Matagorda Harbor and the GICW

Matagorda Harbor opened in 1990 as part of the Mouth of the Colorado River Project, a joint project by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Port of Bay City Authority. Ideally located at Mile Marker 440 on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, Matagorda Harbor offers access to East and West Matagorda Bays, the Colorado River, and the Gulf of Mexico via the Colorado River Jetties. The majority of boats kept at the harbor are hung in covered electric boatlifts, making launching as simple as turning a switch. In addition to the permanently stored boats, there is sufficient parking for about 250 vehicle/trailer rigs for those wishing to use the public ramps for a day on the water. There is no charge for launching. For vessels traveling on the Intracoastal Waterway, Matagorda Harbor offers eight over-night transient slips on the quay wall with 30 amp, 50 amp, and 50 amp/250 volt shore power and municipal water. In an effort to protect the local environment, the harbor has a vessel pump-out station and an oil/filter recycling station. Although most people use the harbor as a departure point, others come to enjoy fishing in the 15-foot deep water or to watch the gulls, loons, pelicans, cormorants, and skimmers that make their home at the harbor at different times of the year. In addition to Matagorda Harbor, the Port Authority also operates the Port of Bay City, an off-channel industrial basin 15 miles up the Colorado River that serves as an excellent “hurricane hole” for boats seeking shelter from severe tropical weather. For those wishing to hire a boat, several professional guide services operate out of Matagorda Harbor offering both inshore and offshore fishing trips. For more information on Matagorda Harbor, visit

The waterway is 12 feet deep, 125 feet wide and runs for 426 miles along the Texas coast. It is limited to tugboats, barge “trains” and pleasure and fishing craft. The best view of the waterway is in Matagorda viewed from the Colorado River Locks, operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. These locks are the only ones in Texas and some of the busiest in the United States. They are located one mile west of Texas 2031 at the end of Matagorda St.