The Piscataqua Maritime Commission hosts Sail Portsmouth, tall ship visits to historic Portsmouth, NH, every year, between May and September. Past visitors include Eagle, Bounty, Gazela, Prince William, and Kalmar Nyckel. Proceeds from our events fund sail training scholarships for seacoast youth and other education projects.
Why do previous captains call Portsmouth “one of the best port calls ever”? For over two decades, our members and volunteers – about 150 at each event - have organized a fabulous time for your crew and captain, as well as our many ship visitors. We focus on a few ships and make them the heroes for our 3-day weekend.
Why we ask you to put us on your calendar for a port call!
Portsmouth sits on the shortest coastline in the United States – only 17 miles. That coastline is home to a long, seafaring history. Settled in 1623, Portsmouth is the nation’s third oldest port. As one of the largest shipbuilding ports in the country, Portsmouth sent hundreds of clipper ships down the ways to the sea. John Paul Jones’ Ranger and America, and Kearsarge were built here; and Portsmouth is home to the country’s first naval shipyard, building ships for the service since 1800.
What does Portsmouth offer?
- Strong regional interest in the area’s rich maritime history brings hundreds of thousands of visitors from the four-state area have toured the tall ships visiting Portsmouth.
- Ships dock in downtown historic Portsmouth within sight and an easy walk for visitors.
- Enthusiastic support from the NH Division of Ports and Harbors at state owned wharves.
- Plenty of parking for visitors.
- A market of 3 million people within one hour.
- Full newspaper, radio, and television coverage of visit.
Captains love our facilities!
- We provide harbor pilots, experienced tug and line handlers, and wharfage fees.
- Ships moor at permanent docks with full facilities, including bumpers and boarding ramps, power, water, and trash disposal. Fuel and pump outs are available.
- Convenient transportation – Portsmouth is adjacent to interstate highways, bus and train stations, and 3 major airports within an hour.
…and crews especially love the port!
- Scenic, historic Portsmouth is a major tourist draw. Downtown attractions include:
- Strawbery Banke (yes, one “r”!) is an outdoor museum featuring buildings and exhibits covering 300 years.
- A dozen noteworthy beaches along our beautiful seacoast.
- Several historic homes, like the John Paul Jones.
- Museums, including the U.S.S. Albacore Submarine Park across the street from the dock.
- The Music Hall, an historic building housing the region’s leading concert venue.
- A water park, cruises to Isle of Shoals, whale watching, kayaking, and more!
- Ships moor within easy walking to restaurants, historical sites, sightseeing, shops, etc.
- 150 restaurants and pubs, many with live entertainment, and 11 coffee shops.
- Volunteers handle safety and traffic control, assist in tours and standing night watch, if desired.
- Everyone enjoys the Captain and Crew Reception, with food, drinks, and music.
- We always show our appreciation at the Crew and Volunteers informal barbecue.
And Portsmouth loves our tall ship visitors right back!
For more information, please contact us.