Charts: NOAA 13302, 13309
Belfast (and neighboring Searsport) are about 90 nautical miles northeast of Portland and about 35 nautical miles south of Bangor, on the western shore of Maine’s Penobscot Bay. From the south and west, head first for the red-and-green bell buoy “TB”, which is at the south end of the bay’s Two Bush Channel. From there, head for the red-and-white lighted gong buoy “PA”, at the south end of the approach to West Penobscot Bay. Then head roughly north toward the green gong buoy “7”, just east of a lighted ledge known as The Graves, a mile south of Camden Harbor. Keeping the buoy to port, head roughly northeast toward the red-and-white lighted bell buoy “11”, located west of Marshall Point on Islesboro Island. From there, head approximately northwest for about 4 nautical miles to red bell “2” at the entrance to Belfast Harbor (marked by a monument), or steer a more northerly course for about 4 nautical miles to the pier at Searsport Harbor, which you can recognize by the streetlights.
From points east, it’s best to stay at least 2 nautical miles south of Isle au Haut to avoid ledges and obstructions. Also be aware of the strong tidal set north on the flood and south on the ebb while on the way to the lighted red bell buoy at Old Horse Ledge, slightly less than 2 nautical miles south of Vinalhaven Island. Set a westerly course from there for the 8-mile trip to “PA” buoy.
Inside the harbor, be aware that the bottom shoals rapidly along the north side, so stick to the south and west sides.
- Belfast City Landing: Contact the harbormaster (207-338-1142, VHF 9, 16) for dockage or one of the guest moorings the city makes available for $25 a night. Pumpout is available, as well as gas and diesel. Can handle vessels up to 65′ and draft to 10′, and offers waters, electricity, showers, ice and pump-out. Dinghies can be tied up at the landing.
- Front Street Shipyard (207-930-3740; VHF 9 & 68): Full-service marina offering transient slips and moorings for boats up to 150′. Also offers water, electricity, showers, ice and pump-out services.
- Marine Supplies: Hamilton Marine (207-548-6302): Hamilton Marine, with headquarters in nearby Searsport, operates its popular warehouse and retail store on Route 1 (Main Street), less than a mile east of the Searsport town landing.
- You can anchor off either shore of Belfast Bay, as long as you stay outside the mooring fields. The bottom offers good holding ground. The crowded harbor itself is not recommended for anchoring. Many cruisers choose to anchor in nearby Searsport (see BoatingLocal’s “Focus on Searsport”), which offers better protection from southerly winds.
- A hard-surface launch ramp with floats is available near the town dock, at the foot of Maine Street in downtown Belfast, with parking nearby for 7 vehicles with trailers. More parking is available in an overflow lot nearby. Fee is $3 for non-residents.
- (207-338-1142, VHF 9 & 16)
- Belfast Harbor Department Web Page
- Water Walker Sea Kayaks (207-338-6424)
- Belfast Taxi (207-338-2943)
- Little Man Taxi (207-338-2746)
- The nearest grocery store is Main Street Market (207-338-3006), a few blocks from the city docks. It features a good variety of meats and vegetables.
- For a more complete selection of groceries, try the Hannaford’s Supermarket (207-338-5377), out on Lincolnville Avenue.
- For health-food enthusiasts, there is the Belfast Co-op (207-338-2532), on High Street, about 5 blocks from the docks.
- Belfast also has pharmacies, ATMs, liquor outlets and hardware stores within easy walking distance of the town landing. If you’re looking for almost anything in the way of marine hardware or boating supplies, Hamilton Marine (207-548-6302) in nearby Searsport, operates its famous warehouse and retail store on Route 1 (Main Street), less than a mile east of the Searsport town landing.
- Belfast’s most popular tourist attraction is probably the 90-minute ride on the Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad (800-392-5500). Departing daily from the municipal docks, these old-fashioned trains take visitors on a 14-mile round-trip ride to Waldo, passing through stunningly beautiful Maine countryside. On Wednesday evenings in July and August, the railroad offers a special lobster dinner train.
- Theater fans will enjoy The Belfast Maskers (207-338-9668), whose funky old stage and headquarters is an easy one-block walk from the town dock.
- If you prefer movies, try the old-fashioned Colonial Theatre on High Street (207-338-1930) for first-run films at reasonable prices. You can’t miss the theater; it’s the building with an elephant on its roof.
- Bargain hunters will like the Belfast Army Navy Store (207-338-6557), which still carries bona fide military clothing and equipment. It’s located just a couple blocks from the waterfront.
- One of Belfast’s best values is right across the street from the harbormaster’s office at Weathervane Seafoods (207-338-1774). This chain doesn’t offer fancy dining, but the seafood is always fresh and abundant.
- Farther uptown on High Street is one of Belfast’s more popular upscale restaurants, Darby’s Restaurant & Pub (207-338-2339), where the menu features items like pecan haddock and Jack Daniel’s flank steak.
- If you are looking for a good dock-and-dine option, try the Dockside Family Restaurant (207-338-6889)