South Portland Names & Numbers
January 23, 2017
Charts: NOAA 13292, 13290
South Portland is located roughly 40 miles northeast of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and 110 miles southwest of Bangor, Maine. As it shares Portland Harbor with the larger city of Portland, South Portland is best approached by first finding the offshore mark of the Portland Lighted Horn Buoy (PLHB) “P” (43°31.6’ N, 70°05.5’ W), which replaced the old Portland Lightship decades ago. Arriving at PLHB from either the southwest or northeast, look northwest and head for the white tower of Portland Head Light (43°37.4’ N, 70°12.5’ W), which is a prominent 101-foot spire on the western shore about seven miles away. Keeping it to port, continue to look northwest and head for Spring Point Ledge Light (43°39.1’ N, 70°13.4’ W), whose white sector will keep you in the main channel and whose red sectors will let you know when you are outside the broad main channel. Once past Spring Point, you are in Portland Harbor and need only follow the large, lighted and closely spaced green buoys to turn southwest into the harbor and eventually the mouth of the Fore River. The South Portland recreational waterfront starts about a half-mile southwest of Spring Point Light and runs for nearly two miles to the large, prominent Casco Bay bridge (a bascule bridge), which spans the southwest end of Portland Harbor. Traffic in all channels is heavy throughout the day and only moderates after dark.
- Dockage and moorings are plentiful in South Portland, and several marinas and boat clubs can be found along the shore between Spring Point and Mill Cove. In all cases it’s wise to call ahead for accommodations, especially on weekends.
- South Port Marine (207-799-8191): Full-service marina at the base of the Casco Bay Bridge. Because of heavy traffic and substantial wakes in Portland Harbor, many transient boaters try to find a slip here. Offers fuel, transient slips, hauling, rigging, laundry, showers, WiFi, provisions and ships store.
- Spring Point Marina (operated by Port Harbor Marine) (207-767-3254). Full-service marina located at the northeast end of the South Portland shore. Offers transient slips, many of which are protected from the surge. Fuel, hauling, provisions, on-site restaurant, laundry, showers, WiFi, hauling, service.
- Sunset Marina (207-767-4729): Full-service marina located midway between the other 2 marinas. Offers transient slips, fuel, water, electric, WiFi, restaurant, showers, laundry, hauling.
- Centerboard Yacht Club (207-799-7084; VHF 68;): Located almost exactly halfway between the ends of the harbor, Centerboard has a reputation for being very helpful to members of other clubs. Offers transient moorings.
- Free daytime dockage can be found at the Knightsville Floats at Thomas Knight Park, on the west side of the Casco Bay Bascule Bridge. The park offers easy access to the shopping district and several restaurants. For helpful boating information of the docks, go to City of South Portland.
- There is a mooring field west of the Centerboard Yacht Club where you may be able to anchor (as long as there’s room). Beyond the Casco Bay Bridge, you can find numerous well-protected spots with good holding ground to drop the hook inside the Fore River, as long as you stay outside the channel.
- There are also numerous protected places to anchor among the islands in Portland Harbor. The western shorelines will obviously afford more protection from swells and prevailing summer southwesterlies.
An excellent municipal launch ramp with ample parking is located at Bug Light Park on Spring Point. This ramp affords quick access to Portland Harbor and the ocean. Fee required.
- (207) 772-8121
- A top attraction in South Portland is the Greenbelt and its associated walkways, parks, beaches and museum. The actual Greenbelt is a three-mile paved trail that winds along the South Portland waterfront and connects almost all of the city’s parks. It links on its northeast end to the Spring Point Shoreway, a 21-acre park and walkway running from Fisherman’s Point to Bug Light Park, and also connects with the swimming area at Willard Beach. For more information on walkways and parks, contact the South Portland Parks Department (207-767-7670).
- Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse on Spring Point can be reached via the long granite jetty.
- Shoppers can reach the 137-acre Maine Mall (207-761-9679) via the City Bus Service (207-767-5556).
- Joe’s Boathouse (207-741-2780): Popular eatery that’s part of the Spring Point Marina complex at the northeast end of the shore. Contact the marina for information on dockage.
- Saltwater Grille (207-799-5400): Dock-and-dine restaurant that’s big on seafood dishes and located near Sunset Marina. Contact the restaurant for dockage information.
- David’s 388 (207-347-7388): Serves homey, neighborhood fare.
- Beale Street Barbeque (207-767-0130): Located near the bridge at the southwest end of the harbor.
Greater Portland Chamber of Commerce (207-772-2811)