July 9, 2019
An upgraded and revitalized marina is making it more attractive than ever to bring your boat to this vibrant harbor on the tip of Cape Cod. By Malerie Yolen-Cohen; Photography by Eric Brust-Akdemir
Protected by its beckoning finger of sand and long, granite breakwaters, Provincetown is an ideal harbor for boats large and small—a fact not lost on our Pilgrim forbears, who made a pit-stop here in the Mayflower before eventually settling in Plymouth. Later, Provincetown prospered as a whaling center before transitioning to a commercial fishing port, which it remains (currently, 55 boats bring in $8 to $9 million worth of seafood product per year). Of course, the town is also famous for its party atmosphere, great restaurants and thriving community of artists, many of whom seek inspiration from Outer Cape’s breathtaking natural land- and seascapes.
For all of its beauty and vibrancy, however, Provincetown had always posed something of a conundrum for recreational boaters. With limited dockage and transient moorings, it has traditionally offered slim-pickings for mariners looking for a place to tie up for the night, especially during the busy summer season.
Happily, that has changed with the recent purchase, upgrade and expansion of Provincetown Marina in 2016 by Boston developer Chuck Lagasse. Provincetown’s inarguable splendor impelled Lagasse, who also owns Boston Yacht Haven, Charlestown Marina, Fan Pier Marina, and Boston Harbor Shipyard, to buy the outdated marina and make it more attractive to owners of everything from “little Whalers to 350-foot yachts.”
Legasse has visited Provincetown with his family for many years, and had his heart set on opening a marina there. “Just look around,” he muses. “It’s such a beautiful, thrilling destination, with the water, dunes, fish, seals, and whales.”
When the Cabal family, which owned the marina for 47 years, decided to sell in 2016, Lagasee jumped at the chance. He tripled the dockage capacity and renovated the marina office on Fisherman’s Wharf, one of the largest marina piers on the East Coast. Despite a hushed soft opening, yacht owners from all over the world and from just around the bend began reserving coveted transient slips right away. At the start of its second season, four weekends were already sold out by mid-May. “But we can always fit people in,” says the accommodating Lagasse.
PUBLIC UPGRADES, TOO
Improvements to Provincetown Marina seem to have set off a chain reaction in town. “We’re trying to make P-Town more attractive to transient boaters,” says Harbormaster Rex McKinsey. To that end, the town’s 50-foot dinghy dock will be extended to 90 feet. It will accommodate 80 to 90 dinghies, and will have an ADA- compliant and expanded gangway. Plans are also in the works for more town moorings, plus a “courtesy float” with pump-out station.
All this is happening in advance of the 2020 400th Anniversary of the Pilgrim’s Landing and signing of the Mayflower Compact, a year-long celebration sure to bring scores of people, who, if they arrive by car, will be hard-pressed to find parking. Better to arrive by boat, just as the passengers on theMayflowerdid. Four hundred years later, though, you’ll have a better alternative to anchoring and a much friendlier welcome.