Rockland

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Photo: Dale Bruce, with Frank and Libby Simon piloting

This is the biggest little city in the Penobscot Bay area. It has services galore for visiting yachts and a lively arts community. This, along with several fine restaurants and wide array of provisioning options, makes it the ideal place for getting things done and enjoying yourself simultaneously. Rockland is a transportation hub with bus service from Boston and Portland and a regional airport (RKD) in Owls Head. There's also talk of adding train service via Amtrak, which now goes only as far as Brunswick.

Approach & Cautions

Photo: Jeffrey DeBevec

Rockland Harbor offers an easy entrance. The breakwater on the northern side includes a distinctive lighthouse at its end. Anchorages are available in numerous locations shown on the chart, and the harbor has several mooring fields. Rockland has ferry service to Vinalhaven and North Haven and a bit of commercial traffic. These ferries now show on AIS. The marked channel runs toward town; then the mooring fields are divided at a mid-point designated by red buoy “R4” and by the Coast Guard Station.

Lighthouse at the end of Rockland breakwater

Click the chart to open Navionics

Not to be used for Navigation .


Docking, Anchorages, or Moorings

Designated anchoring areas are shown on the Rockland chart, and there is ample space for anchoring. Tucked behind the breakwater, up near Jameson Point, is the best option, but in settled weather the anchorage in the south corner is good, too. In our experience the harbor has a sticky mud bottom that grabs hold of both your anchor and its chain.

  • The Public Landing is south of the Coast Guard station, and dock space is available on a first come, first served basis at $2.50/foot/night.  Water is $5. Dinghies can be tied up free if you’re on a town mooring or, if not, free for two hours or $5 per day. The city maintains 20 rental moorings ($50) and the Harbormaster, Molly Eddy, can be reached at 207-594-0312 or VHF 9, 11, and 16. Email is [email protected]. She will hold mail and packages for cruisers. Address mail, UPS or FedEx to the recipient c/o Molly Eddy, Harbormaster, 270 Pleasant St., Rockland, ME 04841. Note that the city does not accept advance reservations in order not to compete with private firms. Tokens for showers at the public landing are $2 for 8 minutes, and there is one washer ($1.50) and dryer (pay $1.00 at the office) in the building as well. The public landing has a free pump-out (depending on dock space), WiFi is available near the office, and Molly can also assist with locating short- or long-term parking. Office hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00 to 4:00, closed on holidays.
  • Rockland Yacht Club was founded in 1928 and is located in the white building that looks like a lighthouse, shared with the Harbormaster. The Club and Public Landing facilities flow together in this shared space. RYC operates a harbor-wide launch service, $10 per passenger per ride, credit cards only, and they have a few rental moorings, which the launch driver can arrange. They monitor VHF Ch. 9; cell 207-233-2800.
  • Journey’s End Marina is a large facility with full services in facilities both north and south of the Coast Guard station; they have two rental moorings this year ($60) in addition to dockage. Rates are $3.75/foot/day for vessels up to 45′ and $5.25 for vessels 46’+. Power is available in 30, 50 and 100 amp, and they’re proud of their longer ramps that are well lit and less steep at low tide. There are five showers, five bathrooms, and laundry (two washers, two dryers) with 24-hour access. Contact at VHF 9, 18;  207-594-0400, ext. 146; or [email protected].
  • Knight Marine Service, next to the Maine State Ferry Terminal, is a full-service boat yard offering travelift hauling and storage. They offer dockage ($60/night for boats up to 80′ or $10/hour for short-term day dockage), fuel, water, ice, WiFi, a chandlery, showers and laundry. Contact by phone at 207-594-4068 or [email protected]. During the season the dock phone is 207-691-2175 to reach Dale, and they monitor Ch. 9.
  • Ocean Pursuits is the northern-most marina in Rockland, and has moorings tucked in behind the breakwater, although this year they’ve all been reserved for the season. No dockage, and dinghy dockage is private. Bill Cowan, the owner, is extremely knowledgeable, and they provide excellent electrical and mechanical work, as well as carpentry, Awlgrip, varnishing, and total system upgrades or cosmetic refits. Contact at 207-596-7357 or [email protected]
  • Landings Marina is close to the Public Landing and has 400′ of dock space at $3.50/foot/day for vessels up to 39′, $4.25 for 40′-59′, $5.00 for 60′-99′, $6.00 for 100′-139′ and three close-in moorings (“best in the harbor!”)  at $50 night for boats up to 45′ LOA, up to 6′ draft. They may have other moorings available for boats up to 50′ with 10′ draft, also $50. They offer a full range of services, including a restaurant. Located a block from Hamilton Marine, they’ll hold mail and packages, they have restrooms, laundry, and shower facilities, and the deck includes BBQ grills, seating, and a fire pit. Contact the dockmaster at [email protected], 207-596-6573, or use the link on the website for reservations. Having suffered significant damage in the winter storms, Landings Marina should be fully operational by early June. Floats are in, fuel tanks are full, the restaurant is open and all should be fully functional in short order.
  • Safe Harbor Marina is the southern-most marina in Rockland. Located at 60 Ocean St. on the waterfront boardwalk, they offer dockage for boats up to 200′ ($3.75 to $7.00/foot), 14 transient moorings ($55) for vessels ranging from 30′-70′, Archer’s on the Pier restaurant, a sandy beach, barbecue grills, showers, water, electricity, pump-out, Wi-Fi, laundry, parking, and courtesy cars. This is the most secure marina, with gated access. Book on Dockwa. For more info, call or email Chris Benedict 207-596-0082, [email protected].

VHF

Harbormaster 9, 11, and 16 Rockland Yacht Club 9 Journey's End 9 & 18 Knight 9 Landings 9, 11 & 16 Safe Harbor 16

FUEL

Landings Marina and Journey's End

WATER

Public dock offers water for $5.00. Journey's End Knight Marine Landings Safe Harbor

ELECTRICITY

Public dock offers 30 amp for $10 and 50 amp for $15. Landings Safe Harbor

SHOWERS

Public dock offers showers--$2 token for 8 minutes. Journey's End Knight Marine Landings Safe Harbor

LAUNDRY

Public dock has one washer ($1.50) and one dryer (pay $1.00 at the office). Journey's End Knight Marine Landings Safe Harbor

WIFI

Harbormaster's office has WiFi for those sitting nearby, but it doesn't reach the docks. Safe Harbor Rockland Public Library, 80 Union St.

PUMP OUT

Free at the public dock if they have room for you to tie up. The Landings Journey's End Safe Harbor

TRASH

Dumpster at the public dock. Marinas will take customers' modest trash.

MEDICAL

In addition to Pen Bay Medical Center on Rt. 1 in Rockport, PBMC has a walk-in clinic at 22 White St., open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week Coastal Medical Clinic offers limited care at 269 Old County Rd, , all the way out Talbot Ave. (207-593-7925), open Monday-Thursday 8:30 to 4:00.

MORE BOAT AMENITIES

  • Hamilton Marine is a treasure trove for all boat and fishing needs. It’s located near Journey’s End and the Coast Guard station.
  • Across the street from the incomparable Hamilton Marine is the equally exceptional Gemini Marine Canvas. Marine canvas, upholstery, solar installations, and great service.
  • Charlie Weidman (cell 207-691-3483) runs Charlie’s Marine Service, which services the area  for Sea Tow and TowBoat US and can offer diving services if needed.

Getting Ashore

Photo: David Wilson - Flickr

If you’re anchored out, you can land your dinghy at the town dock. It’s free for up to two hours or $5 per day.

Downtowon Rockland with a row of three-story brick buildings.
live lobster

Photo: Jess's Market

Provisioning

  • Main Street Markets is small but has organic things and a place to get salads and sandwiches and take out hot things. From the town dock, go up the hill, turn right and walk 6 blocks. They offer free delivery in Rockland. 207-594-8515 or [email protected].
  • Hannaford supermarket is on Maverick St. Schooner Bay Taxi can provided transportation: 207-594-5000 or [email protected].
  • Jess’s Market at 118 Main St. has fresh seafood plus beer & wine, some groceries, and some prepared meal items such as house-made crab and fish cakes. 207-596-6068 or [email protected]. It’s a short walk from the harbor.
  • Southend Grocery is a little farther south on Main St., at 67–maybe a 10-minute walk. They offer pizza and subs as well as lots of beer and wine, fresh produce, and a meat department.
  • Rock City Coffee has a cafe at 316 Main St. We know how hard it can be to find coarse-ground coffee for your French press, and you won’t find any better than Rock City’s!
  • The Wine Seller at 15 Tillson Ave. offers wine, cheese, beer and gourmet food items, and is steps away from Hamilton Marine.

Photo: Claws

Dine Out

There are too many fine restaurants to list here, but local favorites are Home Kitchen Cafe, for breakfast and lunch; In Good Company, known for its extensive wine list and exquisite food; Rustica, for wonderful Italian food; and, worth a taxi ride for their award-winning farm-to-table dining, Primo. And a place that always seems to have a line at the counter is Claws, at 743 Main St.

Other recommendations from cruisers:

Park St. Grille — seating inside spaced and outside they have about 5 or 6 tables. No reservations, big menu, good Mexican food and margaritas! Located at One Park Drive, in the Maine Lighthouse Museum building

Archers on the Pier — easy walk from the town dinghy dock. They have a deck and inside seating spaced out. No reservations but will move you up the list if you let them know you are coming soon. Big menu.

Photo: Photo courtesy of Camden Harbour Inn.

Hikes

One notable local hike is the walk out to the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse and back, a 1-1/2 mile hike. Don’t try it when high winds wash the high tide over the breakwater!

The city offers some walking maps, including one for spotting trees!

Nearby Monroe Island, at the top of Muscle Ridge Channel across from Owls Head, is a Maine Coast Heritage Trust preserve with excellent hiking trails. It’s about a 4-mile kayak or dinghy ride from Rockland.

Entrance to Farnsworth museum with rounded sculpture next to stairs.

Photo: Courtesy of The Farnsworth Art Museum

Other Things To Do

Rockland hosts the North Atlantic Blues Festival (July 15-16, 2023), Friendship Sloop Days (July 20-22, 2023), and the Maine Boat & Home Show (August 11-13, 2023), plus many live shows at the Strand Theater, aircraft and auto events at the Owls Head Transportation Museum, and lots of Farnsworth Art Museum and art gallery events. The Maine Lobster Festival is planned for August 2-6, 2023.

Bixby Chocolate Factory will do take-out orders for their incredible ethically harvested products. They’re at 1 Sea St. Place, between Journey’s End and Hamilton Marine, but first place your order online.

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