Details for Ottawa City Dock

Ottawa City Dock

Display in The Interactive Cruising Guidebook
Average rating 3.9 stars from 35 reviews

Address Ottawa, IL 61350


After hours contact

Facility type

Marina - NO
Club - NO
Fuel - NO
Repair - NO
Municipal - YES
Other - NO


NO WAKE between bridges due to public boat launch on the other side of the river.

VHF channel

Web site

Email contact

Owner, manager



Payments acceptedCredit cards - NO
Checks - NO

Payment info

Payment discounts

Operation (seasonal or year-round)
Year round

Additional info:


It is very shallow coming from the south towards the city dock with a rocky bottom. Make sure you navigate 50 feet from the main bridge (where the No Wake zone begins), then turn 90 degrees and proceed straight north towards city docks. If you're approaching from the north, it's clear.

Run parallel to the bridge to avoid the shoaling which is encroaching from the west end of the eastern bank of the river.

Skipper Bob says to approach from the west side of bridge, however the east side has more water. Stay close to the bridge and you will have 12 feet.





Tide & current additional info

There is a fair amount of trash coming from Ottawa in the creek.


Approach: 4.5
Transient dockage: 5
Fuel dock: Unknown

Other depth info: A boater Stopped on July 10, 2014 and came in as directed. The pool was at 458.82 feet roughly within 0.5 feet of normal. Lowest true depth upon approach was 8.3 feet. True depth at the middle of the long wall was 11 feet.
Thee was a strong current running out of the Fox roughly 1.6 knots. so use caution.

Dock typesWood - NO
Concrete - NO
Floating - NO
Fixed - NO
T/Alongside - NO
Other - NO

Additional info: Free dock

Size restrictionsLOA max: Unknown
Beam max: Unknown

Other info:


Transient: 10
Total: 10
Transient price: $0.00/ft (2009-09-05)

Other price info: 48 hours limit. There is a 110 foot wall with electricity for four boats. There are 4 docks with tie up on both sides suitable for boats less than 30 feet. No electricity on the small docks. They are routinely used by locals for long periods of time.

Dockage between 7 and 9 am is prohibited on the fingers without permission. Can be optained from the city or police.


Transient: Unknown
Total: Unknown
Transient price: Unknown

Other price info:

AC power30 amp - YES
50 amp - NO
100 amp - NO

Additional info: Power is only available at the wall. No power at the fingers. There are four (4) 30 amp outlets on each of the two posts. A boater reported finding no 50 amp outlets. He stated that the outlets looked rough and some were taped over. However, he was able to use a smart Y to make 240 volt 30 amps out of two of the four.

Pricing info: Free

Cable TV (and pricing)

Phone hookup (and pricing)

Water (and pricing)


Dinghy access

Yes - Dock the dinghy at the fingers. No supervision, no access restrictions. Locking recommended.

Liveaboard info


Fuel brand:

Gas priceUnknown

Other price info:

Diesel priceUnknown

Other price info:


Yes - Propane exchange.

Pets welcomeYes

Other pet info: Bring your doggie bags.

Disability access

Launch service

Pump out








Yes - 10 minute walk in town to an IGA. Ask at the service desk and the owner/manager will give a ride back to the boat.




Yes - Many many bars nearby.

Hotels or motels

Repair capabilities

Haul out capabilities

Storage facilities

Fishing supplies

Chartering capabilities

Internet access

No - Jeremiha Joe Café two blocks away on LaSalle street offers complimentary WiFi for customers if you ask for the password.

Boat ramp availability

Yes - Directly under the bridge.


Other services

One block to downtown with laundry, groceries, restaurants, and hardware.


Reviews for Ottawa City Dock
Our favorite free dock so far., 2017-01-14
Captain: , Charlevoix, MI (290)

Not room for a lot of boats but our 57' sailboat felt so at home tied up and plugged in at their dock that we stayed for 2 nights. Rode bikes around the small town and worked on boat projects. bathrooms nearby and friendly locals. Thank you Ottawa.

Easy walk into town., 2016-09-23
Captain: , Portsmouth (553)

We stayed with two 40 ft cruisers on the dock and a third rafted to us. Nice town, easy walk to restaurants and a movie theater along with several stores. There were some homeless people both days we were there but had no issues with them. Approach by going under the bridge then turning to starboard along the shore. We saw 10 Feet along the dock. There are smaller slips but don't know the depths there.

100' long, three power pedestals , 2016-08-19
Captain: , full time cruisers (273)

I just paced off the dock; the cement portion is 100 feet long and you could hang out on either side quite a ways. If you were careful, you could probably fit three mid sized cruising boats, two is easy.

There are three large cleats, one on each end and one in the center, plus many 6"x6" posts in good shape. There are two power pedestals with 4 30 amp outlets in each. All the pedestals look to be in good condition.

A very kind gentleman; Ed came down to the dock, brought a local paper and took us up to a hardware store. He offered to bring us anywhere we needed to go.

While almost under the highway bridge, we can barely hear the traffic since the bridge is tall. Very nice area.

close to IGA grocery store, 2016-07-26
Captain: , Louisiana, Mo. (180)

Son in law and daughter took the center console we tow the morning we left the anchorage south of town. The IGA is about a 1/2 mile walk from the city dock, they re-provisioned, the owner gave them a ride back to the city dock and the caught up to us before we got to the lock. We saw several boats at the dock when we passed it.

Only room for one large boat, 2016-06-16
Captain: , Beaver Island, MI (291)

An ok dock right in town as described but the AC description of "10 transient" spaces is way off. The dock is about 70 feet long. With our 53 Hatteras only a small skiff could have fit with us

Great chance to walk around town, 2015-09-29
Captain: , Gibson Island, Maryland (150)

The Rotary sponsored the town dock. It is a bit neglected, one of the dock posts is gone. Three cleats, one at each end and one in the middle. Free power. Water dribbled from hose. Took long time to fill our tank. Ottawa is a cute town with lots of flowers and a nice park (first Lincoln Douglas debate). We walked a few blocks blocks to the Row house for dinner, then another 2 blocks to the movie theatre. 6 screens, so lots of movies to chose from. Great bakery on Court Street, about 2 blocks from boat that opens at 6am.

Good Spot. High Dock., 2015-09-10
Captain: , Southport, NC (637)

Stayed Overnight 9-10-2015. Entered as suggested close to the east side of bridge. We saw about 11 ft. to the dock. Saw 6 feet just off the dock. Dock is high(about 3') with 6x6 pilings so fender placement is critical. Cleats are far apart. 30 Amp power was available on the north pedestal. Pedestal is broken off, however, power was available. Water is available from a hydrant through a garden hose. We decided against using the water.

Ottawa nice overnight spot, 2014-09-18
Captain: , little current (272)

Ottawa free dock was as advertised. the power worked. water was available. we shopped at a decent IGA and visited the wine store. we had 8 feet at the north end of the dock. we did go through the bridge and come back up stream to the dock.

Fantastic stop, 2014-09-12
Captain: , Palm Beach Gardens, FL (1997)

What a great stop right on the river very close to town.
The gardens around are awesome and we were encouraged to pick the fresh vegetables which we gladly did.
Found a good laundromat about 1/2 mile north beside the Catholic Church.
Plenty of depth 8' true at wall which will only hold two larger boats.
Power worked great with reverse Y splitter
Don't miss this stop

Don't miss this stop, 2014-09-11
Captain: , Austin, TX (877)

We really enjoyed Ottawa. There is a town dock just to the side of the bridge, with a wonderful garden with produce to pick. We rode the town bus to walmart. Bus driver dropped us off at a stop very close to the boat. There is a wonderful thrift store on the Main Street, proceeds benefit the town hospital. Maria, who volunteers at the shop, dropped our purchases off at the boat so we didn't need to carry them back to the boat. We had a wonderful meal at the Row House. Also, a really big hardware store.

Free dock near town, 2014-09-06
Captain: , Massapequa,NY (1176)

Free wall with electric, near town with several restaurants. Great supermarket in town, ask for Larry, he'll give you a ride back to the boat. Use the hoses in the garden to get water. Room on the wall for 3 40 ft. boats. There's other smaller floating docks without electric that say no overnight docking, but it's not enforced. Many locals come around to say "hi" and offer rides to town.

Beautiful River Walk within 1-block of downtown, 2014-07-24
Captain: , Moyock, NC (1084)

Free dock with power, a river walk 1-block up to the town, picknic areas over looking the Illinois and Fox Rivers, large town map posted at the dock, well lighted, 8 ft plus water depth, and historical marker's regarding the area.

Struggling town still has a free dock with power, 2014-07-10
Captain: , Gulf Breeze, Fl (6909)

Here again 07-10-2014. We were here 5 years ago and it seems little has changed except the power stands look beat up and worn. That said the power still works and was separate phases so with a smart Y you can get 240 volts 30amps.. Water depth was not a problem when we came in today (7-10-14) with 8.3 true in the mouth of the Fox river entrance and 11' true at the wall dock. The wall had several fisher men so we picked a spot between them. They were not exactly warm and welcoming but hey we disturbed there fishing spot. One ended up being very friendly after a while. I would come back here without reservation. Water hose bib could not be found but may be hidden in the slope plantings.

Close to everything, 2013-12-16
Captain: , Green Cove Springs, FL (165)

Our only problem was depth. With a 5' draft we bumping bottom on the dock. Once we moved a little closer to the south we didn't have the problem. We stayed here for 3 nights waiting for cold front to come through. We visited the IGA and Herman's Wine selection. Parks workers was very nice and didn't seem to mind our extended stay.

Ottawa City Dock, 2013-10-01
Captain: , Meredith, NH (638)

Was a good stop for groceries. IGA about 1/2 mile walk & they will drive you back to boat after shopping. Bank is on way & laundry about 3/4 mile. Dock will easily accomodate (2) 40+ foot boats.

Free Stop, Nice Town, but ..., 2013-09-09
Captain: , Vermilion, OH (144)

About 7 feet of water at wall. Agree with last review. Unfortunately, some more "inquisitive youngsters" who reduced my deck inventory after we had gone to bed. Stayed another night with deck lights on and things tied down on deck. All OK this am.

Free dock with power, 2013-08-20
Captain: , Trenton ON (668)

Wall big enough for two 40 foot boats. Free power. Laundry is a 3/4 mile walk north. For groceries call Handy Foods 815-228-2300. They will pick you up and bring you back to the boat.
When coming from the north approach the wall by going past the lower side of the bridge pillar and cheat to port a little as you head to the dock. We saw than 6'.

Nice, quiet location with power, 2012-10-29
Captain: , Detroit (767)

Great free dock. Even though it is right under the bridge, there was very little noise throughout the night. 30 amp power is wired correctly to allow for it to be combined and supply 50 amp service. We followed navigation notes from Skipper Bob's and saw no less than 5.5'. We were here on October 25, 2012.

nice town, nice docks, bad depth, 2012-09-10
Captain: , Hamburg,GER (310)

No access for Keelboats with >5' draft. But I anchored out on the opposite bank of Fox river. and took the dinghy ashore. IGA staff drives boaters back to the docks if you shop more than you can carry there. - Power is only at the long dock, not at the fingers and dockage at the fingers is not allowed from 7 to 9 am (whatever sense that makes).

Great Stop on the Loop, 2012-09-02
Captain: , Dataw Island, SC (290)

Stayed here 3 nights waiting out heavy rains from Hurricane Issac. Easy to get to following Active Captain's nav notes. 30 amp electric but no water. Ottawa is within walking distance and has a lot of shops - directory at docks. Really room only for 2 36-40' trawlers.

Free is my favorite price !, 2012-09-01
Captain: , Cape Coral FL (4188)

Nice dock for only TWO 40ft trawlers, no more. We were fortunate to arrive and it was empty the day before the strong rains of the remnant of hurricane Issac came north. Dock has FREE electricity also. Its shallow approaching the dock but its soft silt on the bottom, nothing hard. Depth is abou 5ft at the dock. Short walk into town, lots of restaurants. At the dock there is a map of the town and businesses/stores are noted so you can determine where things are. Laundromat is a long way - .7 mile from the dock on Madison St.
Got a really good wash and hair cut for our dog from Jackie at Shampooch on Court Street, only about 2 blocks away.
Locals fish here around the bridge but they are nice people and nothing to be afraid of. If they are on the dock when you arrive, kindly ask them if they would move so you could tie up and I am certain they will oblige.
I did find water at the end of the garden on the wall...follow the sidewalk NORTH to where the concrete wall angles down. There is a well water hose bib there. I dont know if this is potable water or not but they use it to water the garden.
NOTE; On 9/1/2012, there is a sand blasting rig under the bridge. Looks like they will be blasting and painting the bridge soon!!!! You dont want to be here when that work is going on.

Nice location to access downtown and free tie up besides, 2012-06-01
Captain: , Red Wing, MN (384)

Free dock with 30 amp power a little noisy in evening till young people head home. But real close to restaurants and within 5 blocks of grocery and Liquor. Easy walk friendly folks in town.

Great stop!, 2011-11-11
Captain: , Marco Island, Florida (303)

The free dock at Ottawa is a great stop! We were disappointed to find that the power poles were removed. You are walking distance from the grocery store, licquor store, movie theater, many restaurants and stores. The laundramat closed 3 years ago.

Skinny Water Caution, 2011-10-17
Captain: , Heritage Harbor (89)

Stopped at city dock with 4'8" showing on Depth Sounder, hand hand on throttle any less and I was out of there. Local fishermen in area said water has been down as of late. Nice docks and will try again in the spring. Some rocks and funny winds around point and bridge.

Good spot on the river, 2011-10-13
Captain: , Erie, Pa. (1896)

76' boat 4.5' draft no problem; 30 amp power does not work for me but was available; good spot on the river. Ratings are relative to the competition.
Gary Miller Lady Barbara

Can't beat free !!, 2011-09-19
Captain: , Bayfield, Ontario (70)

Very boat friendly town. Depth Sept '11 showed 3 feet but must have been weeds as no problem with 4 ft draft getting into warf.. You have to hunt for the water hose ... its over by the rescue station but there's about 4 hoses joined together so it will reach the docks. Room for 3 boats at most. $10 cab ride to walmart. Grocery store and liquor store are within easy walking distance and both offer free deliivery to the docks.

Not A Bad Place To Stop, 2011-09-15
Captain: , Annapolis, MD (343)

Stayed at the wall just to the east of the small finger piers. Room for 2 boats (44 feet and 43 feet). Water is a little skinny (6-7 feet) but electric (30 and 50 amp with adaptor) is free. Make sure you go past the bridge before turning into the docks

Very rough area over grown with weeds, 2011-09-14
Captain: , Mesa AZ (1609)

Small finger piers are a bit rough. Long wall for 3 35' boats squeezed together. Hang out area for high school kids, but close to town.

Ottawa Free Docks, 2011-05-19
Captain: , Whitehall, Mi (1754)

Small finger piers are good for up to around 30-35' boat. One wall has rough metal edges. The other is concrete and low to the water. You are now supposed to get a "permit" from the city hall a few blocks away. Free and easy. Town has potential but looks to be down a bit economically with many of the restaurants closed.

Niice free dock in a nice town., 2010-09-16
Captain: , baltimore md (644)

We stayed 2 nights 13-14 Sept. 2010. Good electric 30 &50. Water availiable through their hose (behind the wall) The hydrant is North of the dock. J-J's bar and grill had $2.00 burger platter on Tue. Hermans Liquor hauled us back to our boat twice. We got a propane exchange there too. Jim is one of the owners and he and his store are big on customer service. Neat town overall.

Ottawa free dock, 2009-09-26
Captain: , Solomons, MD (1915)

Free 30 amp power. No water on 9-26-2009. Quiet; close to town for restaurants, liquor, movies. Historic value; Lincoln practised law here and the Lincoln-Douglas Debate was held here in park. 6' depths alongside. Some large cleats and 4x4 posts bolted to pier to tie onto.

ottawa Town Dock, 2009-09-16
Captain: , Howard Prairie (510)

Limited tie up space if you want power - only on the wall as you come in. The other slips are nice but no power or water available to them. Easy access to town for dinner, laundry etc.

If there is room, stop., 2009-09-05
Captain: , fairland (2653)

Very convenient location. Only two cleats, so you must tie to posts. You could raft boats since there is electricity for four boats.

Wow!, 2009-09-02
Captain: , Key Largo (5457)

I love it when a city welcomes boaters. Free dock, free electric, free water,, does it get any better than this???
Water in on the terrace, with long hoses included.
You gotta love a town that has 7 bars in 3 square blocks.

Great overnight stay dock, 2008-01-15
Captain: , Ottawa, IL (56)

Free overnight dockage for travelers at the mouth of the Fox River in downtown Ottawa. 100 foot of dock, 6 feet of depth, grocery store, luandry, bars and restaurants wthin walking distance

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