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Preserved 02-07-2008 08:19 AM

Casco to Freeport ME..Seeking Mooring
Hi everyone,

I'm looking for an inexpensive mooring on the Maine coast somewhere in Casco bay, or up to Freeport, Harpswell area.

Of course we'd like inexpensive, dingy access, and parking! Not too much to ask is it?

We're considering getting a mooring permit right in Portland, since we know the area, but would prefer someplace a little quieter.

Any and all recommendations would be appreciated. I'm open to anything. Know anyone selling a mooring? Seasonal rentals?



Maine Sail 02-07-2008 08:41 AM


What do you consider inexpensive? There is currently a waiting list in Famlouth Foreside which is the largest anchorage.

Although Handy Boat rents a few each year in Falmouth they can be a little pricey. If I remember correctly the price with one parking spot is about $1700.00 per season. They have no dinghy dock but launch service is included. Most just leave the dinghy tied to the stern of their boat. I pay $900.00 to Handy Boat (parking and launch service) plus $200.00 (edit that! I just looked at my renewal bill Falmouth is now $250.00 per year just for a permit) to the town of Falmouth for the honor of having a mooring there in that town so that's a minimum of $1100.00 to own your own mooring in Falmouth per year.

You can try using the Falmouth Town Landing but there is almost ZERO parking and the dinghy dock is chuck full and also has a waiting list. You'll need your own mooring at using town landing so that involves the waiting list.

It is illegal, in many Maine harbors and anchorages, and Falmouth strictly enforces this, to rent a mooring you own to another boat owner.

Private mooring rentals, in general, are actually quite dangerous! Most folks who no longer keep a boat on their mooring also DO NOT maintain the mooring and the liability is on you to ensure the chain and tackle will hold your boat. Mooring chain should be replaced every three to four years and pendants every two to three or depending upon condition after a mooring inspection by a qualified mooring service company or diver.

South Freeport has a VERY long waiting list and even if Brewers does rent it would be astronomically priced to to demand.

Dolphin Marine in Harpswell rents moorings but be very careful as they use mostly cement blocks and they have a horrendous reputation of boats dragging and or breaking free. The Dolphin is also very exposed to the weather and over 50 minutes from Portland.

Paul's Marina on Mere Point I believe is full as is Great Island Boat Yard but it's worth checking on.

My advice would be to get on the waiting list for Falmouth NOW and when the time comes buy your own mooring...

There are plenty of places East of Casco Bay with moorings but you gain drive time..

When you say Portland I'm guessing you mean the Eastern Prom area? This anchorage is very, very exposed to the North East and looses a few boats with every decent blow!

How big is your boat??

TomandKarens34 02-07-2008 11:02 AM

Hi Jeff, I have a mooring in South Portland. It's an exposed mooring, but not too bad. $140 per year. Parking isn't great. If there's room you can park right by the beach. There's only room for about 5 cars. After that you can park at the ramp at Bugs Light. That cost $5 and you have to walk 1/2 mile back. I drive to the beach, unload the gear, dingy, and motor, then park at the light. Given the low cost of the mooring, I can deal with it. Dingys are on the beach too. Most folks just leave them there. Its not a good mooring if you want to sleep on your boat. Just a little too much movement for a good nights sleep. Willards Beach. List is about 1 year, I think. You might get one this year if you act now.

soulesailor 02-07-2008 12:03 PM

Jeff, this site will get things going for your search around portland:

Greater Portland is a pretty busy place so if you are really interested in some place quieter I would look into places like Harpswell or eastern Casco Bay. Anyone who sells a mooring (at least in the jurisdiction of portland) is only selling the GEAR, not the spot. You will still have to contact the Portland Harbor Master and get put on the waiting list. He is a very nice person but difficult to get a hold of. If you want to live aboard, forget about anything in the Portland area, they are all too exposed and rough. Your nearest shot would be Halekai's info on Falmouth.

Preserved 02-07-2008 12:47 PM

Thanks everyone. This is all good information to me. My boat is a 30foot, with a 4'3" draft. At this point, I'm looking at getting on a waiting list for East End Beach in Portland, or making the drive up to Rockland. I'd buy the tackle for East End Beach. South Portland would be the closest for us, but I'm not sure I like the busyness or exposure to the NE wind. That's why I was thinking of somewhere closer to Freeport. Thanks for the info on Dolphin, I'll stay clear.

Unless I can find a good rental situation, I'll just have to put myself on a few waiting lists and hope for the best. I suppose I can't be too choosy at this point.

Tom, just how exposed is your mooring? I imagine it gets quite rough with n'easter.

Price? We'll we're looking to get away as cheaply as possible of course. And have a nice spot! One that's close, quiet, beautiful, easy to access, protected and cheap!


Maine Sail 02-07-2008 06:14 PM

Friends of mine
Friends of mine who are very, very knowlegeable and who have sailed over 30,000 nm in the last two years lost their Tartan in SoPo. It was properly secured but that location is EXPOSED...

Robinhood Marine is another location but getting in and out of the cove requires a good working engine!!

Cheap is one thing but DO NOT cut corners on protection to save a few bucks!

Here's Why: Same end of the bay!!

soulesailor 02-07-2008 06:35 PM

Ouch!!!! Was that the storm two falls ago? My boat was moored out at Willard Beach...I wore through a double layer of fire-hose chafe protection and my boat was jerking to a halt at the mooring and shipping green waves over the bow. That marina was out of commission all summer, if I remember correctly. Portland is very exposed, no f-ing foolin'.

sailingdog 02-07-2008 06:37 PM

That's why I'm glad my marina is very well protected. :)

Preserved 02-07-2008 08:13 PM

Wow. Were those two boats at a dock? Looks like they hit a floating dock. I hate seeing pictures like that. In south portland, on a mooring, and a storm is there any where to hole-up? I can't think of anything that's not many miles away.


maccauley123 02-07-2008 08:42 PM

Handy Boat
I have kept my 30 foot boat at Handy Boat in Falmouth for the last few years and have been very happy with it. Right in the heart of Casco Bay, a short sail to Portland or to any of the major islands in Casco Bay.

A Falmouth mooring permit is $250 and renting a mooring at Handy is about 1200 I think. The field is big so the launch service is real handy. My mooring was at the edge of the field so would have been a long row. They have a great restaurant right there also and a good outdoor pub. This is the only one I have been at in the area but have been happy with it. Reasonably well protected. My boat was not in the water yet for that big storm a few years ago.

I am actually not going to be at Handy Boat any longer, got a mooring much closer to home. My spot will be available although I have no idea if I can pass mine on to you in any way. I will be selling my mooring gear though so that might be of interest. Just replaced chain and pendant recently so gear should be in good shape. PM me if interested.

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