The Town of Groton lies on Fishers Island Sound between the Thames and Mystic River, and there are marinas for the cruising boater on the shores of both these bodies of water.
On the ocean side, Bakers Cove (pictured) is tucked in next to the Groton-New London Airport off Fishers Island Sound, just east of New London Harbor. Inside Bakers Cove you will find a large field of moorings and two marinas. One of the marinas makes its facilities available to transient guests, and both of them have haul-out facilities and shoreside marine repairs. The proximity of the Groton-New London airport means you will likely hear some small civil aircraft taking off at odd hours, but there is no major jet service here, so the inconvenience is minimal.
Up the New London Harbor (Thames River), Groton has four marinas about three miles up from Avery Point on the east side of the river. Two of the facilities accept transient guests at their slips, and another two pump fuel and have repairs available.
When Dutch explorer Adrian Block charted the coast in 1614, this was the stronghold of the Pequot Indians, the dominant native tribe, who were displaced in 1637 when Captain John Mason led a punitive expedition against their Mystic fort.
Groton was settled by Europeans as part of New London when John Winthrop, Jr., came from Massachusetts Bay in 1646 to found Pequot Plantation at the mouth of the Thames.
Early settlers were primarily farmers, but they turned early to shipbuilding and the maritime trade to supplement their livelihood scratched from the rocky soil. Groton vessels traded with Boston and New York and soon found their way to the West Indies and across the Atlantic.
Groton became known as the Submarine Capital of the World when the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics delivered 74 diesel submarines to the Navy in World War II. This was followed in 1954 with the launch of the USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear-powered submarine, now permanently berthed at Goss Cove near the Submarine Base.
Today Groton is a regional center for commerce and industry while its shoreline location and its many historical sites have made the region a prime tourist attraction.
Portions Courtesy Town of Groton
Use NOAA Chart 12372.
From Fishers Island Sound, pick up the New London Ledge Lighthouse (flashing white and red every 30 seconds; horn) about one mile southeast of Avery Point (Avery Point is on the west side of Bakers Cove). After reaching the New London Ledge Light, set a course for flashing green buoy “1” at the west end of Bakers Cove, but be sure to honor and keep a sharp lookout for the series of ledges and rocks (marked by unlighted nun and can buoys) on either side of the channel when heading towards Bakers Cove from New London Ledge Lighthouse.
Once you have cleared flashing green buoy “1,” leave red nun “2” to starboard, and then head into the cove past quick flashing green light “1A” on the west breakwater. Depths range from four to six feet inside the breakwater and you will see a large mooring field to starboard. The marine facilities are on the north shore of the cove. Call ahead for transient reservations if you plan to tie up for the night, or just grab a free mooring buoy otherwise.
Use NOAA Chart 12372.
From Long island Sound west of Fishers Island Sound, pick up flashing green buoy “1” and flashing red buoy “2” at the beginning of the approach channel to New London Harbor. Once you have cleared the two aids to navigation, set a course for flashing green “3” and red nun “4” farther near Frank Ledge. Flashing green “5” and flashing red buoy “6” come next past Hobs Island.
From flashing red buoy “6,” head up the New London Harbor past the following buoys: Red nun “6,” flashing green buoy “7,” green nun buoy “9,” green can buoy “11,” flashing green buoy “13,” and then red nun “14.” Past red nun “14” to starboard are four Groton marinas, two of which will accepts transient guests, and two more with fuel.