Provincetown Names & Numbers

Photo Elizabeth Richardson

Getting There:

Charts: NOAA 13249, 13246, 13267

Provincetown, Massachusetts Chart

The approach and entrance to Provincetown Harbor from Cape Cod Bay are free of obstructions and are marked by three lights: Race Point Light, on the extreme eastern tip of the Cape (flashing white every 10 seconds); Wood End Light, at the southern point of the Cape’s final curve (flashing red every 10 seconds); and Long Point Light, at the harbor entrance, (steady green).

Speed limit inside the harbor is six mph. The harbor fairway is 100 yards wide and extends from 42 02’ 00 N/70 09’ 35 W to 42 02’43 N/70 11’01W, and in the area extending about 100 yards around the piers. Anchoring is prohibited in the fairway, but allowed in most other parts of the harbor, space permitting. Also, personal watercraft may not be used inside the harbor.

  • Note: Two breakwaters exist in Provincetown Harbor. One is a ¼-mile barrier located 835 feet behind MacMillan Pier. A 2,500-foot-long granite breakwater/dike lies roughly 300 yards southeast of MacMillan Pier. It extends southeast to northeast. The breakwater is marked by lights at either end. Use caution when operating in this area. Anchorage inside the breakwater is reported to be fair to poor, and there is an abundance of submerged debris.

Dockage, Moorings and Service:

  • Provincetown Town Float/MacMillan Pier/Harbormaster (508-487-7030; VHF 9, 12): Offers limited transient slips, gas and diesel. Free dinghy dock. Call for pump-out service.
  • Provincetown Marina (508-487-0571; VHF 9): 30 slips and 50 moorings reserved for transients. Water, electric and pumpout available.
  • Flyers: (508-487-0898; VHF 11): Rents moorings and small boats.
  • Lands End Marine Supply (508-487-0784): Marine supplies.

Anchorages:

Anchoring is allowed anywhere outside the breakwater and outside the main channel, but be aware that the bottom is somewhat hard so use appropriate ground tackle. A good anchorage exists outside of the mooring fields and tucked in behind Long Point, although this is a good distance from the town docks and beyond the range of launch service. Allow for a 10-foot tidal range. Note that the harbor is busy, and the numerous wakes can make for rolly conditions. A free dinghy dock is located at the end of MacMillan Pier.

Harbormaster:

(508-487-7030; VHF 9, 12 & 16): The Harbormaster’s office and public restrooms are located at the end of MacMillan Pier.

Launch Ramps

  • The only launch ramp on the harbor is the West End ramp. Due to the average 10-foot tidal range in the harbor, launching or hauling is limited to the 2 to 2 1/2 hours on either side of high tide, although smaller boats may have a larger time window. If your boat is over 22 feet long or the tide is not fairly high, consider launching in nearby Pamet Harbor in nearby Truro.
  • To reach the West End ramp, head west on Bradford Street then take a left on Franklin (about ¼ mile past Shankpainter Rd.) and continue on to Commercial Street, at the bottom of the hill. Follow Commercial Street as it swings right to rejoin the waterfront after the Coast Guard station (the road narrows considerably here). The ramp is located on the left about a quarter-mile past the CG station. A trailer-parking area is located on the southeast corner of the lot. Overnight parking is prohibited.

Boat & Kayak Rental:

Flyers Boat Rental (508-487-0898): Flyers rents kayaks and a range of small, open outboard-powered vessels suitable for nearshore cruising and fishing. Weekly rates are available.

Getting Around:

Public Transportation

  • The Provincetown Shuttle provides inexpensive service for residents and visitors. Major points of departure are the Municipal Parking Lot at the head of MacMillan Pier, Herring Cove Beach and Truro Center. Pick up spots are frequent on the major routes connecting these sites. Detailed schedules are available at the Chamber of Commerce Building and on the buses.

Bike Rentals

Things to See & Do:

  • Downtown P-town offers attractions and diversions too numerous to list—and some beyond description! Along Commercial Street you’ll find numerous gift shops, boutiques, candy stores, restaurants, ice cream shops, bars and theaters. Don’t neglect to visit Marine Specialties (508-487-1730), a funky, eclectic Army-Navy surplus store that carries everything and anything imaginable. Kids and grownups alike can spend hours in this place.
  • The Pilgrim Monument is open to the public and you can climb all 116 stairs to the top for amazing views of the Cape.
  • If you like to bike, the Cape Cod National Seashore has 8 miles of paved bike trails through forest and dunes connecting the major beaches.
  • Art’s Dune Tours (508-487-1950): Located on the corner of Commercial and Standish Streets, offers tour of the magnificent dunes east of town.
  • The Provincetown Trolley (508-487-9483): Offers tours of town.

Excursion Schooners & Harbor Tours

Where to Eat:

Provincetown is packed with restaurants of every imaginable description. A few standouts include: