January 24, 2020
A Red Brook Welcome
In terms of naturally protected harbors, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better one than Red Brook, tucked in behind Bassetts Island in the Bourne village of Cataumet. Located between Scraggy Neck and Wings Neck, the harbor serves as a convenient stopping point for cruisers passing through Buzzards Bay, and a great place to catch one’s breath either before or after navigating the Cape Cod Canal.
Of course, many boaters choose to stay here all season, especially given the top-notch service and accommodations of the harbor’s largest full-service marina: Kingman Yacht Center. Kingman has it all, from deep-water slips and moorings to haulout, service and fuel. Plus, it’s home to The Chart Room restaurant—a Buzzards Bay boater’s institution!
Just south of Kingman is Parker’s Boat Yard, a smaller full-service yard that’s been around since 1948. Parker’s maintains some 20 transient moorings, as well as transient dockage, and also sells both diesel and gas, ice, CNG and has an on-site ship’s store.
Many Red Brook sailors love the harbor for its easy access to Buzzards Bay and its predictable southwesterlies, while fishermen appreciate its proximity to the Elizabeth Islands, Martha’s Vineyard and Vineyard Sound, as well as the offshore waters south of the islands. Of course, the inshore fishing in Buzzards Bay can be outstanding, as well, especially in the early season (see Fishing Red Brook Harbor). Another draw for folks who keep their boat in Red Brook is that it’s located close to the Bourne Bridge, so Cape Cod’s midsummer traffic is less of an issue.
One of the natural highlights of Red Brook is Bassetts Island, a barrier island that’s open to the public and frequently the site of beach parties and raft-ups. Bassetts is easy to reach via dinghy, skiff, kayak, or small sailboat from several points in the harbor, and offers a long, sandy beach and great swimming (but no public restrooms). If you don’t like crowds, plan your trip here on a weekday, and beware the poison ivy that grows thickly just beyond the dunes.
About the only knocks against Red Brook are the long no-wake zone and its winding channel. Be sure to stay inside the buoys, as the channel is bordered closely by shoal water, plus a few rocks to make things interesting.
In terms of anchorages, there are at least three excellent spots in the harbor, as long as you find room. See below for details.
Red Brook Harbor Names & Numbers
Note: Boaters new to Red Brook Harbor are best off passing around the southern end of Bassetts Island, as there are less rocks, turns and current to contend with. MLW in the channel is 7’.
From the south, head for R N “2” off Scraggy Neck, then turn due east to pick up RG N “ER” (Eustis Rock).
From the Cape Cod Canal, round Wings Neck and head for RG N “ER”.
From RG N “ER” turn southeast and pick up GC “1” and the channel, which curves sharply as you round the broad sand flat off the southern tip of Bassetts. Do not stray from the channel, as it’s bordered by shallows on either side, plus a few notorious rocks. Follow the channel north along the east side of Bassetts and then around the sharp dogleg east and into Red Brook, where you will see the large buildings of Kingman Yacht Center dead ahead. The Chart Room and transient dockage is located just north of main buildings. Parker’s Boat Yard is just south of Kingman.
Chart: NOAA 13236
- Kingman Yacht Center (508) 563-7136: Large, full-service marina. Can accommodate boats up to 180’. Offers transient dockage and moorings, gas and diesel, showers, ship’s store, launch service, haulout, water, electric, WiFi and pumpout. KYC is also home to The Chart Room restaurant and offers a host of activities during the summer, including a fishing tournament and the BassAckwards sailboat race.
- Parker’s Boat Yard (508) 563-9366: Full-service yacht yard offering gas and diesel, ice, showers, service, transient moorings and dockage, pumpout, ship’s store and restrooms.
- There are three protected anchorages in Red Brook Harbor: one is tucked into the eastern shore of Bassetts in 9’ to 13’ of water.
- Another is in the small cove on the north side of Bassetts in 7’ to 14’ of water.
- A third shallow-water anchorage can be found inside Hen’s Cove in 5’ of water. If winds are from the east or due north or south, you can also anchor along southwest side of Bassetts, in 5’ to 8’. All of these spots offer sand/gravel bottom.
- (508) 759-0621 ext. 312; VHF 9
- Harbormaster Bourne
- There are no state ramps on Red Brook Harbor. Barlow’s Landing, in the eastern end of Pocasset Harbor, has a good town ramp with floats and a dinghy dock, but is for stickered residents only. There is a 15-minute tie-up limit.
- A second, very small ramp is located at Parker’s Boat Yard. This is also a town ramp, and there is only parking space for two vehicles.
- The Chart Room (508) 563-5350: Located on the harbor adjacent to Kingman Yacht Center, The Chart Room is a Buzzards Bay institution. Long waits are the norm in summer, and reservations are recommended, but plenty of folks are content with hanging out by the bar or outdoor patio as they wait for a table. Great ambience and a great view, although some may find it noisy.
- Grazziella’s (508) 563-5541: Boaters can dock at Barlows Landing (15-minute tie-up) on Pocasset Harbor and grab a pizza or sub to go at Grazziella’s (a quarter-mile up the road) or have it delivered to the landing.
- Bassetts Island: Bassetts Island is open to the public, and is ringed by wonderful sand and cobble beaches and warm, shallow water. This is a great spot for a beach picnic, and kids will love the warm, protected water. Naturally, Bassetts is a popular spot, especially on summer weekends, so it can get a bit rowdy. Note that there are no restrooms on the island, and the interior is thick with poison ivy.