The Boathouse’s team of aquatic experts makes Casco Bay accessible to adventurers of all ages and skill levels by renting out and selling Riviera stand-up paddleboards, which boast a quick response, easy glide, and maneuverability. Their one-hour private paddleboarding lessons empower newcomers to gracefully propel themselves over calm, glassy waters using an oar or an uprooted stop sign. In addition to paddleboards, The Boathouse also sends thrill-seekers splashing through the bay with surf boards, Hobie Cat boats, and various water accessories, such as wetsuits and sailing shorts.
Surrounding Kennebunkport Marina is a town awash in centuries of nautical history; the community also boasts a spot on AOL Travel's list of the 10 Best Beach Towns in America. The marina contributes to its pristine environs with new docks, an outdoor fireplace, and a riverside courtyard where guests can lounge on adirondack chairs. From the docks, which have hookups for water and 30- and 50-amp service, boaters can captain their vessels down the Kennebunk River or travel one-quarter mile to open ocean waters. Year-round storage keeps ships protected during winter or transatlantic spitball wars, and spring engine commissions by certified technicians prep boats for the sailing season.
Those without their own watercraft can join the Kennebunkport Boat Club, which grants members of any skill level access to a quartet of boats that range from 15 to 26 feet. Additionally, the store offers powerboat, canoe, and kayak rentals, and reservations of the Captain's Cottage make lodgers feel more nautical than tying their shoelaces in bowline knots.
When Hinckley Yachts needs to transport its vessels, the company entrusts Journey's End Marina, which has been caring for boats for more than 30 years. They operate 75-ton and 50-ton travelifts, a 30-ton crane, and 85 deep-water boat slips. They also specialize in services for boat owners and captains, including launching, indoor storage, mechanics, metal fabrication, and repairs in the fiberglass and paint shop.
While the 90-foot long Thomas E. Lannon schooner boasts many impressive characteristics?including a 64.5-foot deck, a spacious 18-foot beam, and a resemblance to a 1903 sword-fishing schooner?none of them rivals the story of how the vessel got its name.
Before the ship was built in 1997, owner Tom Ellis was visiting his relatives in Newfoundland when he overheard them reciting stories of his grandfather Thomas Lannon, who had fished the Gloucester coastline for more than 40 years. On one particularly stormy day in 1908, Lannon and five other men set out into the waters off Nauset aboard two dories and rescued the crew of the capsized schooner Eric amid 70-mph winds. Each of the rescuers received the eternal admiration of the rescued men and a medal from the Massachusetts Humane Society, which Ellis possesses to this day.
More than a century later, the crew of the Thomas E. Lannon keeps its namesake's love of the sea alive by chartering an array of sailing voyages that have attracted more than 100,000 passengers to date. After helping raise the sails at the voyage?s start, passengers capture vivid views of Gloucester harbor's lighthouses, castles, and beaches.
When the Ice Age ended more than 15,000 years ago, melting glaciers created the saltwater estuary that today sustains the Essex River’s myriad boaters, clammers, and fisherman. Amid this naturally beautiful backdrop, Essex River Cruises and Charters floats its two handsome spectator vessels, the Essex River Queen I and the Essex River Queen II. Guides lead daily, narrated cruises through the estuary, navigating the protected waters and pointing out the various local flora and fauna of the salt marsh.
Cruises embark daily from May to October and also include weekend cruises accompanied by coffee and muffins, during which passengers are serenaded by the plaintive cries of pelicans begging for the love of a good man. The fleet is also available for group tours and charters for up to 100 passengers at a time, and the staff caters signature clambakes and other events along the tidal beach. The cruise-curators even make big days memorable, transporting wedding parties to any of the many secluded tidal beaches in Essex Bay for ceremonies or receptions.
First established in 1994, Discovery Adventures is devoted to encouraging excitement for and exploration of coastal and ocean environments around Cape Ann. A large roster of experienced instructors and guides flex their years of outdoor-education experience as they provide introductory paddle tours, snorkel tours, and summer children's programs. All the while, they strive to foster a love and respect for the ocean in their customers and spark their interest in marine science and buying underwater vacation homes. The staff are all trained in first aid, CPR, and life-saving techniques to ensure a safe environment for all paddlers. Meanwhile, those seeking to relax on the water can partake in kayak and paddleboard rentals and float aimlessly among beaches, inlets, and estuaries.