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Boston Harbor Islands: New Moorings + Now on Dockwa

Post by Becky at Dockwa - Published on 5/24/19 5:00 PM

The much-anticipated Boston Harbor Islands moorings installation is underway, and boaters can now request reservations for day trips and overnights for this Sunday onward. Learn more about  the new park moorings for Georges Island, Spectacle Island, and (coming soon!) Peddocks Island, and incorporate the parks into your summer float plan.

These moorings are an exciting addition to Boston Harbor, so we caught up with the team at Boston Harbor Now to get more details for greater Boston boaters.

Ed. note #1: This post was originally published at 2:30PM on May 24, and was updated at 5:30PM to reflect that, for now, only the Spectacle Island moorings are available for reservation requests and usage as per the Boston Harbor DCR. 

Please also note that these are new mooring fields and that the DCR is still working to install additional moorings while monitor requests. Details are subject to change, so please consult the islands' individual Dockwa Marina Profiles for harbor-specific details and reservation information.

Ed. note #2: Updating on June 11, 2019, to relay this message from the BHI website: "Park moorings are temporarily closed for maintenance and are not accepting reservations at this time." We apologize for any confusion. To get the latest from the BHI, please contact them via the form on this page or by calling 617-223-8666. 


It’s never been easier to visit your local National and State Park by boat! New this year, moorings at Georges Island, Spectacle Island, and Peddocks Island will be available to area cruisers, providing access to beaches, hiking trails, historic sites, and programs and events for all ages. 


Thank you to the team at Boston Harbor Now for sharing the following details with Dockwa boaters!


About the team at Boston Harbor Islands


Dockwa: What is the mission and history of BHI?

BHI: The mission of the Boston Harbor Islands (BHI) is to make the Boston Harbor Islands system — with its opportunities for education, recreation, and restful solitude within an urban area — an integral part of the life of the region and the nation by protecting the islands and their associated resources, while at the same time improving public knowledge and access.

All of the Boston Harbor Islands carry a unique history that every visitor can explore. Lovells Island, for example, was considered a location for the Statue of Liberty! Peddocks on the other hand, was once home to militiamen, prisoners of war, and farmers. To learn more about the history of each of the islands, click here.

As for the BHI, Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park was established in 1996. Each island has its own fascinating history, from Civil War-era Fort Warren on Georges Island, to WWII-era Fort Andrews on Peddocks Island, to Spectacle Island’s transformation from city dump to beautiful parkland.


Dockwa: What made you decide to use Dockwa to manage the new moorings?

BHI: Dockwa is an established tool within the boating community, which provides convenience and ease of use to boaters while making operations simpler for our partners at the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) who manage the moorings onsite.

Managing incoming Dockwa reservations will be a joint effort by members of the Boston Harbor Islands partnership, including Boston Harbor Now, the National Park Service, and the Department of Conservation and Recreation. DCR will provide onsite management of mooring reservations and overall operations.

BHI from land

Boston Harbor Islands Moorings: The Basics

BHI: This is the first year that moorings will be available on Dockwa, providing a simple and easy to understand process for mooring reservations.  Boaters should be aware of this new reservation process and the associated cost for day trips and overnights. The park will now have 69 available moorings, a significant increase over past seasons.


Dockwa: How many moorings have been installed? 

BHI: By the start of the summer season there will be 69 moorings installed. Eventually, there may be as many as 118 moorings available in the park. The maximum LOA for all moorings is 40'. Moorings have both day and overnight rates. 


Dockwa: Will the moorings be numbered and assigned?

BHI: Yes, moorings are numbered and boaters can reserve specific moorings on the Dockwa app or online. Use the Special Request field when reserving to relay your mooring preference. The Georges Island mooring field is a single field on the Dockwa platform, but encompasses two mooring field areas. 


Dockwa: Will staff be on hand to help boaters tie up?

BHI: DCR staff will be roving between all three mooring fields. Once on island, park staff are available to provide information and assistance.


Dockwa: What happens if a boater without a Dockwa reservation ties up to an assigned mooring and is not on board or is on board but unwilling to leave?

BHI: Staff from DCR will monitor moorings and will mediate any issues as they are available. Boaters in need of non-emergency assistance should contact us by using the Chat feature within the Dockwa app or site. (Note: Click here for the Chat FAQ)


Dockwa: Will boaters have access to the island via the dinghy dock?

BHI: Boaters may touch and go at island piers, and dingy dinghy docks are available for public use. Boaters MUST yield to park ferries and emergency vessels.


Dockwa: What can boaters expect as far as amenities?

BHI: Park amenities vary by island, but generally include visitor center, restrooms, hiking trails, and free public programs. Food service is available on Georges Island and Spectacle Island.


Dockwa: Are the islands pet-friendly?

BHI: Pets – except for service dogs – are not permitted on any of these islands.

BH - Blog Images (2)

Approaching the Boston Harbor Islands by Boat


Dockwa: How should a boater unfamiliar with the BHIs make their approach?

BHI: We recommend using this chart to navigate Boston Harbor. Always yield to park ferries and emergency vessels when approaching island docks and mooring fields.


Dockwa: What will they see as they approach that will help guide them?

BHI: Spectacle Island’s mooring field is to the left (NW) of the island pier. Georges Island moorings are either to the left (NW) of Georges Island Pier, or in front (S) of the Gallops Island Pier. Peddocks Island’s mooring field is in Portuguese Cove on the north side of the island (opposite island pier).


Dockwa: What hazards should boaters be aware of? 

BHI: Be aware that Boston Harbor is home to many active shipping channels. Boaters and paddlers should use extreme caution when traveling in or near major shipping routes. Sea and weather conditions can change quickly and can vary greatly between islands that are closer to shore and the outer islands. Check the marine forecast before you depart to ensure a safe and successful trip.

Things to do while visiting the Boston Harbor Islands


It’s no surprise that Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park attracts over half a million visitors a year. Hiking trails, historical sites, beaches, and incredible views are just some of the activities that boaters will enjoy. Click here to see a full list of calendar activities.


Dockwa: Do the islands host any special events?

BHI: The islands host many regular programs as well as special events throughout the season!

There is a variety of public programming available every day in the park, including concerts, kids’ activities, and more. We also highly recommend participating in one of the many staff-guided tours and activities to learn about the diverse natural and cultural history on the islands.

Boaters may enjoy Spectacle Island’s clambakes on Thursday nights. Boston Harbor Now hosts the Illuminate the Harbor fireworks show on August 29 in Boston’s inner harbor.


If you’ve already explored some or all of the Boston Harbor Islands, tell us about it in our Facebook Group.



Post by Becky at Dockwa

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