Mallows Bay Park is your gateway to the Mallows Bay Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary.
The reason you want to paddle here is because you want to see the 'ghost fleet' - 200 shipwrecks are in this location and you can paddle and explore them! Most of these ships are wooden freighters that were part of the WW I US war effort that never saw action because by the time they were built wooden ships were technologically inferior.
There is a nice map/slash interpretative sign at the boat ramp - take a cell phone photo and use the map to know what wreck you are at. There are also some numbered buoys that the map will help you make sense of where you are.
Plan your paddle for a low tide (when the most ships are visible). Even though the ships are wood, there are metal rods, supports, etc. that are just waiting to scar up your or puncture your boat - please consider plastic boats.
There is a rental/guide service that can set you up. I have never used a guide here, but the guide service may add to the experience with some knowledge of the shipwrecks.
It is best to be here on a weekday, but early and late on weekends avoids the congestion at the boat ramp (so many cars hauling kayaks). Of course, your kayak cart can avoid the congestion but you will be carting up and down a steep hill.
The bay is somewhat sheltered, but can get some good waves under the right conditions. Big waves can drop you onto the metal poles of the shipwrecks, so be aware. Most of the boats have some above the waterline
There are some fun beaches to haul out and have a snack. In the back part of the bay there can be heavy growth of aquatic vegetation by late summer.
If you get out onto the shipwrecks, expect everything to be slippery and uneven - I got on one to remove some plastic trash and I was very glad to get back to the safety of my kayak!
This is a unique paddle opportunity - have fun!
For more information from Kent Fothergill See the link below
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