Boothbay Harbor has perhaps the largest fleet of tour boats on the Maine coast, lined up at the piers along Commercial Street. But cruising in a large vessel packed with a hundred or so tourists, listening to canned patter from a loudspeaker, isn’t for everyone. Visitors who want a more exclusive boating experience — and who don’t mind spending more — can choose from a number of private charters in the area.
Sailboat Charters and Powerboat Charters
When a group hires a private vessel and crew, the route can usually be customized to suit individual tastes. Popular cruises in the Boothbay region pass islands, coves, lighthouses, seal colonies, and lobster boats hauling in their catch. Some charter operators will pick up and drop off passengers who are staying in waterfront lodging.
Charter passengers have a chance to chat with the crew and may join the captain in the cockpit. Most charter operators are very knowledgeable about the waters around Boothbay and can point out features of interest.
Hay Val Charters, based on Southport Island, has a 37-foot Brownell Sport Fisherman that can be chartered for up to 6 passengers. The schooner Lazy Jack, a 48-foot historic windjammer, offers half-day and full-day charters for up to 15 people. Other sailboat and powerboat charters are available; inquire locally.
Fishing Charters and Fishing Trips
Sport fishing is big in the waters around Boothbay. Operators offering fishing charters include Blackjack Sport Fishing, Charger Charters, Redhook Charters, Sashimi Sport Fishing, Shark Six Charters, and Sweet Action Charters. Boats typically take groups of up to six passengers, though a few take more. They can be chartered for four, six, or eight hours. Tackle is provided, or passengers can bring their own.
The catch may include mackerel, striped bass, bluefish, shark, cod, or bluefin tuna, depending on where the boat goes. Popular destinations for charters leaving from Boothbay Harbor include the Sheepscot River, the Back River, the Kennebec River, and Hockomock Bay. A few charters, such as Sashimi, go miles offshore for deep-sea fishing.
In addition to taking private parties, several of the charter companies offer regularly scheduled fishing trips that individuals can join. Balmy Days Cruises runs two-hour mackerel fishing trips on the Miss Boothbay, a 33-foot craft built in the style of a lobster boat.
Bareboat Charters and Boat Rentals
For experienced boaters who are familiar with the waters around Boothbay, Charger Charters offers a 22-foot sailboat and two small powerboats for rent by the day or week.
Perhaps the best way to explore the busy harbor and quiet coves of the Boothbay region is in a sea kayak. Tidal Transit Kayak Company rents kayaks and gear to paddlers and can plan customized sea kayaking tours for groups.
Information about tour boats, charter boats, and other activities in Boothbay Harbor is available from the Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce.