With support from the state of Maryland, NOAA has declared its intent to designate Mallows Bay as a National Marine Sanctuary. The bay is located on the Maryland side of the Potomac River in Charles County. The bay is the site of what is regarded as the largest shipwreck fleet in the Western Hemisphere and contains the remnants of more than 230 U.S. Shipping Board ships sunk in the river. Almost 90 were poorly constructed steamships built in haste during World War I. In 1925, the boats were burned and scuttled in Mallows Bay. Over the years, the ships have formed a unique ecosystem that hosts a large variety of aquatic species and birds.

The bay was listed as an archaeological and historic district on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015. Currently, Mallows Bay has passed the nomination process to become a National Marine Sanctuary and is in the public review process. Feedback will be used to help create a draft plan for the site.

The national sanctuary system was established in 1972 and comprises of 14 sites totaling more than 170,000 square miles. They serve as natural classrooms and laboratories for school children and for researchers to promote stewardship of marine resources. sanctuaries.noaa.gov/mallows-bay

Visit Fred and crack a crab.

Every year I make the trip to the Baltimore Convention Center for the annual boat show for good reason; it’s a lot of fun, and the food and drinks are delicious. This year will be no exception. I always see people that I know who love to boat on the bay such as Jim High at the Baltimore Boating Center display.

This year’s show January 28-31 will feature hundreds of boats for virtually every lifestyle and budget. There’s plenty of gear to look over too, and lots of seminars are included with the price of admission. I’m a big fan of Fred’s Shed, a DIY garage with experts teaching the art of boat maintenance and repair. There’s also a crab picking contest, crafts for kids, remote control docking, and plenty of interesting and fun stuff to do. baltimoreboatshow.com

Southern hospitality

Lower your taxes by docking your boat at a new place this year. Ken and Karen Knull at Yankee Point Marina in Lancaster County, Virginia, already have 14 more slip holders than they did last June when the county eliminated the personal property boat tax for boats of 5 tons or more.

Lancaster County is following the lead of other Virginia counties by using a loophole in the state code. According to the Virginia tax code, you can’t eliminate the tax, but you can make the rate so low that it fails to show in the computerized accounting system. Lancaster County’s tax is $0.000000000000001 per $100 of assessed value for boats weighing 5 tons or more. That’s one kind of Southern hospitality boaters appreciate.


By Christopher Knauss, Southern Boating Magazine January 2016

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