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Boston Harbor Islands, A national park area Click to enlarge Click to enlarge

Nixes Mate Facts

Pirate lore surrounds this black and white marker which has guided boat traffic for a century.
Managing Agency
U.S. Coast Guard
Agency Designation
Nix's Mate day marker
Current Use
Navigational aid; park purposes.
Alternate Names
Nixes Island, Nix's Mate, Nixes Mate, Nick's Mate, Nicks Mate
Harbor Location
Outer Harbor

Longitude
Latitude

42° 19' 47.9" North  (Approximate center of island.)
70° 56' 43.9" West
From Long Wharf
6.33 miles
On-island Circulation
None
VISITOR SERVICES & FACILITIES
Hours
Not open to the public.
Piers/Docks
No
Visitor Season
0
Boat slips
0
Visitor Staff
No
Moorings
0
Guided Tours
No
Park Boats
None
Lifeguards
No
Car Access
No
Toilets
flush - No
composting - No
Campsites
0 (capacity ea.: 0)
Picnic Areas
Cooking Grills
No
No
Group Campsites
0 (capacity ea: 0)
Refreshments
No
Camping Capacity
0
Drinking Water
No
Trails
No
GENERAL INFORMATION
Total Acreage
0.00  upland acres
Highest Elevation
10 ft.
Short History
Material was quarried from the island to be used as ballast for ships during the 1600s and slate was quarried in the 1700s. In 1636, it was granted to John Gallop, a harbor pilot who resided on Gallops Island and grazed his sheep on the then 12-acre "Nixes Island." Corpse of an executed criminal, pirate William Fly, was chained and two other pirates buried on the island, then (1726) called "Nick’s Mate." Pyramid beacon perched on granite base which was erected by Boston Marine Society, 1805. Date of current wooden pyramid is unknown. (Further research being conducted.)
Wildlife
Overview survey in progress.
Geology
The beacon stands approximately 20 feet high. At low tide the beacon is surrounded by rocky flats and a sandspit to the south.
Water Features
No constructed water features.
Views and Vistas
The striped black and white beacon is visible from most points in the harbor.
Buildings
None
Fortifications
None
Other Structures
Cement pyramid.
Comments
200 square ft in size
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