Watermen Heritage Tours

The Chesapeake Conservancy, in partnership with the Coastal Heritage Alliance, the Maryland Watermen’s Association and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, has trained more than 120 watermen to provide working tours of the Chesapeake Bay through the Watermen Heritage Tourism Training Program.

The training provides Chesapeake Bay watermen with the resources and information they need to serve as tour guides. Watermen Heritage Tours connect people with the natural and cultural resources of the Bay by providing visitors with an authentic experience shadowing a waterman on a workboat or on the shore. The watermen share their own stories about the area and waters in which they work, and tour guests leave with a greater knowledge and appreciation of the Chesapeake Bay, according to a news release from the Chesapeake Conservancy.

“Watermen and their families have played a crucial role in our treasured Chesapeake Bay. Their unique identities have influenced the history, culture, and economy of the Bay for generations. What better way to experience the waters than accompanying a waterman for a day to learn his daily routine?” Project Manager Carly Dean, Chesapeake Conservancy, said in the release.

“The tours also offer a great opportunity to learn more about the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail,” she said, “the nation’s first all-water National Historic trail, as well as the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail.”

Tours range from crabbing adventures with trotlines and crab pots, to scenic kayak tours, to photography trips, sunset sails and traditional skipjack charters. Some offer water-to-table seafood tastings.

Land-based tours offer participants the opportunity to learn about other aspects of the waterman trade, including the ins-and-outs of the soft-shell crab industry and oyster seeding, as well as the opportunity to explore new places.

Many of these tours allow the participants freedom to customize the tours to highlight aspects of the Bay and watermen’s lives that are of most interest to them and to accommodate various ages of participants.

Tours are available throughout different regions of the Chesapeake Bay. For more information about each tour and interactive maps, visit www.Watermen


As a group, watermen have experienced times of lost income because of the decline in shellfish and finfish populations. Their participation in heritage and geo-tourism can help to supplement some of this lost income.

In May 2009, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce officially declared the Chesapeake Bay commercial blue crab fishery a failure, and an economic disaster. The original funding for the Watermen Heritage Tourism Training Program comes from the federal Blue Crab Fishery Disaster Fund created by Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., and distributed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Conservancy has received additional funding from the George B. Todd Fund through the Mid-Shore Community Foundation and through state funds from the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission.

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Whether you want to have fun on a special event cruise or simply relax on the water, Chesapeake Bay cruises have something for everyone. Enjoy the bounty of the bay on a fishing trip with your family and friends. If family fun is what you seek, consider an exciting pirate cruise. You can also give your family a truly educational experience aboard a nearly exact replica of a British schooner.

Experienced sailors can book a bareboat charter, while those who wish someone else to do all the work can sail in comfort with a captain and crew.  There are many options to choose from, all of which result in a great time on the water.

Spending a day, an evening, or even a week, on the Chesapeake Bay is a unique experience. There are historical areas to visit, spectacular scenery to enjoy, and local cuisine to be savored. There is nowhere quite like the Bay!

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Chesapeake Bay Sport Fishing

Chesapeake Bay Sport Fishing has a fleet of three boats, including two 52′ fishing boats “Net Profits” and “Jessie Girl” which are equipped with “the latest Chesapeake Bay fishing electronics, fishing reels, fishing rods and fishing tackle.” They fish seven days a week on the Chesapeake Bay from the Annapolis area from April -to December, and do Virginia Beach fishing out of Rudee Inlet from December to March.  Custom pickup and drop off points can be arranged anywhere on the Chesapeake Bay or its tributaries.

(410) 703-2760

Queen Anne Marina (April – December)
Kent Island
412 Congressional Drive
Stevensville, MD 21666

Inlet Station Marina (December – March)
Rudee Inlet
227 Mediterranean Ave
Virginia Beach, VA 23451

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