Burnt Coat Harbor offers excellent protection in most any wind. Photo by Joe Devenney

Getting There

Charts: NOAA 13302, 13312

Chart Swan’s Island

Swan’s Island is located approximately 85 nautical miles northeast of Portland. To reach it from the south and west, head first for Matinicus Rock Light (43°47.04’ N, 68°51.34’ W), marked by a white light flashing every 10 seconds. From Matinicus Rock Light, head roughly northeast toward the red-and-white whistle buoy “BC” (44°04.82’ N, 68°26.24’ W), which is about 27 nautical miles from Matinicus. From there it’s about 2 1/2 nautical miles approximately north-northeast to the red-and-white bell buoy “HI” at the entrance to Burnt Coat Harbor on the south side of the island. The channel into the harbor is clearly marked with plenty of red and green buoys. Coming from points east, it’s best to head first for Great Duck Island Light (44°08.51’ N, 68°14.84’ W). Then head approximately west-southwest for about 7.5 nautical miles until the buoy “BC” (described above) bears directly on your starboard beam. Then turn roughly north-northwest toward “BC” and proceed to Burnt Coat Harbor.

Ferry Info: The Maine State Ferry Service operates regular daily ferries between Bass Harbor on Mount Desert Island and the north shore of Swan’s Island. For more information, visit Maine Department of Transportation Ferry Service, or call the Swan’s Island terminal.

Anchorages

  • Burnt Coat Harbor, one of the best-protected harbors on the Maine coast, provides shelter for numerous fishing and pleasure boats each summer.
  • Mackerel Cove also offers good spots to anchor in protected spots.

Dockage, Moorings & Service

  • There are no slips available on Swan’s Island, but moorings are sometimes available in Burnt Coat Harbor. Contact the harbormaster. Otherwise, you can drop a hook anywhere there is enough room and protection from the wind and seas.
  • B & A Boat Shop (207-526-4458): Repair and service.
  • Kents Wharf (207-526-4186): Sells diesel and gas on Mackerel Cove.

Harbormaster

  • (207) 266-1937

Getting Around

  • If you intend to bicycle around the island, use caution on the narrow, winding roads. There are cars and trucks on Swan’s Island, after all.

Things to See & Do

  • Swans Island Lobster & Marine Museum (207-526-4282): Near the ferry terminal on the northeast side of the island. The museum can be visited on appointment. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.
  • Swan’s Island Library: Housed in the old Atlantic schoolhouse, which was bequeathed to the Swan’s Island Educational Society in 1990 by Minna Geddes. Starting in 1990, major renovations to the old building took place, creating a beautiful, functional space to house the island’s library. In July 2008, the library building was completely destroyed by a fire that started during an electrical storm.
  • Hockamock Head Lighthouse: At the entrance to Burnt Coat Harbor, the lighthouse was built in the 1800s and occupied until 1974, when it was automated. The sweeping view from Hockamock Head (an old Indian name) encompasses Harbor Island (directly across the channel) along with Gooseberry and Marshall Islands to the west.

Where to Eat

  • Tim’s Market & Supply: Near Burnt Coat Harbor. Sells groceries and takeout food items.

Where to Stay