Boaters looking to access the waters of Boston Harbor will find but a handful of places to launch a trailerable boat—although not all of them are equally accommodating in terms of water depth, floats and parking. Here are 7 to consider when planning a Boston Harbor trip. (Click on the title to see a satellite map of each location.)
This 2-lane boat launch at 649 Shirley Street affords access to the northern side of the harbor, near Logan Airport, through most of the tide. It offers ample parking, but no floats. However, you are allowed temporary tie-up at the town marina to move and/or pick up crew after launching or before hauling. Daily fee is $5, payable at the harbormaster’s building.
A free, 2-lane ramp can be found on Terminal Street on the Little Mystic Channnel. This urban launch facility—which is also used by 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 3 miles downriver, you will need to negotiate a set of locks.
The ramp at Quincy Marine Center on Houghs Neck off Sea Street has free public launching and parking for about 20 rigs, as well as a long pier and tie-up float. This ramp provides direct access 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 southern side of the harbor. It is a 10-minute run through a no-wake zone to open water. The 2-lane ramp offers ample parking and 2 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, this ramp is only usable on the upper stages of the tide and there is no public trailer parking onsite. Public parking for boaters carrying cartop vessels is available across the street in the Nantasket Beach lot.