Ghost Fleet Fast Facts

By Leah Izzett, guest author

  1. Mallows Bay includes historic vessels dating back to the Revolutionary War and remains of the largest ‘Ghost Fleet’ of the World War I steamships.
  2. There are 185 archeologically-documented shipwrecks.
  3. The ships extend 14 square miles making it the largest ship graveyard in the Western Hemisphere.
  4. The “ghost fleet” was part of a shipbuilding program ordered by President Woodrow Wilson to assist United States’ European allies during World War I.
  5. The ships were never used and were eventually sold, scrapped for re-usable materials, burned, and sunk.
  6. In the 1960s, there was an effort to clean up Mallows Bay and research was conducted to measure the environmental effects of the ships.
  7. Over time, nature has slowly reclaimed the vessels, creating a new wetland ecosystem that supports vegetation and species of birds, fish, turtles and otters.
  8. Mallows Bay is currently under the process to be designated as a National Marine Sanctuary.
  9. If designated, it would be the first marine sanctuary for the state of Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
  10. Mallows Bay Park in Charles County, Maryland, provides the closest access to the ghost fleet with spring and fall being the prime seasons to visit.

Will you be exploring the Ghost Fleet this Malloween?