Issue: April 2005
Fun, Games and a Blessing

The Fourth Annual Maryland Maritime Heritage Festival launches the new boating season with a boat-docking contest and Blessing of the Fleet in Annapolis.


     The roar of workboat engines will be a new sound at this year’s Maryland Maritime Heritage Festival, scheduled for April 30 and May 1 at the Annapolis City Dock. The workboat fleet will gather on Sunday afternoon to compete in a docking contest that tests the skills of captains and crews as they back into a slip and make their boat fast-maybe even in record time. But that’s just one part of weekend festivities that include music, boat tours and a special Blessing of the Fleet. Centered at City Dock and overlooking the mouth of Spa Creek and the broad Severn River, the festival teems with family-friendly demonstrations, displays and hands-on activities.

     Historic vessels and new state-of-the-art charter yachts will line the docks this year, welcoming visitors for dockside tours. Sea chanteys by the Pyrates Royale and Ship’s Company, and Bay songs by Them Eastport Oyster Boys will fill the air. A parade of sail and powerboats sponsored by the Eastport Yacht Club will thread its way through the harbor-and receive a special blessing for the coming season from the Reverend Richardson A. Libby. In short, the festival will celebrate all things nautical.

     And there’s lots to celebrate.

     Maryland’s marine industry creates employment for more than 26,000 people (every eight boats registered in the state supports one full-time job). Registered boaters spend $2.1 billion annually maintaining and using their boats. The marine industry contributes more than $546 million in state and local taxes.

     Festival hours are 11a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Free admission. For the schedule of events go to To participate in the Blessing of the Fleet, e-mail