New Bedford, MA is located 30 miles southeast of Providence, RI and 20 miles east of Newport, RI. Not only a commercial port, but also one well-equipped for recreational boaters, the harbor here is well-protected and is an immensely popular stopover for mariners traveling and transiting the Buzzards Bay region.
Inside the stone hurricane barrier that protects the harbor form severe storms you will find a variety of marine services. There are repair yards with heavy-duty lifts capable of facilitating most any repair, and full-service marinas with concierge service, pools and resort-style atmospheres.
Prior to the 1600s, the Wampanoags, who had settlements throughout south-eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, including Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, were the only inhabitants of the lands along the Acushnet River. Their population is believed to have been about 12,000. While exploring New England, Bartholomew Gosnold landed on Cuttyhunk island on May 15, 1602. From there, he explored Cape Cod and the neighboring areas, including present-day New Bedford. However, rather than settle the area he returned to England at the request of his crew.
New Bedford was first settled by European settlers in 1652. The land was purchased by the settlers of the Plymouth Colony from chief Massasoit of the Wampanoag tribe. Whether or not the transfer of the land was legitimately done is a matter of debate; the tribe claims that they were unaware at the time that the land would be taken from them permanently.
Use NOAA Chart 13230.
The beginning of the approach to New Bedford Harbor starts in Buzzards Bay at red and white Morse (A) buoy "BB" about seven miles southeast of the hurricane barrier at Fort Phoenix. Once you have picked up the sea buoy, a series of lighted buoys, starting with flashing green "1" and quick flashing red "2," lead you in past Negro Ledge, Monster Ledge, Henrietta Rock and Butler Flats. In order to avoid hitting any of the charted (and uncharted) obstructions along the passage to New Bedford from Buzzards Bay, following each and every mark is necessary.
Once you have passed Butler Flats on the west side of the channel, two quick flashing red lights that mark the hurricane barrier become visible. The hurricane barrier, which is able to close during an impending storm, has a horizontal clearance of 150 feet and a dredged depth of 24 feet.