The mouth of the Housatonic River lies along Connecticut’s south shore approximately 4 miles east of the channel leading to Bridgeport Harbor.
The outer entrance to the Housatonic River, marked by the grean 2.5sec flasher “1”, is 5.2nm by boat northeast of Stratford Shoal 11,2.6nm by boat southwest of Charles Island at Milford, and 5.l nm by boat east of the entrance to Bridgeport Harbor. From red nun “20” south of Lordship Beach in Stratford, a course of about 60°m for 2.3nm will take you just outside of the green 2.5sec flasher “1” the entrance to the Housatonic River. From flashing red 4sec bell “16” south of Charles Island in Milford, a course of about 240°m for 2.4nm will also get you to the mouth of the Housatonic.
Built in 1822, the Stratford Point Light is a white conical tower with a brown band, making an excellent landmark when heading toward the entrance of the Housatonic. Standing 52 feet above the water, this light-flashing every 20 seconds is the second most powerful beacon on the Sound.
Coming from the south, there is more than enough water around Stratford Shoal, but because the shoal itself is so shallow relative to the surrounding waters, a nasty chop often arises when the wind and the current are at odds.
Coming from the west, mouth of the Housatonic River. During the day, you’ll see two black chimneys located 3.3nm up river in the town of Devon that make excellent landmarks. Entering the river at night for the first time, however, can be tricky. Make sure you heed flasher “1” at the channel entrance; there are several 6-foot spots between this buoy and green can ” 1A” ahead. The breakwater extending from Milford Point is marked at its far end by a 27-foot red 4sec flasher”2A,”and the channel leading upriver from this point is 200 feet wide with a depth of about 14 feet. Be sure to stay as close to the center of the channel as possible, because there are a few shoal spots along the edge leading to red nun “4 “Also, part of the inner breakwater, marked by the 23-foot green 4sec flasher ” 1 1 ,” is sometimes underwater at high tide.
CAUTION: When tide and wind are opposed, you’ll run into little hillocks of sea near the breakwater Whether thrilling, challenging, or scary, these crazy waters should always be approached with care.
You must be cautious of the many oyster stakes marking the underwater shellfish beds; they are nearly as plentiful as the oysters themselves. Also be aware of the current Though it normally runs at only 2 to 3 knots, it sets strong to the west at the river’s mouth and quickens considerable-during spring freshets or when the ebb tide is followed by a north wind. It’s best to wait for an incoming tide or to enter under engine power. Also be aware of small fishing boats anchored along the river, especially inside the channel entrance and near Knapp’s fuel dock.
East of the outer breakwater, you’ll find a nice daytime anchorage. The water here is slightly deeper than the chart indicates, running sometimes to 5 feet at mlw, and is chock full of blackfish, blues, and spider crabs (bring your gear and a full bait bucket). The area is well-protected against weather from the southwest, but to the east you’ll find nothing but water as far as Portugal; we suggest you don’t risk a wind shift by staying overnight.
Looking to starboard of the 30-foot green flasher ”7″, you’ll see the extensive marshes that, because they developed in the last century, have escaped the fate of being sliced with mosquito drainage ditches.
CAUTION: There is an enforced no-wake zone from red nun “14” through green can “21,” the stretch of river between the Stratford Municipal Ramp and Pootatuck Yacht Club.
Above red nun “16” you’ll find the Housatonic Boat Club, offering guest moorings. Brewers Stratford Marina, located at green can “19”, has more than 100 slips in addition to excellent facilities.
Continuing up river you’ll find the Route 1 bridge (the bridge tender can be reached on VHF 13). Between the Route 1 bridge and the I-95 bridge is the Marina at the dock. Remeber that there is an enforced 5-mph speed limit/no-wake zone near all facilities and between the Route 1 bridge and the railroad bridge.
Once past the railroad bridge you’ll see a power plant on the right (the stacks are visible from Long Island Sound), and the buildings of Caswell Cove Condominiums, which surround the cove, will be impossible to miss. Follow the eastern shoreline staying approximately 100 feet from shore past the condominiums on your starboard side and then enter Caswell Cove between the 2 “No Wake” buoys.
Caswell Cove is located at the junction of Caswell Street and Oronoque Road, in Milford, CT. Caswell street is the extension of Bic Drive (Schoolhouse Road), exit 35 off of I-95.
From Points West
Take I-95 North to exit 35. Go left at the exit and continue straight, through the traffic lights at West Street and Naugatuck Avenue. Past the Bic Pen complex you’ll cross railroad tracks near the entrance to the condominium residences. Continue straight toward the river, parking can be found near the marina entrance to the left.
From Points East
Take I-95 South to exit 35. Go right at the exit and continue straight, through the traffic lights at West Street and Naugatuck Avenue. Past the Bic Pen complex you’ll cross railroad tracks near the entrance to the condominium residences. Continue straight toward the river, parking can be found near the marina entrance to the left.
From Points North
Take routes 8 or 25 south to the Merritt Parkway north. At the Sikorsky Aircraft plant in Stratford you’ll cross over the Housatonic- take the second exit and turn right onto Wheeler’s Farms Road. Turn right again onto East Rutland- at the fork in the road bear right. Past the church turn right on to Oronoque Road and turn right just before the entrance to the condominium residences. Continue straight toward the river, parking can be found near the marina entrance to the left.