Boating is a great way to unwind and relieve all the stress from an entire week of hard work, and you absolutely deserve to have one. It would be hard to resist mentioning the famous Chesapeake Bay when it comes to boating. Whether you live near the ‘great shellfish bay’ or are a tourist in the area, it’s one of the best places you should explore with a boat.
The Chesapeake Bay is known for being the largest estuary in the United States and the third-largest in the entire world. It stretches 200 miles from Havre de Grace, Maryland to Virginia Beach, Virginia, consisting of parts from six different states, namely Maryland, New York, Delaware, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
With a vast space and a shoreline with a total length of roughly 11,000 miles, the boating possibilities in the largest estuary in America are endless. That’s why many people consider Chesapeake Bay as their go-to boating spot.
But before you ride your boat and head to the bay, here are some essential things that you need to know before your unforgettable boating experience in Chesapeake Bay:
1. Do You Need A Boating License In The Chesapeake Bay?
Before anything else, you need to learn that a boating license is required, particularly in the states of Maryland and Virginia. Without it, you will not be allowed to maneuver and operate a boat, let alone use your own.
In Maryland, there’s a law that requires everyone that was born on July 1, 1972, or after to have a boating license, specifically a Certificate of Boating Safety Education. This will be your pass to operate a vessel within the waters of Maryland.
You can take your Maryland boating license online or take a class at your local boating schools. After successfully completing the boating education, you will be given a boater’s ID that will serve as your license at the same time. Also, it’s important always to carry this on board because it will be checked by inspection officers.
On the other hand, Virginia requires all operators of mechanically propelled boats with 10 horsepower and above to take a boating education training program. Everyone, ages 14 years old and above, are required to undergo this course and show proof to inspection officers on your arrival to gain access.
2. What Types Of Boat Can You Use?
When you’re planning to take a boat trip, you’ll be surprised that there are a lot of types of powerboats you can choose from. However, not all of them can fit the mold. The boat you need to use will depend on the kind of boating you would like to do.
That being said, here are the types of powerboats you might want to use and their brief description:
- Bass Boat: This type of boat is usually used for freshwater fishing, and has a typical length of 15 to 23 feet.
- Convertible Fishing Boat: This vessel is perfect for offshore or saltwater fishing and boat cruising.
- Deck Boat: This type of boat has a special deck that can accommodate many people. Also, its V-shaped hull gives you better control and performance than other types of boat.
- Bay Boat: This boat is generally used for shallow areas, places near the shoreline, or estuaries. Usually, this boat has a length of 19 to 23 feet.
- Cruiser: This type of boat is designed for short overnight stays in the water. Also, it has a small cabin where you can sleep and relax.
- House Boat: The design of this boat is a bit similar to a house. It has a kitchen, bathroom, living area, and bedroom.
- High Performance Boat: This boat is built for power and speed. It has a powerful engine and has a small cabin that can accommodate a maximum of six people.
Furthermore, you may choose the type of boat you want to use from this list, depending on how you plan on enjoying your boating trip in Chesapeake Bay.
3. What Is A Paddle Craft?
Paddle crafts are small non-engine boats you can use if you’re an adventurous type of person. These are kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and other crafts. Unlike big vessels, these small and manual-operated boats allow you to explore the creeks of the bay, get exercised and hyped while on it. In addition, you can rent these from some rental shops in the bay, and it’s a great idea if you can join a group of kayaking anglers to learn more things about it.
4. Is It Possible To Race With Others In The Bay?
The Chesapeake Bay is famous for its racing events. It hosts several large-scale racing competitions every year, including the famous Hampton Cup Regatta and Cambridge Classic. Also, it hosts smaller racing events organized by the Cocktail Class Wooden Boat Racing Association and Smith Island Crab Skiff Association.
5. What Are The Best Destinations To Experience?
Chesapeake Bay is home to many wonderful boating spots you’ll surely enjoy. Here are some destinations you might want to explore:
- Rhode River: Located in Maryland, this spot is famous for many Middle Bay boaters, especially for raft-ups. It’s also a popular destination for clubbing and swimming.
- Michaels: This famous cruising destination is also located in Maryland. In addition, this is the best place to access and enjoy the best of the bay, especially when it comes to its picture-perfect landscapes.
- Galesville: This is a small town located in the west part of the bay. It’s popular for leisure boating and home for many associations, including the Hartge Yacht Harbor Club.
- Rockhold Creek: This place is the perfect location where you can test drive your new boats and vessels. Furthermore, it’s the best place to enjoy and relax with the golden sunset of Chesapeake Bay.
- Annapolis: Also known as the best sailing destination in the United States, it offers a lot of many dockings that provide you with easy access to the bay.
These are just some of the best destinations Chesapeake Bay has to offer. You can have a tour around the area to discover some pf the best spots you might love.
If you’re stressed and in need of a relaxing vacation down the waters, you might want to try and explore the Chesapeake Bay through boating. But before anything else, make sure that you have a valid boating license, which will be inspected on board. If you don’t have this yet, you will not be allowed to operate a boat.
Once everything is settled, it’s time to choose the boat you’ll need, depending on your needs and goals, such as leisure fishing, powerboating, etc. You can also use paddle crafts like kayaks and canoes for a more adventurous boating experience.
Lastly, don’t forget to choose the best destinations around the bay to enjoy the golden sunset at Rockhold Creek or leisurely sailing at Galesville.