Burnt Coat Harbor, Swans Island

Burnt Coat Harbor, Swans Island

Swans Island, Maine United States
Lat: 44° 8' 16.8''
Lon: -68° 26' 32.63''
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Marinas near Burnt Coat Harbor, Swans Island

NameReviewsMax LOAVHFDock DepthGas / DieselLift / CraneWifiAmps
Lunt & Lunt Marina-

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Frenchboro Ferry Dock-

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Morris Yachts-

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Bass Harbor Marine-

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Bass Harbor Boat Corporation--------
Wooden Boat School-

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Atlantic Boat Company
1 reviews


Brooklin Boat Yard-

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The Inn on the Harbor--------
Stonington Public Dock-

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Center Harbor Yacht Club-


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Southwest Harbor Town Dock-

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The image above is a view from the south looking north over the east entrance to Burnt Coat Harbor. Off to the right (east) of the entrance in the lower portion of the image are two islands that are referred to as The Hubs. To the left, the northeastern tip of Harbor Island can be seen. Off in the upper-left-hand corner of the image is the main portion of Burnt Coat Harbor where the majority of the marine service and marina facilities are available.

There are three marine facilities on Burnt Coat Harbor: The Swans Island Fishermans Co-op, the Swans Island Boatshop and the Burnt Coat Harbor Town Dock. The Swans Island Fishermans Co-op does offer transient slips, but availability is based on the number of lobster fisherman using the docks; this is the only transient facility on the harbor. The Burntcoat Harbor Town Dock allows for temporary tie ups, but overnight stays are not permitted. Both gas and diesel fuels are available from the fisherman's co-op.

Accessible from land only by ferry or boat, Burnt Coat Harbor cuts a swath of water into Swans Island, which is located 8 miles to the southwest of Mount Desert Island.

The well-protected harbor is a popular stopover for mariners and cruisers due to its north coast setting and mild temperatures during the summer season. Beautiful homes and buildings line the pine and conifer forests of the island, which is most famous for its old lighthouse at Hockamock Head.


Swans Island history is closely associated with its namesake, James Swan who, in 1784, purchased a number of islands off Mount Desert Island known as the Burnt Coat group. The explorer Champlain had visited these islands 150 years before Swans arrival in the area.

Fishing and lumber were once major industries on the island, but have since been replaced with tourism, the island’s main revenue generator.

Navigating the Water:

There are two entrances into Burnt Coat Harbor: One from the south side of Swans Island near Southwest Passage and one from Toothacher Bay to the west of Swan Island. The western approach is preferred.

[b]West Approach Via Toothacher Bay:[/b]

From Toothacher Bay, first set a course to intercept the area near waypoint N44 07.484 W68 27.538. Once you have safely negotiated near the waypoint, set an approximate course of 064 degrees magnetic for about .8 mile. This will take you past green can buoy “3,” which marks the location of Gooseberry Island Ledge, and then on to red daybeacon “4” on the north end of Harbor Island. If you need assistance navigating in at night, the Hockamock Head Lighthouse (75 feet above water, occulting white every four seconds) is visible for many miles and is located on the port side of the entry channel at, as the name suggests, Hockamock Head.

Once you have cleared red daybeacon “4,” green gong buoy “5” shows up close by. Past this point, the harbor opens up and the three aforementioned marinas should be visible. See the introduction above for details on the services offered.

[b]East Approach from Southwest Passage:[/b]:

From Southwest Passage, first set a course for the area near waypoint N44 07.157 W68 23.529. Once you have arrived in the area of the waypoint, set an approximate course of 301 degrees magnetic for 1.1 miles to intercept red gong buoy “2.” Once you have safely picked up red gong buoy “2,” set a new course of approximately 310 degrees magnetic for about .9 miles until you will find green can buoy “3.” From here, navigate your way north up into the narrows between Stanley Point and Harbor Island. This area is peppered with many lobster trap floats; be sure to keep an eye out for them. Green can buoy “5” marks a steep rock ledge just east of Harbor Island; both the ledge and green can buoy “5” are visible in the image above (lower portion). Once you have cleared Stanley point and the narrows, you can bend off to the northwest in the main portion of the harbor.

Local Notices to Mariners:

Local Notices to Mariners are available online from the U.S. Coast Guard.


Transportation to and from the island is provided by a local ferry service.

Although the island has its own airport (Banks Airport), it is a general aviation affair (gravel runway). Your best bet for commercial service is Hancock County – Bar Harbor Airport to the north of Mount Desert Island.

Helpful Links:

Swans Island Points of Interest

Swans Island Calendar of Events

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