Brace Cove is easy to overlook on the chart. It shows as a little blue dimple on the ocean side of Eastern Point, insignificant next to Gloucester and far less intricate than Thatcher, Milk, and the other islands to the north. But in the right weather it makes an attractive lunch stop for the sailor headed outside Cape Ann.
The cove offers adequate protection for most summer conditions, good swimming, and a view of the Atlantic over Brace Rock that can be striking. The ledges forming the mouth of the cove do very little to break the waves, so a leftover sea from any direction tends to find its way in.
If it’s rolly outside, it’s likely to be rolly inside as well. In a real easterly, Brace Cove is predictably wild.
Entering Brace Cove feels more adventurous than it really is. The ledges are extensive, the opening is narrow, and there are no buoys. The way in, however, is deep and straight, and Brace Rock itself makes a prominent daymark.
At low tide, steer halfway between the visible rocks on either hand. As the tide rises, favor the south side. Brace Rock is higher, bolder and drier than the chart leads you to believe, while the ledges to the north are significantly lower and wetter. Up close, you can see them breaking at least slightly under most conditions.
At the head of the cove are a number of non-descript buildings, uncharted and of little use to guide you in the first time. Laying a compass course alongside Brace Rock can help keep you oriented.
Just inside the entrance, the depth sounder will flutter over a narrow bar, then register a puddle of deep water, 15 ft at low. Anchor anywhere beyond this, in 8 to 10 feet. Brace Cove isn’t a place to be too aggressive feeling around with your depth sounder – note the liberally scattered rocks all around the perimeter and well out from the high tide line.
In poor visibility, unstable weather, or with any sea running, save a visit to Brace Cove for your next trip.
Not for navigation. Charts are not updated.
Brace Cove has no supplies, services or facilities.