Jones Inlet is located on the western end of Long Island about 23 miles east of Coney Island and 15 miles west of Fire Island Inlet. Jones Inlet has good depths, but many mariners have trouble here, due to the shifting nature of the channel. We recommend radioing or calling one of the local marinas ahead of time for local knowledge if you feel you must use the inlet. The inlet should not be attempted in bad weather under any circumstances.
Jones Inlet opens up to East and Hempstead bays, with further passage available to South Oyster and Great South bays to the east. The town of Freeport, located about two miles north of the inlet, has most of the marine facilities and provisioning opportunities in the area.
Use NOAA Charts 12326 and 12352.
Although plenty of local boats use Jones Inlet, those unfamiliar with the area should not attempt the inlet without first contacting one of the local marinas for some insider knowledge. On the NOAA chart you will find that none of the aids to navigation are charted. The reason for this is because the depths in Jones Inlet are constantly changing. The buoys are very frequently moved to mark the deepest water in the inlet. According to a 2005 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers survey, the two-mile-long channel holds eight-foot depths, but finding out where the channel is located is another story.
From the ocean, set a course for red and white Morse (A) buoy JI about a mile southeast of the east breakwater at Jones Inlet. From here, set a course for the unnumbered flashing red light on Jones Inlets single breakwater, and then follow the ever-changing series of buoys in to East Bay.
The closest marina to the inlet is located to the west past the 20-foot fixed vertical clearance bridge near Point Lookout. If you cannot clear the bridge, you will need to head north on Long Creek to the town of Freeport for accommodations.