Boston Harbor Names & Numbers

Getting There

NOAA Charts: 13272, 13270, 13267

Chart, Boston Harbor

Boaters arriving from points south can enter Boston Harbor via Nantasket Roads, starting at the G “3” Bell off Point Allerton. At RG “TN” you can head northwest through The Narrows to reach President Roads and the Inner Harbor. Or you can turn southwest and follow the channel markers to G “11”, where you can enter Hull and Hingham Bays via Hull Gut. You’ll find several marinas with transient facilities in this part of the harbor. If you wish to proceed west toward Boston, continue from G “11” to GR “C HS” southwest of Georges Island. From this point you can turn north to reach President Roads via Nubble Channel, or turn southwest to access the Quincy and Weymouth areas.

Boaters arriving from the north and south are best off entering the harbor via Boston North Channel and President Roads, which provides a fairly direct route to the inner harbor and Boston’s downtown marinas. However, use caution and pay attention to the markers as you approach Lower Middle Shoal, as there are 2 routes around the shoal. The northern route is narrow and skirts the shallow Governors Island Flats. Boaters unfamiliar with the harbor and those with deep-draft vessels are best off following the wide shipping channel that runs south of Lower Middle. This route gives you deep-water access right into the downtown all the way through the inner harbor.

Note: Being a major commercial center, Boston Harbor bustles with marine traffic, so you’ll need to keep a careful watch for container ships, oil- and LNG tankers (with security zones enforced by the Coast Guard), as well as fishing vessels and commuter ferries, some traveling at high speed. That’s in addition to a large number of sailboats, powerboats, and kayaks that use the harbor. Numerous channels, most of them well marked, thread their way among the islands, sandbars, ledges, and mud flats. Take it slow, pay attention to the markers, and you’ll be fine.

Dockage, Moorings & Service

  • The Marina at Rowes Wharf  (617-748-5012): Prime location on the Boston waterfront with 35 slips and free dockage for diners at the Rowes Wharf Grille or Meritage Restaurant.
  • Constitution Marina (617-241-9640): Sprawling facility in Charlestown offering 300 slips and an easy walk to the Italian restaurants of Boston’s North End.
  • Boston Yacht Haven (617-367-5050): Luxury slips for vessels of all sizes on Commercial Wharf, plus luxurious accommodations in onsite suites and penthouses.
  • Boston Waterboat Marina (617-523-1027): This small marina on Long Wharf offers transient slips and easy access to Boston’s parks, the Aquarium, many great restaurants, Faneuil Hall and more.
  • Boston Harbor Shipyard & Marina (617-561-9539): Located in East Boston, BHSM offers a fuel dock, transient slips, fitness center, WiFi, boater’s lounge, restrooms, laundry, free parking, 24 hour security, repair, service, ice and onsite restaurant and snack shack.
  • Marina at Admiral’s Hill (617-884-4765): Located in Chelsea, Admiral’s Hill is a full-service marina offers free dockside parking, gas and diesel, storage, maintenance, hauling and service, TravelLift.
  • Marina Bay (617-847-1800): Full-service marina on Dorchester Bay in Quincy featuring transient slips, fuel, haul out, repair, water, electric, WiFi and more, along with several onsite restaurants and shops.
  • Public Moorings: There are 20 public moorings scattered throughout the islands. Six are adjacent to Spectacle Island, while the rest are near Long, Peddocks, Gallops, Georges, and Rainsford Islands. All are currently available at no charge on a first-come, first-served basis.


There are numerous protected spots to anchor within Boston Harbor, depending on the wind direction. However, boaters should first look for one of the free moorings available through the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreational Area (see above for more info).

Launch Ramps

Weymouth: Located on the Back River, on the southern side of the harbor, this two-lane, all-tide ramp offers ample parking and floating docks. Daily fee $8.

Winthrop: On the northern end of the harbor, you’ll find a public ramp in Winthrop at 649 Shirley Street. Daily fee $5.

Charlestown: A two-lane ramp can be found on Terminal Street below the Tobin Bridge. This launch facility offers lots of parking and great access to Boston’s Inner Harbor and the Charles River, but lacks a tie-up float. Opens at 7:00 a.m.; closes at 11:00 p.m.

South Boston: A large, convenient float on the upper Fort Point Channel, just south of Summer Street, affords kayakers access to the inner harbor. Parking is available in the adjacent commercial lot for a reasonable fee.


(617) 343-4721; VHF 9

Boat & Kayak Rentals

Getting Around

Boston has an excellent public transportation system (MBTA) with a subway stop at the Aquarium. There are also no shortage of taxis.

Where to Stay

  • Boston Harbor Hotel (617-439-7000): Five-star waterfront hotel (and marina) that caters to a boater’s every need.

  • Seaport Hotel (617-440-3318): Large hotel in South Boston, next to World Trade Center.

Where to Eat

  • Meritage (617-439-3995): Upscale restaurant on Rowes Wharf offering free dockage to patrons, but reservations are a must.
  • The Barking Crab (617-426-2722): Fun, family-friendly atmosphere and great seafood in the rough on the Fort Point Channel in South Boston.
  • Legal Seafood (617-742-5300): Good, fresh seafood near the Aquarium on Long Wharf.
  • Chart House (617-227-1576): Waterfront restaurant with great views of the harbor. Located on Long Wharf.
  • The Daily Catch (617-772-4400): Good, fresh seafood and harborside views in Boston’s Seaport District at the Fan Pier.
  • Venezia (617-436-3120): Venerable waterside restaurant and banquet facility on Dorchester Bay next to Russo Marine; offers free dockage to diners.

Things to See & Do

  • Boston HarborWalk:  This walking trail stretching from Chelsea to Dorchester is designed to connect the public to a clean and restored Boston Harbor, and makes it easy to reach many of the city’s waterfront venues.
  • New England Aquarium (617-973-5200): This world-renowned aquarium on Long Wharf features seal and dolphin shows, penguins, touch tanks, and the centerpiece 200,000-gallon coral reef exhibit.
  • USS Constitution (617-426-1812): Close to Constitution Marina in Charlestown, this wood-hulled, 3-masted frigate is the oldest commissioned U.S. warship afloat and is open for tours.
  • Boston Harbor Island Tours & Cruises: A variety of harbor tours ranging from trips to historic Boston Light to the wet and wild Codzilla thrill ride are available via Boston Harbor Cruises.

General Information