The New Bedford waterfront has many piers and wharves. The fishing industry uses most of these facilities. The harbormaster has an office just north of the State Pier.
Gasoline, diesel fuel, water, provisions, and marine supplies of all kinds are available. Diesel oil and marine bunker fuels are available by truck.
There are several boatyards at Fairhaven that can make hull, engine, and electronic repairs; storage facilities are also available. The largest marine railway in the area can handle vessels up to 210 feet. Lifts to 99 tons are available. Several repair firms in New Bedford are available for above-the-waterline repairs and engine repairs. Derrick lighters, some with air compressors and diving equipment, are also available.
Click the “Map View” button above to see a chart of this harbor.
New Bedford Harbor, a tidal estuary at the mouth of Acushnet River on the northwestern side of Buzzards Bay, is the approach to the city of New Bedford and the town of Fairhaven. The outer harbor consists of the area south of the hurricane barrier at Palmer Island, and the inner harbor consists of the area north of the barrier to a short distance above the New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge.
From the main channel numerous landmarks can be seen on the westerly side. Dumpling Rocks Light 7 off Round Hill Point, about 3 miles west of the channel, is conspicuous. Clarks Point, on the west side of the channel, is marked by a granite fort. About 0.7 mile northeast of the point is Butler Flats Light near the edge of the shoal. A group of three stacks is on the west side of the inner harbor. Although there are no landmarks on Sconticut Neck, Fort Phoenix is a promontory fairly conspicuous just east of the channel, almost opposite Palmer Island. Several church spires are prominent in Fairhaven. A tall radio tower is on Popes Island in the inner harbor. A private light is on the northeast point of Palmer Island, about 0.2 mile inside the hurricane barrier. The lights marking the eastern and western sides of the hurricane barrier are also prominent.
Butler Flats Light (41°36’12″N., 70°53’40″W.), a private aid 25 feet above the water, is shown from a white conical tower on a black cylindrical pier about 0.7 mile north-northeast of Clarks Point.
A Federal project provides for a 30-foot deep channel from Buzzards Bay to the turning basin just above the New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge. The 350-foot-wide channel is constricted to 150 feet by a hurricane barrier across the inner harbor, protecting New Bedford Harbor, extending from the western shore over Palmer Island to Fort Phoenix on the east. The 150-foot gated opening will be kept in the open position during fair weather, but is closed during periods of high winds or high tides, or when a hurricane is expected. Lights marking the eastern and western sides of the opening are shown from the top of each of the two gate operations houses, 48 feet above the water. A sound signal is sounded from the west barrier light.
The controlling depth above the turning basin to the Coggeshall Street Bridge is about 15 feet. Above that point in Acushnet River there is little traffic except by launches and small craft.
Four bridges cross Acushnet River at New Bedford. The first, the US6/New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge, has a swing span with a clearance of 6 feet. The bridgetender monitors VHF-FM channel 16 and works on channel 13; call sign WHH-238. About 1 mile above this drawbridge is the Coggeshall Street Bridge, which has a fixed span with a clearance of 8 feet. A highway bridge with a fixed span and a clearance of 8 feet is just below the Coggeshall Street Bridge. About 1.3 miles above the Coggeshall Street Bridge is a fixed bridge with a clearance of 6 feet.