The Baltimore Marine Center can host boats up to 200 feet. But they're nice to us little guys too.

by Ann Levelle

The evening weather forecast was ominous, and there was no way my friend Annie and I were going to weather a storm on the hook. So we headed up the Patapsco, as I called Baltimore Marine Center in Canton to ask about dockage. The girl on the phone said they'd have a slip ready right away. "Just look for the Statue of Liberty and tall green pilings with white tips, and hail us when you get here."

Did she say Statue of Liberty? I relayed this to Annie, who was turning north and steering us past Fort McHenry at the time. "I don't see a Statue of Liberty," she said, "But I can see the pilings from here." Right she was. You can see Baltimore Marine Center coming nearly half a mile away.

As we pulled into the marina, a dockhand was waiting for us at the far end of J dock's very long runway. And despite my nervousness, I backed into the slip rather gracefully, if I do say so myself. After getting situated in our very spacious slip, we hopped onto the wide concrete floating docks and started our trek toward the large lighthouse on shore next to the marina office. And trek it was--it was about a five-minute walk from our slip to the office. This place is humongous--there are about 450 slips ranging from 35 to 80 feet, plus plenty of extra space on the fuel and face docks. On land, in the center of its two sets of docks, are the office, tiki bar, the pool and bathhouse, a gym and Bo Brooks Crabhouse.

As we walked, we passed every kind of boat imaginable, then we made our way up the gangplank and through the heavy metal gate into the parking lot, around the tiki bar and into the blissfully cool office building. We reveled in the AC while we paid our tab and were given our key cards for access to the docks, pool, laundry and bathhouse, as well as a folder of information on just about any service, shop or restaurant we could possibly need in Canton and neighboring Fells Point. We were also told that if we needed the water taxi, it stopped at the Korean War Memorial, just on the other side of the Bay Cafe next door. 

But the water taxi ride would have to wait. We were gunning for some pool time--it was over 100 degrees outside and as humid as a Chesapeake summer day can get. During a relaxing swim, we watched a helicopter land nearby at Baltimore Marine Center's working yard, about a half-mile away.

After a quiet afternoon at the pool, we showered and then headed to Bo Brooks for dinner with a good friend who is a liveaboard here. As we sipped our beer, we saw the clouds roll in, and then watched the storm as we enjoyed our delicious crab dinner.

The next morning, refreshed and happy that we hadn't been on the hook for the heavy storms that pummeled the area, we were excited to get under way again. I called the office when they opened at nine and had a bag of ice delivered via a dockhand in a golf cart and we were ready to roll. After we got into the river I turned to look back and finally noticed the three-foot-high bronze Statue of Liberty standing proudly atop a corner piling, waving good-bye.

Baltimore Marine Center
Fuel: Gas, diesel, jet
Power: 30, 50, 100 amp
Pump-out: $5
Dockage: $2/ft, $2.50/ft weekend

[09.08 issue]