Montauk Cruising Guide:
Navigating & Important Waypoints



In this section we will describe to you everything you need to know while navigating inside Montauk Harbor.   

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


Entering the Harbor...

On the outside for the harbor, lots of traffic normally comes from the East.  Large vessels leave huge wakes until they enter the breakwater.  Try to stay clear of these large boats while entering the harbor. 

Entering the harbor, the deepest part of the channel will be on your starboard side.  We entered the harbor mid morning at low tide on the Rosborough holding depths of 10-12 feet. The tide is swift leaving the harbor, moving at 3-4.5 knots.  This is not a place to dilly dally. Use adequate power to keep headway, particularly if you are in a sailboat.  .

As you enter the harbor, the first landmark you will see the is the US Coast Guard Montauk station dead ahead. The Coast Guard Station is located on Star Island, which separates the west harbor from the entrance to Lake Montauk.  

To the starboard side will be Gossman’s Dock. The western shore of Montauk Harbor is congested and busy part.  Gossman’s is a commercial dock with a restaurant, many shops. 

Further down on the western shore there is the town dock, which is used exclusively for fishing vessels.  Many of the fishing boats, resemble the “Andrea Gail “ from the famed movie Perfect Storm.  The West Basin contains many commercial charter fishing vessels, and recreation vessels.

As you leave the basin proper and continue down the west channel, One marina runs into the next along this very congested waterway.  West Lake and Snug Harbor are at the foot of the channel and the large Star Island Marina is on the east side.

The channel to Lake Montauk is clearly marked, but very narrow in areas.  See our Hazards section for information on these shoals.  This is the most difficult part of the channel. 

Depths in the channel after this point range from 5-7 feet at low tide.  West of buoy 9 , there is a small anchorage immediately ahead to the West.   Make a generous turn passing the end for Star Island.  You will find a small gunk hole with depths between 5-7 ft. at low tide. You will see the town landing to the west and the back of Snug Harbor Marina and the causeway to star Island to your north.  See our Anchorage page for details.

Continuing south, make sure you stay inside the channel until you reach can 13 and nun 14.  Once past nun 14 you are in relatively deep water (7 ft, at mean low).  On the east side for the harbor you will see an charming turret building and marina.  This is the Montauk Lake Club and Marina, a private facility.  The do have some transient space when regulars are out of their slips.  Please call ahead to find out if there is space available.  See our Marinas Page for contact info.  Deep water is on the east and north side of the dock.  Wait for dockmaster’s directions.



RockBouyWeb.jpg (58790 bytes)The first Hazard you will come to are rocks inside the breakwater, just before Gossman’s Dock. They are marked with a simple day marker.

Tides move swiftly and there is heavy traffic. If you have a slow moving boats should try to enter and exit at slack tide or when the tide is with you. Check our weather page for tide information.

There are shallow depths and some shoaling in Lake Montauk,  It is best for sailboats to enter the Lake at mid to high tides. Be especially careful while passing buoy #5 and #7 behind Star Island.  It is important to stay to the starboard side of the channel between  8 and 10.  You will notice the lightness in the water next to buoy 7 indicating shoaling that extends into the channel on the port side between cans 7 and 9.

If you have made it this far.  You will see a sign “Welcome to Montauk Lake”.





To the southwest of the marina you will see a cluster of private moorings.  The town beach is directly off of the moorings, as is the Crow’s Nest Restaurant.



Lake Montauk was originally a fresh water pond similar to the Great Salt Pond on BI and was broken through in the same way. 




You can dink ride from the main harbor and marina area all the way up to the town landing as marked by * on the map.  If you are interested in lunch, go to the Crow’s Head at the head of the harbor (*).  On our recent trip, we landed a the town landing and walked across to the ocean via – Street.  When leaving the


The walk was about 1 mile to the opening on the Atlantic.  The beach at this location was very rocky.  It was a surfer’s heaven, for those young enough and daring enough.  A few yard to the West was a sandy beach.


These ocean shores have been the scene of over 150 ship wrecks.  Local rumor says that far and away the biggest occurred at Cottage Point (*).  The USS Baldwin destroyer broke loose when she was being toed in heavy weather and slammed ashore, skidding many yards over rocks which tore up her bottom.  The local fish story is that the crash bent Montauk Point 3” North.   For six weeks the Navy tried to pull her off, patching the bottom.  She opened up each time until they were patching the patches.  After 60’ a man lost his life after a cable snapped, they sealed her decks, pumped her full of air and pulled her 36 miles out to sea when the seals broke and they lost her.


Important Waypoints...







This page was last updated on 06/11/2005
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