Current as of: January 1st, 2019


This are contains information pertaining to:
BOATS: Schedule, Pricing and during-the-week information.
PARKING: Where, when and How
LUGGAGE: Size, Weight, Tagging
ON THE DOCK: Things to remember (New Shoalers should see the information on the New Shoaler Page)
DIRECTIONS: Directions To Portsmouth, Public & Private Transportation, Overnight Accommodations
TRANSPORTATION: Public & Private Transportation contact information
OVERNIGHT ACCOMMODATIONS: Link to Hotels and Motels in the area.

MV Thomas Laighton & MV Challenger

The Isles of Shoals Steamship Company
(ISSCO) will provide transportation from their dock on Market Street in Portsmouth to Star Island for conference guests and other overnight visitors aboard the M/V Thomas Laighton. The Laighton is a 90-foot vessel, with three decks, two of which are fully enclosed and heated. It has the capacity to hold 300, and has many amenities, including a snack bar, several washrooms, comfortable deck chairs, and the boat is wheelchair-accessible. The 2019 August Schedule is HERE!

If you are registered to attend a conference your boat reservations are already made. All you have to do is come to the boat dock in Portsmouth. You will be directed to an area to leave luggage and to another area on the dock for parking. Make your plans so that you arrive at the dock about an hour and a half before your boat is scheduled to depart. Because the dock is located in downtown Portsmouth, you will be able to explore the town and grab lunch at a local eatery after check-in, so long as you return to the dock by 2:00 to begin boarding.


MV Uncle Oscar
Island Cruises, Inc, out of Rye Harbor, NH offers an alternative to ISSCO. Boat fares are included in the Room and Board fee for a round trip from Portsmouth, NH to Star Island on the M/V Thomas Laighton. Those who use Island Cruise's M/V Uncle Oscar out of Rye, NH will need to pay the fee according to the 2019 Cruise Schedule!

Boats run on schedule with few exceptions—when the weather or other factors may make it necessary to change the departure time. Delays and cancellations will be posted on this website. When in doubt, call the Star Island Front Desk to confirm (603) 601-0832. It is always a good idea to arrive at the dock with a cushion of time whether departing from Portsmouth or the Island.

Parking for Conferees is available at the Steamship Company dock. It is very important that you arrive during the designated “arrival period” to ensure your baggage makes it on the luggage boat which leaves before the departure of the conferee boat. You will be directed where to park by the parking attendant when you arrive at the dock on the first day of the conference. We ask that in order to prevent a traffic backup that “friendly greetings” please occur after the unloading and parking of automobiles. Vehicles must be removed immediately upon your return to Portsmouth or your vehicle risks being “blocked in” by others parking for future trips and/or conferences.

The parking fee is $10 per vehicle per day or any part of a day, thus a car parked from Saturday to Saturday is charged $80. This charge will be added to your room and board bill.

If you are arriving in Portsmouth on a day other than your conference start date, check in with the Steamship Company parking attendant to receive instructions about where to park. Special needs parking is limited. Please be advised that you may be required to park in the municipal parking garage on Hanover Street, a couple of blocks from the dock. Upon arrival on Star, you must check in with the front desk staff. If you are departing on a day other than the standard conference departure day please be sure to inform the gate attendant upon your arrival at the dock so that you are not blocked in by other cars.

The Star Island Corporation, Isles of Shoals Steamship Company and the Pease Development Authority, Division of Ports and Harbors, assume no responsibility for cars parked in the designated Star Island parking lot.

Luggage must be limited to:

  • One small carry-on bag (a backpack or small zippered tote, including your personal items)
  • A specialty item (such as a musical instrument, easel, or tennis racket)
  • Checked Baggage:

One checked bag (a duffle bag without wheels is preferable)—limit 40 lbs. per person OR

Two smaller checked bags – limit 25 lbs. per bag per person

Bags exceeding the weight limits cannot be transported. Color coded room tags will be provided by the island staff when conferees check in at the dock in Portsmouth, and should be affixed to the “checked” luggage item. The boat crew will then load these items onto the island’s workboat.

Although we make every effort to handle luggage with care, conferees should be advised that Star Island Corporation and Isles of Shoals Steamship Company (ISSCO.) assume no responsibility for the handling, damage, or loss of any luggage belonging to Star Island guests. Conferees are urged to leave rare or valuable items at home or, if they must be brought, to handle them personally. Belongings should be consolidated and securely packed; loosely packed items run the risk of being damaged or dropped in the water during handling. Conferees are not permitted to bring alcohol aboard the Thomas Laighton (so alcohol should not be packed in carry-on baggage). Neither Star Island Corporation nor the Steamship Company has professionally trained luggage handlers.


  • Plan to arrive a the Star Island Dock at least one hour prior to departure of the conference boats for Star Island.
  • Bring a jacket or sweater for the boat ride to Star Island, no matter how hot it is ion the mainland.  It will be cooler on the water!

  • The Attendants in the booth will direct you where to unload luggage and where to park.

  • Look for the LOAS Registration Table and pick up your Name Tag.

  • Find old friends, make new friends and get excited!


  • From the South:

    I-95 North to NH Exit 7. RIGHT at lights.

  • From the North:

    I-95 South to NH Exit 7. LEFT at lights.

  • From the West:

    (Routes 4 and 16) pick up I-95 North at the Portsmouth Traffic circle to NH Exit 7. From Route 33 (old 101) take Interstate-95 North to Exit 7.

From Exit 7, turn towards downtown Portsmouth (EAST). The entrance is approximately 3/4 mile on the left, across from the Portsmouth Sheraton and next to the salt piles.


    Shuttle Services

    Both of the following companies provide transport to and from Portsmouth and the airports in Boston, MA and Manchester, NH. Both require advanced reservations, and both drop off at the Sheraton Hotel, Portsmouth, or at other locations by request.

  • Flight Line Airport Express, (800) 245-2525,
  • Seacoast Airport Service, (866) 431-1580,

    Bus Services

  • C&J Bus Service: (800) 258-7111,, located at 185 Grafton Road in Portsmouth

    View Larger Map
  • Greyhound Bus Lines: (800) 231-2222,, “terminal” in downtown Portsmouth, a short walk from the dock

    Taxi Companies

  • Blue Star Taxi, (603) 436-2774
  • Anchor Taxi, (603) 436-1888

For a listing of overnight accommodations in the Portsmouth area, contact the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 239, Portsmouth, NH 03820  603-436-3988


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