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Sponsored by: Town of Searsport

Town of Searsport

Photo courtesy of the Town of Searsport Situated on the western shore of Penobscot Bay, Searsport is the second-largest deep-water port in Maine, and one of the most important on the East Coast.
Photo courtesy of the Town of Searsport Searsport’s welcome sign says it all, as the town charts its course for a prosperous future.

Sailing to an exciting future, proudly drawing on its past

The town of Searsport, a coastal community rich in maritime history and scenic beauty, has charted a course for prosperity — and is inviting businesses to come aboard for the voyage.

Searsport is making investments in economic development, providing easily accessible tools to ensure new and existing businesses receive the assistance they need to thrive and grow.

Steeped in history

Located on the western shore of Penobscot Bay, between Belfast and Bangor, Searsport is a 29-acre community whose historical contributions to the world’s shipping industries is well chronicled. By 1860, the town (population then 2,500) was the site of 11 shipyards that produced more than 200 ships of different rigs. Related industries such as sail-making, lumbering, blacksmithing, carpentry and barrel-making were also growing. Searsport became the home for more than one-tenth of the deep-water captains in the U.S. Merchant Marine. In fact, Searsport has produced more shipmasters than any town of its size in the world, nearly 300 of whom took their first command by age 25.

Second-largest seaport

Today, Searsport is Maine’s second-largest deep-water port. It currently offers dry bulk pad storage, heated tank storage, railroad trans-loading, track-mobile service, ship loading, mobile harbor crane service and crawler cranes. In addition, rail service is available through Central Maine and Quebec Railroad, connecting to the Canadian Pacific, Canadian National, Pan Am Southern and NBS railways. The Port of Searsport continues to be one of the most important on the East Coast. The community is continuing to explore the benefits of Foreign Trade Zone status to support the development of this regional, state and national asset.

Charting a future of revitalization

In recent years, Searsport has entered new waters. Close on the horizon: opportunities to retain and expand current businesses, attract new ones, revitalize the downtown, and build prosperity. With available land and buildings along busy U.S. Route 1, Searsport is prime territory for business investment and development. Searsport is striving to be a landmark destination, with shops, restaurants and an abundance of recreational attractions. The historic downtown is scheduled for substantial improvements, providing more walkable streets, easier access and a fresh, inviting atmosphere for visitors, customers and residents.

Charting a future with maritime education

Searsport is building on its heritage and knowledge base with the opening this fall of a unique educational resource, the Maine Ocean School. This public magnet high school will educate future generations in marine science, technology, transportation and engineering. According to the school’s mission, the education will emphasize leadership, work ethic and transferable skills associated with ocean-related careers. Enrollment details for 2018 and more information about the school can be found at its website,

Searsport is also home to the Penobscot Marine Museum, which features educational, child-friendly exhibits, artifacts and even a village of 19th-century buildings, all illustrating the area’s maritime history. For more information, visit

Incentives for development

Downtown Searsport is comprised of historic brick buildings, each a potential storefront for retail development and situated on the Route 1 corridor, a significant driver of local commerce. The Head of the Bay Business Association, a group that works to enhance the regional economy, stands ready to assist new businesses. In the past, Searsport has utilized development incentives such as Tax Increment Financing, and is looking for an opportunity to do so again. The town is fully staffed with an experienced Planning Board and a Code Enforcement Officer, who will help developers smoothly navigate the review and approval process.

Please direct inquiries or correspondence to Dean L. Bennett, Economic Development Director, at 207-548-6372 or We look forward to facilitating your investment in Searsport. Welcome aboard!