Index to Kayaking In and Around Washington, DC

YouTube Video/Mallows Bay Derelicts by CJZeissler

Image: feeding babies.
Mother osprey feeding her babies. The nest is on one of the wrecks in the bay.

Image: with fish in talons.
An osprey with a fish in his/her talons. Meal time!

Image: Mallows Bay is a small bay on the Maryland side of the Potomac River in Charles County, Maryland, and located at 38°28'09" N 77°15'49" W "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.'

Charles County operates Mallows Bay Park (1440 Wilson Landing Road in Nanjemoy, Maryland). This small park contains the graves of more than 230 ships sunk in the river. Almost ninety were poorly constructed steamships built during World War I; in 1925 they were burned and scuttled in the bay. Bethlehem Steel then built a salvage basin during World War II to recover metal from the abandoned ships. The ships form a reef that hosts an array of wildlife. A 0.8-mile trail loops around Mallows Bay Park and the salvage basin.

Image: Bay Boat Ramp In 2010, a boat ramp and pier for recreational use was constructed to provide access to the Potomac River at Mallows Bay. It is popular to canoe or kayak among the ship ruins." Bill and I really enjoyed our paddle at Mallows Bay. Historically, it is often referred to as the Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay. Always check the weather before you go to make sure that the forecast is clear. It is so unusual to kayak here. There is an abundance of wildlife--even ospreys nesting in the sunken ships. We say adult ospreys feeding their babies fish that they caught in the bay. There were eagles circling above, winging their way on the air currents. There were many blue heron, turtles, non poisoness water snakes and fish. It is an excellent place to fish from the kayaks. You can also look for shark's teeth that are fosselized. If you have time to wonder the walking trails you might see deer, raccoon, red fox, etc.

Image: Bay Boat Ramp I want to add that the launching area is excellent as is the parking. There is a fixed boat ramp as well as a floating boat ramp. Bill and I usually pack a lunch to eat while we are out paddling. (Depending on the current and tides we will just freely float or anchor in a scenic and shady spot.) However, here we waited until our return and had our lunch on a bench overlooking the bay. It was beyond lovely, so peaceful and relaxing. It was down a walking path along the water to the left as you come in. There are porta john accommodations provided, as well.

Image: paddling at Mallows Bay.
Debbie paddling at Mallows Bay in one of the back marshes.

Image: Image: Bay

Image: along side a sunken ship at Mallows Bay. Image: of sunken ships at Mallows Bay.
(left) Bill along one of the sunken ships. (right) Sunken ships with just some spikes showing. Careful!

Image: Bay Image: or Osprey/MallowsBay
Cormorant (left) Eagle, or Osprey (right)

For More Information:

Mallows Bay/Chesapeake Paddlers Association
The Ghost Fleet at Mallows Bay
First posted: Sept 9, 2014, 2014
Last update: Jan 21, 2020