Boating on the Chesapeake Bay
Whether you live in the Chesapeake Bay area or are visiting, one of the best ways to experience the region is to get out on the water.
Cruising boaters can select from many Chesapeake Bay boating destinations. From Annapolis to Urbanna, there is plenty to see and do.
Cruising guides help boaters find their way to Chesapeake Bay destinations, and provide useful information on navigation, marinas, and amenities that can be found in favorite ports-of-call. Both Chesapeake Bay Magazine and Dozier’s Waterway Guides publish cruising guides that are updated annually.
The Chesapeake Bay region has LOTS of marinas at which you can keep your boat, whether you need long a long term place to dock or you are cruising and need a place to stay for a night or two.
BayDreaming.com’s Chesapeake Bay Weather and Tides page offers weather forecasts and information on current condition. Current conditions information includes wind strength and direction, valuable information for sailors.
Weather and Tides
Paddling around the Chesapeake Bay
The shallow, protected waters of the Chesapeake Bay and it’s tributaries are excellent for canoeing and kayaking. These quite, shallow draft craft allow you to get up close to nature and explore areas inaccessible to larger boats. Paddling in these small boats has become an increasingly popular activity in the Chesapeake Bay region.
Chesapeake Bay Paddling
Charter fishing boats operate throughout the Chesapeake Bay region. If you want to be assured of a good day of Chesapeake Bay fishing, taking a charter is a great option. Charter captains know where the fish are and how to catch them. BayDreaming.com’s Chesapeake Bay Charter Fishing Boat Directory will point you to the websites for fishing charters in the Chesapeake Bay area.
Boating Courses and Schools
If you would like to learn how to operate a boat or want to increase your boat handling skills, there area plenty of good boating schools located in the Chesapeake Bay region. Courses are available to teach you basic boating skills, sailing, and navigation.
How to Read a Nautical Chart
How to Read a Nautical Chart, 2nd Edition: A Complete Guide to the Symbols, Abbreviations, and Data Displayed on Nautical Charts
. By Nigel Calder. In 2000, the U.S. government ceased publication of Chart No. 1 , the invaluable little book that generations of mariners have consulted to make sense of the complex system of signs, symbols, and graphic elements used in nautical charts. Now Chart No. 1 is not just reborn but expanded and improved in How to Read a Nautical Chart. Arranged and edited by Nigel Calder, one of today’s most respected boating authors, and containing four-color illustrations throughout, How to Read a Nautical Chart presents a number of original features that help readers make optimum use of the data found in Chart No. 1 , including a more intuitive format, crucial background information, international chart symbol equivalents, electronic chart symbology, and thorough explanations of the practical aspects of nautical chart reading. Click here for more information
. Buy from Amazon.com
It’s easy to get disoriented in either the wide open waters in the middle of the Bay or its many wandering tributaries. We provide some helpful information on chart books, waypoints, and aids to navigation.
Chesapeake Bay Chartbooks
Although these two books from the Williams & Heintz Map Corporation call themselves cruising guides, “chart books” would be a better description. There’s one book each to cover the Maryland the Virginia portions of the Chesapeake Bay. Each contains navigation charts created from the most up-to-date NOAA information. New books are published every two years. They’re nice large format books printed on wet strength paper that is nearly as strong wet as it is dry. The books come in a heavy vinyl sleeve with a velcro closure to protect them from spray when not in use.
The maps contain information on bouys, water depth, tidal currents, marina and ramp locations, and channels. Each book contains an index to marinas, with locations, phone numbers, and ameninties. The books also include tide charts, a planning chart, towboats list, and a distance table.
Clubs and Organizations
Many boaters find that joining a group of fellow boaters adds to their experiences on the water. Boating and yacht clubs organize outings, regattas, races, boating education courses, and social events.
Racing on the Chesapeake
The Chesapeake Bay offers a wealth of sailing and motorboat racing opportunities. Many yacht clubs sponsor weekly racing series. The Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association
is an organization of over 75 member clubs that helps organize and manage races in more than 50 different classes of boats.
Racing on the Bay
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has published an online guide to boat ramps in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay
. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has an online public access guide
that includes boat ramps in the Chesapeake Bay region. You’ll find more information on our Boating Access page.
Chesapeake Bay Boats
Boat types unique to the Chesapeake Bay have developed over the years. Some of these boats are still in use today, others have mostly disappeared with changes in technology and use. Visit our Chesapeake Bay Boats page for photos and information on the Chesapeake’s own boat designs.
Chesapeake Bay Boats