Searsport

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Welcome to Searsport, Maine

Searsport is a hidden gem on Penobscot Bay. Photo by Joe Devenney

SEARSPORT IS A DECEPTIVE MECCA. LOCATED JUST 4 MILES EAST OF BELFAST IN THE NORTHWEST CORNER OF PENOBSCOT BAY, IT’S REALLY JUST A COVE WITH NO PROTECTION FROM SOUTHERLY WINDS. AS SUCH, THERE ARE FEW MOORINGS IN THE HARBOR, BUT PLENTY OF ROOM FOR ANCHORING. NOT SO INVITING?

Searsport Chart

Think again. The town pier is a substantial concrete-and-granite, J-shaped structure with a launch ramp at its base. You can tie up to a float in the pier’s crook and walk uphill through a quiet neighborhood and into a town that is an antique-shopper’s nirvana.

SAT map

Even better, you can hike out to Hamilton Marine’s giant retail facility just east of town on U.S. Route 1, where most boaters rejoice in the scads of gear and wise retail counseling they get at Maine’s premier marine hardware store. Boaters can always find whatever they need, and then some. Owner and town harbormaster Wayne Hamilton may even give you a lift back to the town pier.

Read the story Searsport Fishing Information

Free dinghy tie-up is available along the town float.Working boats and dinghys. Photo by Joe Devenney

Searsport is arguably one of Maine’s premier antiques and collectibles centers, and certainly the most accessible from a cruising boat. Here you’ll find everything from baseball cards and military memorabilia to collections of bottle caps, nautical paintings and objects, plus books, furniture and undreamed of “must haves.”

Downtown Searsport boasts some beautiful architecture. Photo by Joe Devenney

The Penobscot Marine Museum on Maine Street is a Searsport institution worth visiting. It features the largest historic boat display in Maine, an extensive library, educational programs for kids, and much more. Its gift shop is located next door at Captain Tinkam’s Emporium, which is jammed with old tools and nautical ephemera, while the museum store offered an eclectic mix of items at a variety of prices for the historically minded.

Naturally, many boaters will simply visit Searsport to get away from the hustle of more popular southern Penobscot Bay destinations, or as a stopover on trips farther Down East or up the Penobscot River. Either way, it’s a town worth visiting.

GETTING THERE
Charts: NOAA 13302, 13309

Searsport Chart

Searsport is about 90 nautical miles northeast of Portland and about 35 nautical miles south of Bangor, on the western shore of Maine’s Penobscot Bay.

From the south and west, head first for the red-and-green bell buoy “TB”, at the southern end of Two Bush Channel. From there, head for the red-and-white lighted gong “PA” at the southern end of the approach to West Penobscot Bay. After that, head roughly north toward the green gong “7”, just east of a lighted ledge known as The Graves, a mile south of Camden Harbor. Keeping the buoy to port, head roughly northeast toward the red-and-white lighted bell “11”, located west of Marshall Point on Islesboro Island. From there, steer a northerly course for about 4 nautical miles to the pier at Searsport Harbor, which you can recognize by the streetlights.

From points east, it’s best to stay at least 2 nautical miles south of Isle au Haut to avoid ledges and obstructions. Also, be aware of the strong tidal set north on the flood and south on the ebb while on the way to the lighted red bell buoy at Old Horse Ledge (43°59.97 N, 68°50.09’ W), slightly less than 2 nautical miles south of Vinalhaven Island. Set a westerly course from there for the 8-mile trip to the “PA” buoy.

Dockage, Moorings and Service

  • There are no marinas in Searsport. Contact the harbormaster at (207-548-2722; VHF 9, 10, 16, 68 or 71) for an overnight mooring near the Town Dock and Landing at the end of Steamboat Ave. The few moorings available are free and reservations can be made. Tying up at the town float is also free, but is limited to 2 hours. Dinghy tie-up at the town pier is unrestricted during daylight hours.

  • Marine supplies can be purchased at Hamilton Marine (207-548-6302), which operates its famous warehouse and retail store on Route 1 (Main Street), less than 1 mile east of the town landing.

Anchorages

There is plenty of room and good holding ground in and around Searsport Harbor, but contact the harbormaster if you are unsure of where to drop the hook. The harbor is exposed to winds from all southerly quadrants. Just east of the harbor, Long Cove offer excellent holding ground in depths of around 25 feet and protection in all winds except those from the southwest.

Launch Ramp

A free, hard-surface launch ramp with floats is located near the town dock, at the end of Steamboat Ave., with parking nearby for vehicles with trailers.

Harbormaster

  • Wayne Hamilton
  • (207-548-2722) or (207-548-0895 cell)
  • VHF 16 & 9

Boat & Kayak Rental

Getting Around

  • Bay Taxi (207-338-1993)
  • Little Man Taxi (207-338-2746)

Provisions

  • Tozier’s Family Market (207-548-6220) is the downtown’s busiest grocery market. Searsport also has pharmacies, ATMs, liquor outlets and hardware stores within easy walking distance of the town landing.
  • If you’re looking for almost anything in the way of marine hardware or boating supplies, Hamilton Marine (207-548-6302) operates its famous warehouse and retail store on Route 1 (Main Street), less than a mile east of the Searsport landing.

Things to See & Do

  • The Penobscot Marine Museum (207-548-2529) is a popular attraction in Searsport. It boasts the largest historic boat display in Maine, an extensive library, educational programs for kids, and much more. It also maintains 3 transient moorings in the harbor.
  • If you enjoy flea market shopping and bargain hunting, scores of open-air stalls line U.S. Route 1 each summer weekend.

Where to Eat

Where to Stay

General Information

Photo Gallery

A dinghy ghosts along the Passagassawakeag River, a. Photo by Joe Devenney

Low tide exposes golden fingers of rockweed along the Searsport shoreline. Photo by Joe Devenney

Nautical icons pop up in Searsport. Photo by Joe Devenney

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