RiverPalooza 2019: Mallows Bay (Ghost Fleet) Paddle

Most of the shipwrecks in Mallows Bay are from World War I.

July 17, 2019​ | 01:00 PM – 06:00 PM
(Rain Date: August 15th, 2019)

Join your Potomac Riverkeeper and REI for a guided and interpretive paddle to learn about the history of the Ghost Fleet on the Potomac. Paul “Sammy” Orlando with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will provide an overview of the history of Mallows Bay and explain its unique features and ecological importance. Within the small bay in Southern Maryland, about 30 miles south of Washington, DC, lie hundreds of shipwrecks, most of them are from World War I. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently declared its intent to designate Mallows Bay on the Potomac River as a new National Marine Sanctuary.

Mallows Bay is a small bay filled with shipwrecks dating back to the American Revolution.

Mallows Bay, one of the largest assemblages of historic shipwrecks in the Western Hemisphere, is known as the “Ghost Fleet” of the Potomac. Surrounding the bay are sandy bluffs topped with trees, which provide magnificent roosts for bald eagles. Marshy tributaries rich in wildlife provide a quiet counterpart to the historic wreckage. The historic Bay is located along the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail and the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.

Kayaking
Lead Riverkeeper:
Dean Naujoks – (336) 809-6041 or dean@potomacriverkeeper.org
Arrival Time: 1:00 PM; anticipated take-out time 6:00 PM
Paddle Distance: 3 miles/2.5 hour loop
Skill Level: Novice/Beginner Welcome
Outfitter: REI
Boat Options:
$100 per person (includes all equipment, 4 instructors, plus box lunch)
(NOTE: NO BYOB Option for this paddle). Register for lunch of your choice or one will be selected for you. Be sure to fill out and print REI waiver form. Please bring signed waiver forms on the day of the paddle. 


One of the largest masses of shipwrecks in the Western Hemisphere, the ships in Mallows Bay are called the "Ghost Fleet."

What to Bring:

  • Wear proper footwear. NO FLIP-FLOPS. Old gym shoes, sandals with a strap, and water shoes work great
  • Sunscreen, hat and rain gear
  • Healthful snacks and drinking water (no glass bottles)
  • Change of clothes
  • Dry Bag or Waterproof Container (if you bring a phone or a non-waterproof camera, you need a way to protect it)
  • Binoculars, scopes, field manuals
  • If you plan to fish, bring valid fishing license for the waters you would be fishing
  • Trip waiver (bring signed copy with you) – Adult waiver | Minor waiver
  • Read Paddle Rules
  • Download Water Reporter app to record your paddle experience. #RiverPalooza2019


NOTE: Potomac Riverkeeper Network is not responsible for the safety and enjoyment of participants who wish to attend. Trip times are subject to change or cancellation due to inclement weather, high river levels, tidal fluctuations, wind, and other factors that could jeopardize safety and enjoyment of participants. Unfortunately, there can be no refunds. Potomac Riverkeeper Network is not responsible for any personal property that may be lost, damaged, or stolen during the trip. Potomac Riverkeeper Network is not responsible for limited camping, outfitter service, lengthy paddle distances, late start times, and uncontrollable weather that could potentially prohibit/limit our ability to provide an enjoyable and safe paddling experience.