Westport Names & Numbers
December 28, 2016
Charts: NOAA 13229, 13218
When approaching Westport from the south and west, head first for the RW “WH” Mo bell, then turn northwest to R N “6”, leaving Two-Mile Rock to the west. Note the shallow sandbar just east of R N “6”. Head north to R N “8” then turn due west toward R N “10”. Note that currents can be swift and boat traffic heavy near the inlet.
Approaching from the north and east is a bit trickier, given the number of rocks and ledges in this part of Buzzards Bay. Unless familiar with the waters, it’s best to stay east of G C “1”, which marks Wildcat Ledge. From there turn northwest and head for the RW “WH” Mo bell, then proceed to R N “6”, leaving Two-Mile Rock to the west. Note the shallow sandbar just east of R N “6”. Head north to R N “8” then turn due west toward R N “10”.
Once inside the river and past The Knubble, pay close attention to the markers, especially as you skirt the shallow sand flat just north of the inlet. Tip: Do not be tempted to follow any small skiffs you might see cutting through the shortcut east of the sandbar.
After rounding the sandbar, the channel north into the West Branch begins at G C “23”. If you continue east into the main harbor, you’ll see FL Tripp Boatyard to starboard, along with the Back Eddy restaurant. On the opposite shore is the Lee’s Wharf commercial pier, reserved for commercial boats. However, it’s sometimes possible to pull up and buy fresh lobster from one of the local lobstermen in the afternoon.
If venturing upriver along the East Branch, pay attention to your depthsounder and chart plotter and follow the buoys closely. Just east of the state launch ramp you’ll need to pass below the Rte. 88 bascule bridge, which has a vertical clearance of 21′. Beware of Fishing Rock as you approach the bridge from the west.
- FL Tripp & Sons (508-636-4058): Full-service marina and boatyard, offering transient slips and moorings, repair, water, electric, pumpout and a ships store. Gas and diesel available.
- The Back Eddy (508-636-6500): Home to the popular restaurant of the same name, The Back Eddy sometimes has transient slips available on the harbor.
- Pump-Out Service: The Westport Harbormaster provides a free pump-out service and can be contacted on VHF channel 9. The pump-out operates on demand from May 1 through October. F.L. Tripp Boatyard also maintains a free shoreside pump-out at their fuel dock.
- Due to the shallow water, busy channels and swift and changing currents, anchoring inside the Westport River is not recommended. However, you may be able to find a spot to drop the hook between Ship Rock and Wood Point, in the East Branch just north of the Rte. 88 bridge.
- A large, well-maintained state ramp can be found just off the rotary after crossing the Rte. 88 bridge that spans the Westport’s lower East Branch. This ramp offers courtesy floats and lots of parking, including a nearby auxiliary lot. It gets very busy in summer, however, so bring your patience. Also, be aware that the stiff current can make launching and loading tricky. Lastly, watch out for the set of rocks just west of the ramp. The rocks are marked by buoys, but many boaters still manage to hit them. There is a $5 fee to launch.
- A second ramp is upriver on the East Branch, off Hixbridge Rd., just east of the Hixbridge Bridge, but a town sticker is required to park here.
- You’ll find a crude ramp at the base of Gooseberry Neck, just east of Horseneck Beach. This ramp is very shallow and surrounded by rocks, but is a good put-in spot for kayakers, PWCs, skiffs and other small craft. Parking is very limited.
- VHF 9 & 16
- (508) 636-1105
- Westport Harbormaster Website
- Osprey Surf & Sea Adventures (508) 636-0300: Sales and rentals of kayaks, equipment, and standup paddleboards at the head of the East Branch. Also offers lessons and guided tours.
- Lee’s Market (508) 636-3348: Excellent grocery store on Main Rd., north of the harbor, but you’ll need a car or taxi to get there.
- Back Eddy (508 ) 636-6500: Excellent bar and restaurant on Westport Harbor. Specializes in creative seafood dishes with an emphasis on local fish, shellfish and produce. Dock ‘n dine if space is available.
- Bayside Restaurant (508) 636-5882: On Horseneck Rd., near Horseneck Beach. Not within walking distance of the harbor, but a great place to grab a bite before or after getting off the beach or water.
- Paquachuck Inn (508) 636-4398: Historic inn overlooking Westport Harbor. Has a private dock for guests.
- Boaters can also camp along the beach at Horseneck Beach State Reservation , which offers parking for RV’s and boat trailers. Many campers trailer their boats to Westport and launch at the convenient state ramp at the base of the Rte. 88 bridge.
- Annual Westport River Run is a fun kayak, canoe and standup paddleboard “fun race” held on the river each June. Contact the Westport Watershed Alliance for more details.
- Westport Vineyards Winery (800) 993-9695: Located about a mile from the Hixbridge Bridge and within walking distance of the Hixbridge Rd. ramp on the East Branch of the river. Offers winery tours and wine tastings, plus sales.