News Release, Office of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan

Sanctuary Status Will Preserve Mallows Bay’s Historic “Ghost Fleet”

ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today attended a celebration of Mallows Bay’s official designation as a national marine sanctuary by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which ensures the preservation of the remains of more than 100 World War I-era vessels.

“The Mallows Bay landscape truly tells the story of our beginnings, our struggles, and our progress as Marylanders and Americans,” said Governor Hogan. “Through this designation, we are ensuring that this national treasure will attract families, anglers, kayakers, and history buffs for years to come.”

Located along an 18-square mile stretch of Potomac River coast, Mallows Bay is most famous for its “Ghost Fleet” of steamships that were built in response to the threat of German U-boats as America mobilized for the First World War. 

The marine area is home to the remains of vessels dating as far back as the American Revolution. Native American, colonial, and Civil War sites of significant historical and archeological value are also located nearby. This scenic destination provides diverse recreational opportunities, making it a key driver of tourism and economic development for Charles County. 

In recognition of the immense significance of Mallows Bay to the Piscataway Conoy Tribe, Governor Hogan joined tribal representatives for a ceremonial cedar tree blessing.

NOAA, the State of Maryland, and Charles County will manage the sanctuary jointly. The Chesapeake Conservancy and the Chesapeake Bay Commission also served as partners to secure this crucial recognition.  

The first national marine sanctuary designated since 2000, Mallows Bay joins 13 other marine sanctuaries and two marine monuments overseen by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. This network of “underwater parks” encompasses more than 600,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...