Isles of Shoals Names and Numbers
June 20, 2011
Charts: NOAA 13274, 13278, 13283
When approaching the Isles from the north, be careful of the unmarked rocks surrounding Duck Island. From seaward, steer clear of Anderson Ledge, which is buoyed and marked by a post. Just to the north, and off the direct course, lies unmarked Cedar Ledge. Otherwise, major hazards to navigation are well marked, and the lighthouse on White Island is easy to see. However, always be prepared for fog, which is common here all season.
There are no marine facilities in the Isles of Shoals, so be sure you have plenty of fuel to get home if you arrive by powerboat. The moorings in Gosport Harbor belong to mainland yacht clubs. Visitors may pick up an open mooring, but should be ready to leave immediately if the owner returns. If you dinghy to the beach or to one of the fixed jetties, be aware that the tidal range is just under 10 feet during spring tides (tides are only 2 minutes off Portland, Maine). Currents are weak in the anchorage, but can be fairly strong in the cuts between islands.
The anchorage in Gosport Harbor is deep (20 to 30 feet), but of poor holding ground. It is best to try and get a mooring for the day if possible.
No harbormaster available. Contact the New Hampshire Director of Ports (603-436-8500).
The nearest launch ramps are located in Portsmouth and Rye, New Hampshire, and Kittery, Maine.
No listing available.
- Visitors are free to land via dinghy and walk around Star, Smuttynose, Malaga, White and Appledore Islands. All other islands are off-limits. The dock on Star Island is reserved for ferries, but the floating dock alongside it may be used for dinghies.
- Day visitors to Star Island can visit the snack bar, bookstore, gift shop and tour the Oceanic Hotel lobby. Visitors are also welcome to take meals at 12:30 and 6:30 p.m. in the hotel dining room. More information is available through theStar Island Corporation (603-430-6272).
- The Shoals Marine Laboratory (607-255-3717) on Appledore is a research facility run jointly by the University of New Hampshire and Cornell University. It gives tours and offers an interesting hands-on experience to visitors. You can also pick up a visitor’s map and explore the island on your own.
- On Smuttynose Island, a trail leads past Haley family cemetery, sailors’ graves, the newly built fisherman’s cottage and Marens Rock.
- The Isles of Shoals Steamship Company (800-441-4620 or 603-431-5500) runs sightseeing, wedding and dinner trips, as well as educational tours, from Portsmouth to the Isles
The nearest provisions are located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
There are no restaurants on the Isles of Shoals.
The only way to get around on the Isles is by foot. Beware the poison ivy!
- The Isles of Shoals website has information on each island. New Hampshire maintains a lot of information on the islands at Seacost NH that is up to date and includes a guide to ferries and tours.
- Guide to Portsmouth, New Hampshire Great website with lots of charter and partyboat listings.
- Loads of historical information on the Isles, including the recent Smuttynose archeological dig, can be accessed through the Isles of Shoals Historical Society.