Information about Chatham, MA
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Boating in Chatham, MA Map View
A boat basin is in Aunt Lydias Cove between Tern Island and Chatham; a fish pier is in the basin. The area is subject to frequent changes. Commercial fishing boats operate from the cove. The harbormaster can be contacted on VHF-FM channel 16.
Bassing Harbor, at the north end of Chatham Harbor, is the entrance to Ryder Cove and Crows Pond. A small-craft facility is on the south side of Ryder Cove, about 0.5 mile inside the entrance. A town launching ramp is close westward of the facility. Private seasonal aids mark the channel from Chatham Harbor to the town ramp. A 5 mph speed limit is enforced in the cove. A forklift at the facility can haul out craft to 25 feet. Gasoline, water, ice, marine supplies, moorings, and storage facilities are available; hull and engine repairs can be made. In 1981, a reported depth of 3 feet could be carried to the small-craft facility.
Click the “Map View” button above to see a chart of this harbor.
Chatham is on fairly high ground on the west side of Chatham Harbor. A conspicuous standpipe with a red and white checkered band around the top is at 41°41’38″N., 69°58’30″W. Chatham Light (41°40’17″N., 69°57’01″W.), 80 feet above the water, is shown from a white conical tower on the west side of the harbor. Chatham Coast Guard Station is near Chatham Light.
Chatham Harbor can be entered east of Chatham Light. Shoals are constantly shifting in the entrance and extreme caution is advised. Currents are extremely strong and dangerous; surf can build up quickly on the outer bar during an ebb tide. Ocean waves carry into the harbor and reportedly break as far north as Tern Island. Anchoring and even mooring in much of Chatham Harbor is not recommended. Mariners unfamiliar with the area are advised to stay east of Chatham Beach Lighted Whistle Buoy C (41°39’12″N., 69°55’30″W.).
Chatham Inlet Bar Guide Light (41°40’18″N., 69°57’00″W.), 62 feet above the water, is shown from a white skeleton tower near Chatham Light. A white (with orange border) and diamond-shaped dayboard worded ROUGH BAR is on the light. The light will be activated when the seas exceed 2 feet in height and are considered hazardous for small boats. Small-boat operators are cautioned, however, that if the light is not flashing it is no guarantee that sea conditions are favorable.
About 2.7 miles south of Chatham Light, at what used to be the end of Nauset Beach, is a large area of shoals which extends southwestward to Monomoy Island. There is no marked channel through the shoals. Small vessels with local knowledge use the area with a smooth sea; strangers should avoid the area. These shoals are dangerous in thick weather and vessels in the vicinity should stay in depths of 8 fathoms or more.