Aerial photograph 1936. Mallows Bay on Potomac River below Quantico and between Sandy Point and Liverpool Point. Kayaking between the shipwrecks, June 2015 Valuable maritime heritage Almost submerged shipwrecks, February 2017 Mallows Bay is a small bay on the Maryland side of the Potomac River in Charles County, Maryland. 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." Charles County operates Mallows Bay Park (1440 Wilson Landing Road in Nanjemoy, Maryland). This small park contains the graves of more than 230 United States Shipping Board Merchant Fleet Corporation ships sunk in the river. Almost ninety were poorly constructed steamships built during World War I; in 1925 they were burned and scuttled in the bay. Bethlehem Steel then built a salvage basin during World War II to recover metal from the abandoned ships. The ships form a reef that hosts an array of wildlife. A 0.8-mile trail loops around Mallows Bay Park and the salvage basin. In 2010, a boat ramp and pier for recreational use was constructed to provide access to the Potomac River at Mallows Bay. It is popular to canoe or kayak among the ship ruins. Mallows Bay has passed the nomination process to become a National Marine Sanctuary and will be entering the next phase of designation involving a highly participatory and transparent public review process.
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