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West Neck Harbor Cruising Guide: 
Navigating the Harbor & Important Waypoints

In this section we will describe to you everything you need to know while approaching and navigating inside West Neck Harbor.  This very beautiful harbor can at times be very tricky to enter.  Just like in Coecles Harbor, boats that draw 5 1/2 feet and over should take special interests in this section. 


Our Navigation section is broken down into four section; Entering the Harbor, Inside the Harbor, Hazards and Important Waypoints.


Entering the Harbor....

West Neck EntranceAs you approach the harbor you will need to be aware of two sensitive areas; the shoals along shell beach and the shoals along the eastern bluff.  Unless you get unusually close to one of these sides, you should not have any problems. See our Hazards section for more information.

Entering West Neck Harbor is the most difficult part about the harbor. The channel to the harbor is extremely narrow.  There are two cans at the entrance to the harbor; one is on the beach the other on the east side.  For an image of the entrance way, CLICK HERE.  It's best to stay closer to the beach side than to the east side, there is more water on this side.

Once rounding around the point, you will need to stay fairly close to the beach and bulkhead.  In order to go to the Island Boatyard, you will need to make a WIDE turn around the "Red 4" can to the "Red 2" can.  Many first time visitors are tempted to head directly for The Island Boatyard once inside or to cut short the "Red 4" can because it seems there is so room in the harbor.  Many smaller boats can do so with little problems but larger vessels may find themselves on a sandbar.  


Inside The Harbor...

Once past the sandbar at the entrance you will find that the anchorage area has plenty of water.  You will also see that there is lots to see and explore.

CLICK TO ENLARGE West Neck BayIf you are feeling adventurous you may want to explore up into West Neck Bay.  West Neck Bay is located in the far north-western corner as you enter the harbor.  See Waypoints for exact locations.  Traveling up the West Neck Creek to West Neck Bay is really quite picturesque.  The narrow channel is lined with some very beautiful homes and wildlife.  You will find that the channel can accommodate most boats but boats with drafts over 5 feet may feel more comfortable during high tide.  

West Neck Bay is approximately 1.25 miles from the general anchorage area.  West Neck Bay feels like a small lake and is quite beautiful.  It is also a great place for swimming.  We found that the water is actually a few degrees warmed in west Neck Bay then in the general anchorage area.  We really think you will enjoy it.


Hazards inside the Harbor...

There are three major areas on concern inside Coecles Harbor  

  • Shoals outside the Harbor:  There are two shallow areas outside West Neck Harbor that often can cause problems for some boaters.  The waters close to Shell beach are fairly shallow.  It feels you are far enough offshore to not have to worry, but unfortunately not far enough.  The same is true for the area along the eastern bluffs.  Click Here for a chart describing these areas.
  • Tides Outside West Neck Harbor:  The currents outside west neck harbor are extremely strong, especially near South Ferry.  Once sailing through this area I clocked myself doing 10 knots on my boat that usually only does 5-6.  If you are a sailor you may want to travel with the favorable tide.  Otherwise it may be a long day.
  • Sandbar at Entrance of Harbor:  As mentioned above, after you pass the Red #2 can you must follow the shoreline to the Red #4 can.  If you head straight for the marina you may hit bottom (depending on your depth).  CLICK HERE to see a chart with the sandbar indicated.


Important Waypoints...

Buoy Number Location Chart Image  JPG Picture
#15 Green Shelter Island Sound:  Approaching West Neck near south Ferry 41 02.60' N
072 18.69' W
Latest position taken on 6/29/01

SI sound Green 15.jpg (79668 bytes)

#16 Red Buoy in Shelter Island Sound:   In route to West Neck Harbor 41 01.71' N
072 21.25' W
Latest position taken on 6/29/01

SI sound R 16.jpg (66915 bytes)

#2 Red Buoy  Entrance to West Neck Harbor 41 02.86' N
072 20.31' W
Latest position taken on 6/29/01

Red 2 entrance.jpg (29379 bytes)

WN 2R buoy.jpg (33549 bytes)

#1 Green Buoy:  Entrance to West Neck Harbor (on beach) 41 '  02.79N
072 20.36' W
Latest position taken on 6/29/01


WN entrance.JPG (63652 bytes)
#4 Red Buoy:  Inside West Neck Harbor near anchorage 41 ' N
072 ' W
Latest position taken on 6/9/01

Red 4 inside WN.jpg (29425 bytes)


Menantic Creek Outer Unmarked Red Buoy: Entering Menantic Creek to the Island Boatyard 41 03.11' N
072 20.67' W
Latest position taken on 6/29/01

unmarked red inside WN.jpg (29370 bytes)


Menantic Creek Inner Unmarked Red Buoy: Entering Menantic Creek to the Island Boatyard 41 02.94' N
072 20.66' W
Latest position taken on 6/29/01

unmarked red inside WN 2.jpg (29371 bytes)


Entrance into West Neck Bay: No cans marking channel. 41 02.85' N
072 21.08' W
Latest position taken on 6/29/01

entance to West Neck Bay.jpg (62518 bytes)

For more waypoints see Waypoints Around Shelter Island.




This page was last updated on 06/11/2005
Copyright 2002,  All Rights Reserved.