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Many of the ships in Mallows Bay follow the “Ferris” style, which gets its name from Theodore E. Ferris, a senior architect for the United States Shipping Board (USSB). The idea was to make these emergency ships with similar designs that could be built at yards all across the United States. Each “Ferris” ship measured about the same, 282 feet long, and 3,500 tons.

Mallows Bay Shipwrecks

Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary protects and interprets the remains of more than 100 World War I-era wooden steamships, known as the Ghost Fleet.

This virtual shipwreck tour highlights many of the sanctuary’s famous ships, as if you were paddling right next to them. Along the way, hotspots highlight ship histories, share historical images, and even show virtual ship models. These models offer a view of the wrecks as they are today or how they looked in the past.

The ships were built for the U.S. Emergency Fleet between 1917 and 1919, as part of America’s engagement in World War I. Their construction at more than 40 shipyards in 17 states was a massive effort. This effort drove the expansion and economic development of communities. It also grew the maritime industry. After the war ended, over a hundred of these ships found their way to Mallows Bay. Today, they serve a new role as islands of life.


Current Conditions Printed Version Getting There

Mallows Bay EMERGENCY & SAFETY INFORMATION

Due to the location of the park, during an emergency please call the Charles County Sheriff’s Department, they will connect caller with the county 911 services.
The number is 301-932-2222
*Please install this number on your device.

PADDLING SAFETY TIPS

  • ALWAYS WEAR YOUR LIFE JACKET.
  • PADDLE WITH OTHERS IF POSSIBLE.
  • COLD WATER TEMPERATURES ARE HAZARDOUS TO PADDLERS. Paddling is recommended between May and September.
  • WHEN PADDLING IN WIND, STAY CLOSE TO SHORE.
  • RESPECT WILDLIFE. Animals and birds should be viewed from a distance.
  • BEWARE OF HIDDEN WRECKS. It is dangerous to travel through the central shipwreck cluster, especially during high tide when ship remains lie just below the waterline and are invisible to the paddler.

Explore the SHIPWRECKS


Interactive Map

Welcome to Terrain 360 virtual tour of Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary! Once you're in the virtual trail: Click or tap on the screen to move along the trail, highlighted by the text along the bottom of your screen. Click or tap on the orange hotspots to learn more information about the highlighted area. Use the mini-map in the upper left-hand corner of your screen to move or skip ahead. And most importantly, have fun!

Mallows Bay Current Conditions

April 25, 2024 04:06 AM


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