Woods Hole Channel is part of "The Strait," the narrow waterway that connects Great Harbor (at the Woods Hole section of Falmouth) with Buzzards Bay. Because Woods Hole is the mainland’s principal port and ferry terminal for traffic to and from Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and the Elizabeth Islands, the channel is heavily traveled.
During the 1870s, the Corps removed dangerous shoals and boulders threatening navigation at the entrance of Great Harbor and through "The Strait." By 1889, the Corps had constructed a breakwater in Great Harbor, dredged a channel into Little Harbor, and constructed stone piers and retaining walls at the wharves of the former U.S. Fish Commission in Great Harbor.
The present dimensions of Woods Hole Channel were completed in 1913. It is 2,500 feet long, 13 feet deep, and 300 feet wide. A 1,300-foot-long branch channel that veers southeasterly from Woods Hole Channel towards Vineyard Sound (east of Nonamesset Island) was also constructed. Like the main channel, the branch channel is 13 feet deep and 300 feet wide.