The Camp Ellis Pier just inside the Saco River entrance, primarily used by fishermen, has gas and diesel available, pump-out services and a boat ramp. Provisions can also be obtained nearby.
Marstons Marina, with depths of 10 feet reported alongside its floats is on the north side of the river, about 3.5 miles upriver from the entrance, or 2 miles below Saco. Gasoline, water, and open winter storage facilities are available.
On the south bank of the river about 2.5 miles below Saco is a State park; a large parking area for cars and trailers, and a small-craft launching ramp are available.
At Saco, the float landings and moorings of the Saco Yacht Club are on the north shore of the river just northeastward of the eastern end of Factory Island. Depths of 7 feet are reported alongside the float; a small-craft launching ramp is at the club.
A boatyard is on the south side of the river at Biddeford, about 0.2 mile below the bridge to Factory Island. Depths of about 10 feet are reported alongside the floats. The yard can build craft up to 55 feet in length, and has a 15-ton mobile hoist that can handle craft up to 40 feet in length for hull and engine repairs and open or covered winter storage. Gasoline, diesel fuel by truck, water, ice, and marine supplies are available. Moorings are maintained north and west of the channel.
Click the “Map View” button above to see a chart of this harbor.
Saco River is entered through a marked channel that leads over the bar between two jetties, thence to Factory Island, the head of river navigation at Biddeford and Saco. A fairway bell buoy, 0.3 mile eastward of Ram Island Ledge, marks the inner approach entrance from Saco Bay. The outer 0.6 mile of the southerly jetty and the outer 0.4 mile of the northerly jetty are covered at high water. The southerly jetty is marked by a buoy off its eastern end and by piers about 260 yards apart and about 10 feet above high water on the jetty; the northerly jetty is marked on the outer end by a daybeacon. In 2009, the controlling depth in the entrance channel was 5.2 feet to Brimstone Point about 1.8 miles above the entrance, thence naturally deep channel leads to Cow Island. A basin northwest of Cow Island surrounds the bare mudflats in the middle of the river. The bar is subject to change; local knowledge is advised. The area in the vicinity of the submerged pilings at the southeast end of the flats should be avoided.
Small craft can enter the river with a smooth sea and on a rising tide by passing between Ram Island Ledge and Negro Island Ledge and following the buoyed channel over the bar.
Ram Island Ledge, extending 0.5 mile east of Ram Island and covered 6 feet, is marked by a buoy on its eastern side. Stage Island Shoal, partly bare at low water, extends 300 yards east-northeastward from the island and is marked at its end by a buoy. Negro Island Ledge, 0.2 mile north of Wood Island, and covered 8 feet, is marked on its north side by a buoy. Ledges also extend nearly 200 yards northwestward and 300 yards southwestward from Negro Island; a buoy marks the end of the southwest ledge.