Muscongous Bay Water Temps?

We are pulling together paddling clothes for our time in Friendship, Maine starting next weekend. We’d appreciate it if anyone who is paddling up there right now could confirm the water temps - the online info indicates they should be running in the low 50’s (5+ degrees cooler than last year in July) based on temps in Portland and well north of there.

We have drysuits, wetsuits and all the stuff that goes with them for colder temps, but the car is only so big and the increase in kayak clothing is leaving less room for mundane items like jeans, T shirts and shoes. It’d be best to guess the kayak clothing fairly correctly.

BTW, we are also guessing this will make for another July of much frequent and heavy fog. Not a huge problem since there are no shipping lanes in Muscongous, but still needs awareness. How’s that been so far?


Leave the tennis shoes and jeans behind
The water is pretty darned cold and although I have not been up that way this year, I know the local waters around portland are still as cold as you described. Play it safe and bring a wetsuit and a drysuit. The air may be over 90 or hovering around 50. You could have fog so thick you cant see your own nose. I am wicked jealous. Sounds like a great trip.

thick fog
you don’t need shipping lanes to have problems with fog.

We’ve done it…
We’ve been paddling Muscongus Bay for some part of the summer for over a decade. Last year was a particularly bad one for fog.

An advantage of not having shipping lanes, is that just about the only boats out in really dense fog are lobster boats. They are used to looking for small things bobbing on the water.

Lights, charts, GPS, and noise maker, along with judicious routing and keen eyes have kept us safe thus far.

Summer Idyll

– Last Updated: Jun-27-05 12:47 AM EST –

Thanks - we're lucky to have found this place to rent. This'll be our 15th year, and even in the worst weather it is still a wonderful place to be. It's hardly the least gear-intensive place between the cooler water, the fog etc., still only t-storms or pretty tough conditions keep us entirely off the water. We'll be there for three weeks - would welcome paddling with anyone who is passing thru.

Boothbay area… water definitely cold
I was in it a couple of times – voluntarily, for training – in a shorty wet suit, and others were too, and it wasn’t too bad. But then we got out fairly quickly.

If you’ll be in a competent group, you should be OK in wetsuits. If it’s just the two of you, you have already reduced your margin somewhat and might want to consider finding space for the dry suits and – yes – the associated undergarments. Do a lot of roto-cooling, assisted or unassisted.


Great place to paddle
We’ll be staying for a week in Bremen in early July, and paddling there. Definitely bringing drysuits for the longer paddles, and neoprene for the ones closer to shore.

GPS, comapss, chart, and VHF always figure prominently when we paddle in Maine.


Bremen? We are soo close!

– Last Updated: Jun-27-05 7:29 AM EST –

We stay on Ames (or Flood's depending on how new your charts) Cove. Neat island. Thanks!

GPS, comapss, chart, and VHF always

We always go out geared up for any possibility. After our usual three weeks paddling Maine coastal waters, it is dificult to ‘de-gear’ for local paddling. One local outfitter jokes that we paddle with more gear than his store contains :slight_smile:

Boothbay Dunk - How Recent?
Were you out there within the last couple of weeks? How’s the general traffic looking this year?

Boothbay – Sunday
I was out Sunday (yesterday). There was very little boat traffic between Ocean Point and Damariscove. We crossed paths with maybe 5-6 sailboats and recreational powerboats the whole day, and nothing commercial. Does this generalize to Muscongus?

We are most familiar with the area just east of Friendship Harbor and west over to Round Pond, out as far as Wreck and Frankling Island, but so far we have found very little annoying traffic like jet skis and transient vacationing power boaters. It’s really a sailing and working boat area, I suppose due to the cost of houses and land long being fairly high so the madding crowd can’t easily get a foothold.

The other thing we have found is that it takes two days of good weather in a row after a bad run for a lot of pleasure kayakers and small boaters to go out on the water. So if we take the first overnight of good weather to camp on one of the private islands we can usually get the spot we want.

lobster bouys
Muscongus Bay is said to have the highest concentration of lobster pots of anywhere in Maine. This may be an additional discouragement to pleasure power boaters.

Fountately, in a kayak one dosen’t have to worry about snagging a lobster pot. This may also contribute to the benign relationship with Lobster boats.

kayaks are speed bumps
Bay temps should be a little better as its not as deep as the ocean.

Forecast for weekend is air temps in seventies. Today it was 55 in Rockland and 86 in Fryeburg and they are less than 100 air miles apart.

Lobster boats and kayakers dont have a benign relationship especially around Muscongus Bay. There have been several run ins including some near misses. (I got shot at near Georgetown , a couple of peninsulas west)

Kayakers forget that lobster boats have the right of way.

In New Harbor a kayaker friend of mine says that inbound boats are on autopilot and at full throttle. Crew is cleaning up and not at helm…

So dont assume that you will be seen

Never assume…
We never assume lobster boats see us. It is our responsibility to stay out of their way. It is big enough water that it is usually not all that difficult to stay clear.

We always give as wide berth as possible to lobster boats. We try to note which bouys they are working. We try to be as alert to them as possible. Afterall they ARE working.

In over a decade of paddling Muscongus Bay, only once have we had a lobster boat apparently come at us. By that I mean turn directly towards us with open throttle to bear down on us when we were well clear of any lobster bouys.

So - back to water temps…
I’m hearing that low 50’s sounds right for well out in the open, say by the three mile line, but we may encounter closer to mid 50’s within the first couple of miles from the mainland?

familiar territory
I’m speaking as someone who’s only been around heavy fog only a few times in a kayak in NEW territory. I’m assuming that Celia is inquiring about new territory.

If a person isn’t familiar with fog AND they’re in a new place it’s a significant factor like wind/waves/paddler skill for general fun and safety.

Just Check The Bouys…


Thank you
Bouys conveying better news on water temps than weather services.

Buoys on
> Bouys conveying better news on water temps than weather services.

Yes… unless your weather service is Weather Underground (, which has a color coded water temp map with clickable buoys on their marine forecast page. For example, see…

and scroll down a page.