also available at the park.
- Another Salem ramp is located at the McCabe Marina and Recreation Area (978-744-0180) on the Danvers River off Kernwood Street. State residents must pay $5 daily launch/parking fee; non-residents pay $10 to park. Note: This ramp offers excellent access on all tides, even minus tides.
Salem Kayak (978-270-8170): Offers kayak & SUP rentals, lessons and guided tours on Salem Harbor and vicinity.
- Salem Trolley (978-744-5469): Offers a 1-hour narrated tour and provides shuttle transportation between numerous city attractions. A day pass, which includes the tour and unlimited trolley rides, is $15 for adults (ages 14-65) and $5 for children (ages 6-14). Children under 6 ride free.
- Salem Cycle (978-741-2222): Rents bicycles
- Tri-City Taxi (978-744-4772)
Steve’s Quality Market (978-744-4220): Located at 36 Margin Street, not far from the harbor. Carries basic groceries and meats.
- Finz (978-744-8485)
- In a Pig’s Eye (978-741-4435)
- 62 on Wharf (978-744-0062)
- Red’s Sandwich Shop (978-745-3527)
- Capts. Waterfront Grill (978-741-0555)
- Salem Beer Works (978-745-2337)
- Hawthorne Hotel (800-729-7829)
- Salem Waterfront Hotel (888-337-2536)
- Salem Inn (978-741-0680)
- Salem also offers scads of B&B and inns to choose from. Call 877-SALEMMA; or go to their website.
- Peabody Essex Museum (800-745-4054): The oldest continuously operating museum in the United States, PEM is Salem’s cultural hub. Its eclectic collection includes maritime arts and history, plus a wide array of Asian, African, Native American and American arts. PEM, which began in 1799 with a “cabinet of curiosities” carried home by Salem’s seafaring entrepreneurs, now houses one of the country’s most eclectic collections of American and Asian art, furniture, natural history exhibits and maritime art and history. Its maritime art and history collection is the largest and most comprehensive in the country.
- National Park Service’s Salem Maritime Historic Site (978-740-1660): Offers tours of historic buildings, a visit to the Tall Ship Friendship, and a film about Salem’s history. The National Park Service also operates a regional visitors’ center at 2 New Liberty Street.
- Winter Island Marine Recreational Park (978-745-9430): Home of historic Fort Pickering and the Fort Pickering Lighthouse, as well as “Waikiki Beach.” Also has an excellent boat ramp, seasonal dinghy rack, a camp store, picnic areas, RV & tent camping, and self-guided walking tours.
- Salem Custom House: Nathaniel Hawthorne worked as a surveyor from 1846 to 1849 at this nearly 200-year-old building on Derby Street.
- Joe’s Fresh Fish Prints & Tomo’s Tackle (978-498-4187): This cool shop on Pickering Wharf sells exquisite Japanese Gyotaku fish-print art and more (half the store is a well-stocked tackle shop). Owner Joe Higgins will also make custom prints of fish caught by customers, and will even take you fishing.
- Salem Witch Museum (978-744-1692): Tells the story of the infamous Salem Witch Trials and hysteria of the 1600’s via a narrated audio and diorama presentation. A bit hokey and dated, but educational.