Lat: 42° 52.744 Long: 078° 53.520
The city of Buffalo NY is a major port city, situated at the extreme eastern end of Lake Erie. Named after the river it was built on, Buffalo NY grew from a settlement in 1804 to be the 8th largest city in the United States by 1900. Prospering through a long industrial boom, the city has been hurt in recent years by the changing economy.
Significant investments have been made in infrastructure and the city has emerged as a major education and health sciences center. Long an important harbor, The city of Buffalo NY has two principal marina areas for transient sailors - Erie Basin directly north of the mouth of Buffalo River and the Port of Buffalo Small Boat harbor, about 2 nm south of the river mouth. North of Buffalo River, there are marinas, especially useful if you are planning to enter the Erie Canal.
The city of Buffalo NY can be a very pleasant city to visit with lots of things for a visiting sailor to see and do.
The harbor for the city of Buffalo NY is protected by a seawall almost 3 nm in length, providing a deep entrance at both the north and south end. Because of the effect of both the narrowing of Lake Erie creating a channeling effect and the proximity of the fast-flowing Niagara River, the waters around the entrance can be turbulent. The entrances however are easy to enter and Buffalo harbor is well-sheltered.
The Niagara River is navigable to the entrance of the Erie Canal at Tonawanda and for some miles further on. Currents have been reported from 7 to 13 kts so a great deal of caution needs to be exercised. Every year, boats get into trouble and, with Niagara Falls in the background, this is NOT a place to get into trouble.
The entrance to Buffalo Harbor is marked by the Buffalo Harbor Entrance light located at 42° 50.103 N 078° 55.386 W. This is a Fairway Buoy striped vertically RED and WHITE with a bell and broadcasting a Morse A (Short+Long). From this buoy, the south entrance is approximately 2.3 nm east on a course of 44o The north entrance is about 2 nm noth on a bearing of 27o
The south entrance is marked with a Fl WHITE light located at the end of the south breakwater. The landward side of this breakwater has a Fl RED light. Directly north of it is a Fl GREEN light located on the south end of the harbor seawall. The entrance lies between these two lights and is oriented NW - SE.
The north entrance is protected by a breakwater approximately .5 nm SW of the entrance. This light, the Buffalo Harbor Light, is marked with a Fl GREEN light and horn. You will have it on your port as you pass it. The entrance is marked with a Fl RED and Fl GREEN light.
Once you enter through the north entrance, a slight change of course to port for approximately .6 nm will bring you to the entrance of the Black Rock Canal If you make a 90o turn to starboard, you will enter the Erie Basin with its large marina.
If, instead of turning to port when you enter the north entrance you turn to starboard, you will be in the Buffalo Inner Harbor.
Black Rock Canal
If you are planning to enter the Erie Calal, the short Black Rock Canal is likely the route you will take. The Erie Canal was an engineering masterpiece begun in 1817 and opened in 1825. It linked Lake Erie and the upper Great Lakes to the eastern Atlantic seaboard via New York City, providing a much cheaper transportation route. Today, it is used mainly by recreational vessels and is the route of choice for sailors heading to the Atlantic seaboard, the Carribean and points beyond.
You enter the Erie Canal at the southern end of Tonawanda island, approximately 11 nm north of the north entrance to Buffalo Harbor. If you cannot clear the fixed railroad bridge (22 ft6.8m vertical clearance) or you mast is unstepped, you will need to use the Black Rock Canal and the Black Rock Lock. Approaching the lock, you can radio the lockmaster on vhf 16 and/or signal your desire to lock through with a horn signal (Long, Long, Short, Short).
As you approach Tonawanda Island, you will see a stack on your starboard. On your port will be the GREEN "31" buoy. As you pass the buoy, alter course to approximately 058o and pass the GREEN C "1" buoy. The entrance to the Erie Canal is approximately 2 nm ahead on your starboard.
MARINAS, YACHT CLUBS, MOORINGS, ANCHORAGES
Harbor Place Marine (716) 876-5944 Harbor Place Marine, located on the Black Rock Canal, is the furthest north marina. It has 130 slips with a number available for transient sailors. There is no fuel dock. There is a pumpout station. Water and power are available at dockside. There are restrooms and showers. They are able to provide some maintenance and repair services for engine, mechanical and electrical systems. Amenities include picnic areas.
Rich Marine Sales (716) 873-4060 Rich Marine is a full-service marina located on the Black Rock Canal at the north tip of Squw Island. It has 500 slips with at least a dozen set aside for transient sailors. There is a fuel dock (gasoline only) and a pumpout station. There is water and power available at the slips. This is a full-service marina able to service engine, mechanical and electrical systems as well as complete fiberglass and canvas reprairs. They have a large parts inventory. There are restrooms and showers. Other amenities include picnic areas with BBQ grills.
Buffalo Yacht Club (716) 883-5900 BYC is located on the Black Rock Canal approximately 1 nm north of the entrance to Erie Basin. There are transient slips available on a reciprocal-club basis. There is no fuel dock. There is a pumpout station and water and power are available at the docks. There are restrooms and showers in the clubhouse. There are kitchen facilities and amenities include picnic areas and BBQ's. There is internet access available.
Erie Basin Marina (716) 851-6503 This municipal marina has transient slips available for visiting sailors. There is a fule dock (diesel and gasoline) and a pumpout station. Water and power are available at each slip. There are restrooms and showers available and there is a popular restaurant on-site.
RCR Yachts (716) 856-6314 RCR Yachts is located on the Buffalo Ship Canal just minutes south of the mouth of the Buffalo River. It has 125 slips with approximately a dozen set aside for transient sailors. There is a fuel dock (gasoline only) and a pumpot station. There is water at all slips and electrical hookups at some. This is a full-service marina able to carry out a wide range of engine, mechanical and electrical repairs as well as rigging and woodworking repairs and metal fabrication. They can also easily look after stepping/unstepping masts. There is a haulout facility. They maintain a large parts inventory. There are restrooms and showers. Grounds have picnic areas and BBQ grills.
Safe Harbor Marina (716) 828-0027 VHF 16 This is the largest harbor in New York State. There are over 1,000 slips with a number set aside for transient sailors. There is a fuel dock (gasoline only) and a pumpout station. There is water and power available at dockside. There are repair services available nearby for engines and mechanical systems. Restrooms and showers are available. There is an on-site ship's store and restaurant. There are also picnic and outdoor seating areas.
Buffalo Launch Club (716) 773-7629 Located on Grand Island, north of Squaw Island, Buffalo Launch Club is one of the premier power boat clubs in the United States. It is located on the east side of Grand Island by the GREEN C "21" buoy. They have 95 slips for power vessels with 9 set aside for transient sailors. There is no fuel dock or pumpout station. There is water and power available at each slip as is a television hookup. There are restrooms, showers and laundry facilities available in a beautiful club house. The club has a lovely dining room and a separate lodge building with deck, kitchen facilities and BBQ grills. There is internet access.
REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE, PROVISIONING, BANKS/ATM's
Harbor Place Marine (See above)
Rich Marine Sales (See above)
NFTA Small Boat Harbor (See above)
RCR Yachts (See above)
Obersheimer Sails is a sail loft as well as chandlery.
There are a number of large supermarkets across Buffalo. Save-A-Lot is the closest to the waterfront. You will need transportation to get there and back.
There are a number of banks in downtown Buffalo. All offer counter service and ATM's. ATM's are widely available.
Mercy Hospital (716) 826-7000 is a full-service Catholic hospital located about 6mi/10 km southeast of the Erie Basin Marina.
Walgreens (716) 883-0232 is the closest pharmacy, located about 3 mi/5 km north of the Erie Basin.
PLACES TO EAT
The city of Buffalo NY has a wide variety of restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets. Close to the harbor are several options to consider. Lagerhaus 95 is a European-flavored restaurant with a good selection of German and central European beers on tap and in bottles. The menu features central European dishes. Pearl Street Grill & Brewery is a very popular pub and micro-brewery and it has won awards for its beers which are crafted on-site. DiTondo's is a century-old, family-owned Italian restaurant with an excellent local reputation.
THINGS TO DO/SEE/VISIT
The city of Buffalo NY is home to two significant naval displays - the destroyer USS Sullivans and the guided missile cruiser USS Little Rock - both open for very interesting tours that would appeal to many sailors. There is also a WWII submarine also open for tours. Buffalo's Museum of Science has over 700,000 specimens and artifacts in its extensive collections. If you have children on board, consider the Childrens' Museum designed expressly for kids.
Buffalo is home to 22 professional theatre companies and there is a thriving performing arts community. There is always a performance available. To get an idea of what is happening when you visit, this City of Buffalo NY tourism and visitor's site will give you some ideas on getting the most of your visit.
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