Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary

Mallows Bay – Potomac National Marine Sanctuary

Mallows Bay is a small bay on the Maryland side of the Potomac River in Charles County. The bay is the location of what is regarded as the “largest shipwreck fleet in the Western Hemisphere” and is described as a “ship graveyard.” The site was declared a National Marine Sanctuary in July 2019.

The new sanctuary is only about 40 miles from Washington DC, and is most known for the remains of over 100 wooden steamships known as the “Ghost Fleet.” The ships, built between 1917 and 1919, were part of America’s engagement in World War I. The war ended before the ships could be used so many of them were scuttled in the Potomac River. The overgrown wrecks now form a series of distinctive islands, intertidal habitats, and underwater structures critical to fish, beaver, and birds.

The Ghost Fleet is a gateway to recreation and educational opportunities — walking the shore, paddling though history, or fishing its waters.  Kayakers can follow an interpretive water trail or steer their own course through the relative solitude of these waters.  As the site is close to home and an easy day trip, maybe it would lend itself to a fun and informative outing for the club members. I plan to check it out sometime soon and will follow-up with more information. Stay tuned!

By Karen Baker