Boating

Person in kayak paddles on vast open water

NPS Photo by Kent Miller

 
 
boater
Boater dons life vest.

A number of lakes and ponds on Mount Desert Island permit boating. Each body of water has specific watercraft restrictions. Please remember:

  • During eagle and seabird nesting season, some islands are closed to the public. Please respect posted closures, which include:
    • February 15 to August 31 - Bar Island ( Somes Sound ), Long Porcupine Island, Rolling Island, Schoodic Island, and Sheep Porcupine Island are closed to protect nesting bald eagles or seabirds.
    • April 1 - July 31 - Heron Island and Thrumcap Islands are closed to protect nesting seabirds.
  • All towns have launching areas for saltwater near town docks and municipal piers.
  • The law requires you to carry a Coast Guard approved life vest for each passenger. A better idea is to wear them. It could save your life!
  • Canoes, kayaks, sailboats, and motorboats can be rented in surrounding communities. A variety of commercial vessels offer ferry service, fishing, nature cruises, sailing, and whale watching excursions.
 

Watercraft Regulations

State regulations require that all motorized watercraft used in the state are registered. Additional U.S. Coast Guard and state requirements include:

  • If the boat is less than 16 feet long, or is a canoe or kayak of any length, each person on board must have a wearable Type I, II, or III PFD.

  • If the boat is 16 feet or longer, each person on board must have one wearable PFD (Type I, II, III), plus at least one throwable device (Type IV) on board.

  • Children 10 years of age and under must wear a Type I, II, or III PFD while on board all watercraft.

Aunt Betty Pond

Internal combustion engines prohibited. No launch facilities.
Bear Brook Pond (Beaver Dam Pond)
No motors. No launch facilities.

The Bowl

No motors. No launch facilities.

Breakneck Pond, Lower

No motors. No launch facilities.

Breakneck Pond, Upper

No motors. No launch facilities.

Bubble Pond

Internal combustion engines prohibited. Bar Harbor water supply. No pets in water; no swimming, windsurfing, paddleboarding, oarboarding, or SCUBA; and no snowmobiling or boating within 1000 feet of water intake. (H.P. 142 - L.D. 175, 1973). Vehicles designed for use on public highways are prohibited on the ice. (Town of Bar Harbor Ordinance 06.05.05.01)

Duck Pond

No motors. No launch facilities.

Eagle Lake

Maximum 10 HP engines for boats. Bar Harbor water supply. No pets in water; no swimming, windsurfing, paddleboarding, oarboarding, or SCUBA; and no snowmobiling or boating within 1000 feet of water intake. (H.P. 142 - L.D. 175, 1973). Vehicles designed for use on public highways are prohibited on the ice. (Town of Bar Harbor Ordinance 06.05.05.01)

Echo Lake

Maximum 10 HP engines for boats. Launch facility at Ikes Point.

Fawn Pond

No motors. No launch facilities.

Hadlock Pond, Lower

Maximum 10 HP engines for boats. Northeast Harbor water supply. The pond is closed to pets in water, swimming, windsurfing, paddleboarding, oarboarding, and SCUBA (H.P. 142 - L.D. 175, 1973).

Hadlock Pond, Upper

Maximum 10 HP engines for boats. Northeast Harbor water supply. The pond is closed to pets in water, swimming, windsurfing, paddleboarding, oarboarding, and SCUBA (H.P. 142 - L.D. 175, 1973).

Half Moon Pond

No motors. No launch facilities.

Hodgdon Pond

Maximum 10 HP engines for boats. No launch facilities.

Jordan Pond

Maximum 10 HP engines for boats. Seal Harbor water supply. The pond is closed to pets in water, swimming, windsurfing, paddleboarding, oarboarding, and SCUBA (H.P. 142 - L.D. 175, 1973).

Lake Wood

Internal combustion engines prohibted. No launch facilities.

Long Pond (Mount Desert Island)

No horsepower limit. Southwest Harbor water supply. No swimming and no SCUBA within 1000' of intake. Personal watercraft prohibited.

Long Pond (Isle au Haut)

No restrictions.

Round Pond

Internal combustion engines prohibted. No launch facilities.


Seal Cove Pond

Maximum 10 HP engines for boats. Unimproved boat launch.

Seawall Pond

No motors. No launch facilities.

Sargent Mountain Pond

No motors. No launch facilities.

The Tarn

No motors. No launch facilities.

Witch Hole Pond

Internal combustion engines prohibited. No launch facilities.

 

Kayaking

With its spectacular coastal scenery, Mount Desert Island is a great location for ocean kayaking. Beginner paddlers can join a number of private companies for guided kayak tours in Frenchman Bay. Experienced paddlers may opt to head out without a guide; public boat ramps are available in Bar Harbor, Northeast Harbor, and Southwest Harbor. Additional access sites include:

  • Seal Cove (sponsored by state of Maine)
  • Bass Harbor (sponsored by state of Maine)
  • Seal Harbor Beach
  • Hadley Point
  • Bar Island Gravel Bar

When parking at any of these areas, please obey all posted signage regarding parking and other regulations. Respect private property. Remember that the difference between low tide and high tide can reach twelve feet; the spot where you park at low tide may be under water at high tide.

If heading out on your own, be careful. Kayaking in the ocean is for experienced paddlers only. It is easy to get in trouble in the waters off the coast of Maine, where tides, rough seas, fog, and cold water temperatures (less than 55 degrees Fahrenheit) often create difficult conditions. Know how to perform a self-rescue and always travel with a partner.

For more information about kayak tours or rentals, contact local chambers of commerce.

Last updated: January 31, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 177
Bar Harbor, ME 04609

Phone:

(207) 288-3338

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