Mallows Bay is a small bay on the Maryland side of the Potomac River in Charles County, Maryland, United States. 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."
Mallows Bay-Widewater Historic and Archeological District
A shipwreck at Mallows Bay, February 2011
|Location||Off Sandy Point|
Charles County, Maryland
|NRHP reference No.||15000173|
|Added to NRHP||April 24, 2015|
The "Ghost Fleet" of Mallows Bay is a reference to the hundreds of ships whose remains still rest in its relatively shallow waters. It is the largest collection of wrecks in the Western hemisphere, 230 United States Shipping Board Merchant Fleet Corporation ships sunk in the river. More than 100 of the vessels are wooden steamships, part of a fleet built to cross the Atlantic during World War I. However, because they were built of wood due to an lack of available steel, most of these ships were obsolete upon completion after the end of the war.
The U.S. Navy did not want the ships, which were stored in the James River – at the cost of $50,000 a month – so they were sold to the Western Marine & Salvage Company. The company moved the ships to the Potomac River at Widewater, Virginia and in 1925, they were towed to Mallows Bay. Western Marine went bankrupt and the ships were burned and remained where they lay. During World War II, Bethlehem Steel built a salvage basin to recover metal from the abandoned ships.
Access to the ships is through Mallows Bay Park, operated by the county, located at 1440 Wilson Landing Road in Nanjemoy, Maryland. A 0.8-mile trail loops around the park and the salvage basin. In 2010, a boat ramp and pier for recreational use was constructed to provide access to the Potomac River. It is popular to canoe or kayak among the ship ruins; the ships form a reef that hosts an array of wildlife.
The most distinct ship seen at Mallows Bay is the S.S. Accomac.
Aerial photograph 1936. Mallows Bay on Potomac River below Quantico and between Sandy Point and Liverpool Point. (Full image)
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Mallows Bay
- Shomette, Donald G. (Winter 2001). "The Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay". The Maryland Natural Resource. Archived from the original on April 20, 2011. Retrieved December 19, 2010.
- Shomette, Donald G. (Winter 1999). "The Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay". Invention & Technology Magazine. 14 (3). Archived from the original on December 3, 2008. Retrieved December 19, 2010.
- United States Coast Pilot. 3 (43rd ed.). Washington, D.C.: National Ocean Service. 2010. p. 313. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
- Katz, Brigit. "New National Marine Sanctuary Will Protect Maryland's 'Ghost Fleet'". www.smithsonianmag.com. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
- Lutz, Lara (10 September 2014). "Ghost fleet may go from wrecks to recreation". Bay Journal. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
- Interesting, Sometimes (18 April 2013). "The Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay". Retrieved 23 March 2017.
- Peck, Garrett (2012). The Potomac River: A History and Guide. Charleston, SC: The History Press. p. 145. ISBN 978-1609496005.
- "New Boat Ramp in Mallows Bay". Southern Maryland Living. May 12, 2010. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
- "Mallows Bay" (PDF). Maryland Department of Natural Resources. July 19, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 19, 2011. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
- "This is the S.S. Accomac which began its career as - EyeEm". Retrieved 23 March 2017.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mallows Bay.|
- Mallows Bay Park, 1440 Wilson Landing Road, Nanjemoy, MD 20662
- Mallows Bay-Widewater Historic and Archeological District, at Maryland Historical Trust
- Mallows Bay - Potomac River: A Proposed National Marine Sanctuary. NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
- NOAA. National System of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)
- Ghost Fleet Fast Facts. Oct 31, 2017. National Marine Sanctuary Foundation
- Friends of Mallows Potomac National Marine Sanctuary in Nanjemoy, Maryland
- Friends of Mallows Potomac National Marine Sanctuary Facebook page
- Mallows Bay - Potomac River: A Proposed National Marine Sanctuary. Chesapeake Conservancy
- The Nature Conservancy - Passport to Nature: Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay
- The National Trust for Historic Preservation. National Treasures. Ghost Fleet of the Potomac. Location: Charles County, Maryland
- 'The Ghosts of These Historic Ships Float On'. Named a National Treasure. The National Trust for Historic Preservation. Preservation Magazine, Winter 2018
- NOAA Nautical Chart 12288 - Potomac River
- "Mallows Bay". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
- Aerial imagery of Mallows Bay from The National Map
- Mallows Bay Ghost Fleet along the Potomac River - from fossilguy
- 'Secrets of the Chesapeake'. Maryland Public TV (MPT) Specials. PBS. 56:50
- PBS 'Secrets of the Chesapeake': Mallows Bay WWI shipwrecks. Broadcast April 18, 2012. Includes Photos Mallows Bay 1 & 2.
- Hansler, Jennifer (October 26, 2016). "What We Know About the Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay" (Video). ABC News. Retrieved October 27, 2016.