December 7, 2020
Boston Harbor Launch Ramp Guide
Trailer-boaters looking to access Boston Harbor will find just a handful of spots to launch—and not all of them are equally accommodating in terms of depth, dockage, and parking. That said, here are seven to consider when planning a Boston Harbor trip. (Click on the title to see a satellite map of each ramp.)
This two-lane boat launch at 649 Shirley Street was rebuilt in 2019, and affords great access to the north side of the harbor, near Logan Airport. It offers ample parking and convenient tie-up floats. Daily fee is $5, payable at the kiosk at the harbormaster’s building. Upon making a payment, the kiosk issues a receipt, which must be placed on the dashboard of your vehicle while parked at the Landing. Seasonal ramp passes are available through the harbormaster’s office for $60.
A free, two-lane ramp can be found on Terminal Street on the Little Mystic Channnel. This urban launch facility—which is used by Boston duck boats and shown as the “Little Mystic Access Area” on Google Maps—offers ample parking and all-tide, deep-water access to Boston’s Inner Harbor. However, the City of Boston neglected to install a courtesy float, so there is no convenient place to tie up after launching or when you want to haul your boat! Opens at 7:00 a.m.; closes at 11:00 p.m.
The Wellington-Mystic River launch facility near the Wellington MBTA station in Medford is a single-lane ramp with parking nearby and a float system. To access Boston Harbor, some three miles downriver, you will need to negotiate a set of locks.
The launch facility at Quincy Marine Center on Houghs Neck at the end of Sea Street offers free public launching and parking, as well as a courtesy dock. The ramp was upgraded in 2020, and provides direct access on all tides to the southern part of Boston Harbor.
Probably the best public boat launch on Boston Harbor, the Weymouth-Back River facility off Neck Road puts you at the mouth of the Back River and Hewitts Cove, on the south side of the harbor. It is a 10-minute idle through a no-wake zone to open water. The two-lane ramp offers ample parking and tie-up floats, and can accommodate large boats except for one hour on either side of low tide. An attendant is on duty from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in season. Daily fee is $8.
A free public ramp with room for some 30 trailers is adjacent to the town landing on Otis Street (Route 3A), directly on Hingham Harbor. The ramp is all but unusable at low tide for most boats, and the parking lot fills fast on weekends. There is also no dock or float, so you’ll either have to beach your boat or tie it up at the nearby town dock.
A small town ramp is located between Steamboat Wharf and Jake’s Restaurant off George Washington Blvd. However, it is only usable on the upper stages of the tide and there is no trailer parking on site. Public parking for boaters carrying cartop vessels is available across the street in the Nantasket Beach lot.