Hassel Island is completely surrounded by salt water. Divided from the mainland, Charlotte Amalie Harbor lies to the east of the island and the Gregorie Channel lies to the west. South of the island, the harbor opens into the Caribbean Sea.
On the east side of the island, the waters of the harbor cut into the land to form a small bay. This is Careening Cove, known throughout history to provide shelter from the raging waters and winds of hurricanes. Also, as its name suggests, this sheltered water was perfect for grounding vessels for repairs.