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Photo: Kaleb Kloppe on Flickr

Portland, the largest city in Maine, is located on Casco Bay. It has several marinas, great provisioning, and is a big "foodie" destination with dozens of excellent restaurants. Stay awhile and explore the bike paths, working waterfront, and art museum. Or spend a few days on Casco Bay with its scenic, secluded anchorages.

Portland is a great city to visit, although not necessarily easy to access by boat. Marinas are expensive and none currently offer transient moorings. The public dinghy dock is limited to a two-hour tie-up and Fore Points Marina, which offers a dinghy dock for extended periods, charges a fee. Despite the prices, Portland is a wonderful place, and the sailing community and Portland city officials are working to make the waterfront more accessible to transient sailors.

Approach & Cautions

Photo: Portland Head Light by Dennis Weeks, Flickr

The approach into Portland Harbor is straightforward, with a well-marked channel used by large commercial and cruise ships. Navigate carefully in fog and watch out for fishing boats, frequent ferries, occasional barges, and cargo ships. The most visible landmark is Portland Head Lighthouse outside the channel entrance.

Portland Head lighthouse on rocky shore with water swirling around the rocks.

Click the chart to open Navionics

Not to be used for Navigation .

Docking, Anchorages, or Moorings

Portland (Northern Side)
Fore Points Marina, 1 Marina Way, 207-517-4860, concierge@ forepointsmarina.com. Slips, laundry, dinghy dock (transient rate for dinghy tie-up is $30/day).

DiMillo’s Marina, 25 Long Wharf, 207-773-7632. Slips, fuel, laundry.

Maine Yacht Center, 100 Kensington Street, 207-842-9000, [email protected]. Slips, fuel, haulout, outdoor and heated indoor storage. Full-service boatyard. A short distance from downtown by car, bicycle, or Metro Bus Route 7.

Portland Ship Yard/Portland Yacht Services, 100 West Commercial Street, 207-774-1067. Full-service boatyard.

Fish Point – approximate location 43.39.8 N/070.14.2 W. Adjacent to Fore Points Marina, outside the moorings. Be careful not to anchor between the moorings and the marina – this is an approach channel for Fore Points.

East End – approximate location 43.40.0 N/070.14.0 W. Anchor outside mooring field, and note that this area and Fish Point are exposed to frequent wakes and occasional strong winds from the easterly quadrants.

South Portland 
The South Portland side of Portland Harbor has several marinas that offer docking. As you enter Portland Harbor, the Willard Beach mooring area to port has places you can anchor on a settled night but no facilities. Just beyond the Spring Point Lighthouse and breakwater are two marinas, Spring Point (reservations on dockwa), (207) 767-3254, and Breakwater, which may well have dock space. Spring Point and Breakwater Marinas are both owned by Port Harbor Marine. Continuing around Bug Light, there is Sunset Marina (reservations on dockwa or VHF Channel 9/12 or 16; phone 207-767-4729) and the Centerboard Yacht Club, limited space for boats up to 36 feet, drawing less than 6 feet; no reservations (first come/first served), VHF Channel 68.

From any of these locations, a well-powered dinghy COULD theoretically run across to the Portland shore and the dock at the Maine State Pier. However, this is not necessarily a safe trip, as it is right across all the commercial, ferry, and recreational traffic in the harbor, which is considerable. The authors do not recommend dinghying across the harbor, even with a gas-powered outboard. While it’s certainly doable, it depends on favorable conditions. It’s not something one should plan on being able to do, especially in a small dinghy with a low-powered outboard and/or at night or in the fog.


Ch 16 for Portland Harbor Master Ch 9 for Maine Yacht Center, DiMillos, Breakwater, Spring Pt., Sunset Ch 68 for Centerboard YC Ch 71 for DiMillos


Fore Points Marina Maine Yacht Center DiMillos Marina


Most marinas - inquire when booking


Fore Points Marina DiMillos Marina Maine Yacht Center


Some marinas - inquire when booking


Maine Yacht Center (also has a kitchen and a nice lounge Lookin' Good Laundromat, 292 Congress St.


Most marinas - inquire when booking Portland Public Library


Search online for "Maine Pumpout Services" or "Pumpout Boats" Maine Yacht Center Portland Yacht Services South Port Marina Spring Point Marina DiMillos Marina


Chase & Leavitt - chaseleavitt.com Hamilton Marine - hamiltonmarine.com West Marine = westmarine.com/stores/portland-me-84 Portland Yacht Services


Most marinas - inquire when booking


Maine Medical Center Urgent Care Plus - 207-383-3239 ConvenientMD Urgent Care - 207-517-3838 Maine Medical Center Emergency Room - 207-662-0111 Others listed online


In addition to the marinas, Portland has many chandleries and stores that sell boat parts. These are three good options:

Chase, Leavitt & Co, 84 Cove Street, (207) 772-6383. No longer on the waterfront (but worth a taxi ride), CL&Co specializes in marine safety consulting and equipment service and sales, including life rafts, EPIRBs, safety flares and Spinlock life vests, as well as paper charts, chart kits, navigational tools, and many books specializing in safety equipment (including life rafts), charts, and cruising guides.

Hamilton Marine, 197 Presumpscot St. Building A, (207) 774-1772. Not walking distance to the waterfront, unfortunately. Metro Bus Routes 7 and 9A/9B will get you close. Hamilton is a Maine-based chain with stores in other towns along the coast. It features equipment and supplies appropriate for local mariners, including lobster fishers.

West Marine, 127 Marginal Way, (207) 761-7600. A bit of a walk from the waterfront but doable, or take Metro Bus Route 8.

Hardware store:

Maine Hardware, Union Station Plaza Shopping Center, 274 John Street, (207) 773-5604; take Metro Bus Route 1 along Congress Street.


Lookin’ Good Laundromat, 292 Congress St., (207) 772-6676


Getting Ashore

Photo: Gary Deetz on Unsplash

The city currently offers no dinghy dock where one can tie up for the day to explore. City officials are aware of the problem, and we expect the issue will be addressed. In the meantime: 1) A small public dock, at the end of State Pier next to the Casco Bay Ferry Terminal (at 43˚ 39.433′ N, 070˚ 14.969′ W), may be used for pick-up, drop-off, and short-term, less than two-hour tie-up at the very end of the pier (but not at the float by the seawall). 2) Fore Points Marina offers dinghy tie-ups for $30/day. 3) East End Beach boat launch permits 15-minute pick-up and drop-off.

Water taxi (though it may not be immediately available): 1) Fogg’s Water Taxi, (207) 415-8493 or 2) Portland Sea Taxi, (207) 879-2562

Alternatively, consider sailing north (approximately 5 miles) to Falmouth Foreside for docking, mooring, or anchoring options; then call a taxi for the short drive to Portland. 207 Taxi: (207) 774-2255. Uber and Lyft also operate in Portland.

Long docks flanking an inlet, with boats and buildings on both sides.
Rear of Harbor Fish Market with lobster traps piled on dock

Photo: Back door at dawn. Courtesy of Harbor Fish Market


There are way too many places to list them all. The following are some of our favorites. All are walkable to the waterfront, although some are a bit of a hike.

The Food Coop, Harbor Fish, Micucci, and Standard Baking are not far from Fore Points. Metro Bus Route 8 (the Peninsula Loop) goes from the waterfront to Hannaford, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods:

gourmet lobster tail meal on china plate

Photo: Evo chef Matt Ginn

Dine Out

Portland has become a “foodie” mecca with many dining options; too many to list here.  The best way to navigate the ever-changing Portland food scene, which includes dine-in and take-out restaurants as well as food trucks, is to go to:

Portland Food Map, both comprehensive and up-to-date; and

Truckalico, an awesome app that lists the location of multiple food trucks in real-time.

Also, check out the many breweries, distilleries, fermenters, meaderies, kombucheries, and cider shops scattered throughout the city, especially in the East Bayside and Washington Avenue neighborhoods. Follow this link for a map of the area: deanssweets.com/eastbayside/

To get you started, here are a few places where you will get a good meal, from formal dinner to casual lunch (listed alphabetically). We have many favorites, and this is just a tiny sampling!

Bao Bao Dumpling House – Chinese, 133 Spring Street, (207) 772-8400

Benkay – Japanese, 16 Middle Street, (207) 773-5555

Chaval – Spanish/French, 58 Pine Street, [email protected], (207) 772-1110

Evo – Mediterranean, 443 Fore Street, (207) 358-7830

Fore Street – American, 288 Fore Street, (207) 775–2717

Green Elephant – Asian, vegetarian, 608 Congress Street, (207) 347-3111

Hi Bombay – Indian, 1 Pleasant Street, (207) 772-8767

Hot Suppa – Cajun/Creole, 703 Congress Street, (207) 871-5005

Miyake – Japanese, 468 Fore Street, (207) 871-9170

Petite Jacqueline – French, 46 Market Street, (207) 553-7044

Pho Huong – Vietnamese, 28 Monument Square, 2nd floor, (207) 405-9018

Ribollita – Italian, 41 Middle Street (207) 774-2972, [email protected]

Sichuan Kitchen – Chinese, Sichuan, 612 Congress Street, (207) 536-7226

Solo Italiano – authentic Italian cuisine, 100 Commercial St., (207) 780-0227

Street and Company – Seafood, Mediterranean, 33 Wharf Street, (207) 775-0887

Via Vecchia – Italian, 10 Dana Street, (207) 407-7070, [email protected]

Man standing on rocky hill looking out at fog-shrouded land below.

Photo: View from the Beehive Trail near Portland - Madeleine Deaton


See this website for best trails near Portland: alltrails.com/us/maine/portland

For bike riding along Portland Trails bike paths, see trails.org

Bicycle hire:

Portland Museum of Art entrance with large 7 sculpture

Photo: Portland Museum of Art - Arthur, Flickr

Other Things To Do

Getting Around:

Greater Portland Metro, Public transit, offering several bus routes within Portland and to nearby communities. 

Car rental:

Enterprise, 1 Marginal Way, 772-0030, enterprise.com

Additional Ideas:

Miscellaneous Helpful Information


Portland Harbor Master :(the names change from time to time, but this link should be up to date)

2 Portland Fish Pier #105, Office Phone: 207-772-8121

Harbor Master – Kevin J. Battle (after-hours 207-831-6962); [email protected]

Deputy — Randy Richardson: 207-329-6098

Assistant – Chuck Kamilewicz: [email protected]

VHF Channel 16, portlandharbor.org



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