With the completion of the public period comment in 2017, advocates anticipate that Maryland’s Mallows Bay, the location of a WWI-era ghost fleet of ships, may be announced as a National Marine Sanctuary within the next two years.


On October 26, 2017, the National Trust for Historic Preservation held a reception for the announcement of the inclusion of Mallow’s Bay into their National Treasures portfolio. Their recognition is a testament to the long-term efforts of Maryland archaeologists and advocates to establish the unique site as a National Marine Sanctuary. One of the last stages of the Sanctuary designation process was a period of public comment after which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will consider the application by the State of Maryland originally submitted in 2014.

You can still catch an exhibit about Mallows Bay at The President Woodrow Wilson House in Washington, DC, through February 2018. More about the exhibit: “In the middle of the Potomac in Mallows Bay, lies the largest shipwreck fleet in the Western Hemisphere, a haunting legacy of WWI.  In April 1917, President Woodrow Wilson approved the greatest shipbuilding program in history: an order for 1,000 ships to make up the shortage of transport vessels needed for the war effort. The war ended before any ships were put into service and hundreds were simply scrapped in the Bay. This exhibit will explore the history of this “Ghost Fleet,” tell the stories behind a scandalous wartime boondoggle and highlight the rich archaeological and ecological treasure it has become today.


Maryland’s maritime heritage is so rich that the Old Line State has an official Underwater Archaeologist, Dr. Susan Langley. Preservation Maryland had Dr. Langley on our podcast, PreserveCast, and you can listen anytime to the interview at the link below.

Listen to the podcast

Additional Resources about Mallows Bay