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Block Island Harbors and Marinas Old Harbor

(Left) Old Harbor, on the New Shorham waterfront encompasses ferry dock and small anchorage. (Right) Old Harbor on Fourth of July.

Old Harbor on the East Side of the Island is protected by a breakwater and has limited space for dockage at the town dock. It is actually in the center of town.  It is, however, a commercial ferry landing, with limited dockage and little anchoring space inside the breakwater. It’s not very suitable for sailing vessels. This is where the Chamber of Commerce offices are. New Harbor

New Harbor (Great Salt Pond): The completely enclosed salt pond has 3 large marinas, 100 moorings and anchorage for 1000 yachts. For a "near live" image of New Harbor check out the New Harbor Web Camera on their website!  There are 90 town owned rental moorings (lime green) in the southwest corner of the Great Salt Pond. The nightly mooring fee is $30.00, on a first come, first serve basis. Vessels over 40 ft. contact Harbormaster on VHF Channel 12. The Great Salt Pond is a federally designated no discharge zone. All marine toilets must be properly sealed to prevent discharge of sewage overboard. The Town provides free pumpout service to all vessels in New Harbor , seven days a week in the summer from 7:00 am to 11:00 and from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Call pumpout vessel on channel 73.  There are 3 marinas in New Harbor , Champlin’s, Paynes, and Block Island Boat Basin.
New Harbor on Fourth of July (left). New Harbor has a narrow, but well marked channel entrance (at far right) into a completely enclosed and protected anchorage on Great Salt Pond.

Champlin’s Hotel, Resort and Marina

Champlin's (800-762-4541 0r 401-466-7777) is a self-contained resort on Great Salt Pond about 1 mile from Old Harbor (  The premises occupy the old WWII naval base, and include a hotel with air conditioned rooms, bath, refrigerator, microwave and cable TV.   Champlin’s also has the following amenities on site:

  • Swimming pool
  • Tennis courts
  • Children’s playground
  • Video arcade
  • Movie theater
  • Tiki bar with live entertainment
  • Snack Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Convenience store
  • Ice cream parlor
  • Bakery
  • BBQ facilities
  • Bike and car rentals
  • Boat rentals
  • Laundry service
  • Private beach
  • Shower and toilet facilities
  • Fuel (gas and diesel)
  • Hardware and repair
  • Motor launches
  • Ice
  • Fresh bait
  • Pumpout
Champlin's has all the facilities.

Champlin’s has 500 feet of dock space and can accommodate 225 boats with up to a 30 foot draft and yachts up to 300 feet in length.  What they do to accomodate vessels in the height of the season is nothing short of a feat of masterful engineering, but if you're skitterish about your vessel and don't want to be inside the wall to wall raft up within their dock space, don't take a chance. It can also get a bit noisy at night, but that's part of the fun. The majority of boats docking here are power vessels, and the outer dock also accomodates ferry service and water taxis.

Two other marinas on Great Salt Pond provide alternate facilities:  Paynes and BI Boat Basin.  Both offer limited and more rustic facilities, but for us nothing beats the old Block Island anchorage ambiance. At night, the sailboat anchor lights in the harbor create a unique constellation of stars right here on earth. It is so beautiful!

Block Island Boat Basin

The dinghy dock at BI Boat Basin is right in front of The Oar restaurant.
The second marina to starboard (west) as you reach the southern end of the New Harbor channel is the Block Island Boat Basin. This marina is seasonal since the floating concrete docks are hauled before winter. There is also a single wooden pier where ice and fuel can be bought. The Boat Basin also has a small general store stocked with groceries and marina supplies as well as gifts. The showers and heads are for guests of the marina only. The office of the Harbormaster is located at the Boat Basin and monitors channel 12.

The thing that makes BI Boat Basin special, aside from the dinghy dock, is the Oar Restaurant. It offers breakfast, lunch and dinners both indoors and outside. A must place to visit if only for a drink at the bar and at look at the decor. It is the place for sailors to hang out during Race Week. Reservations (401-466-2631) are strongly suggested for busy weekends. Bicycles and vehicles can also be rented on the premises. Several reasonable restaurants, including Dead Eye Dicks, are within walking distance.


Payne's Dock (401-466-5572) is a friendly place with lots of families. Payne's is famous for their snack bar and the Mahogany Shoals bar. Food, drink, music and friends...what more do you need? A boat?

Payne's Dock is adjacent to the Narragansett Hotel at the end of Ocean Avenue and still exudes some of the wild atmosphere from the days when it served as the landing place for the steamers from New York. Early morning doughnuts and coffee in the cafe or a midday lunch break of chowder and clam cakes are an island tradition.

Payne's has mainly fixed docks and a few floating docks for smaller boats (<30 ft). Holiday weekends may result in rafting, which allows them to accomodate many more than the 50 boats capacity they list. Payne's is one of several places on the island where gasoline can be bought. The gift shop has many treasures including the "all American" Tee shirt, locally hand-made jewelry, and saltwater taffy. The showers and heads are a bit rustic, all part of the ambiance.

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