The Blue Angels Show in Annapolis: May 23 and 24
In case you hadn’t heard, there’s a big event in Annapolis the week before Memorial Day weekend, May 19 through May 26: U.S. Naval Academy Commissioning Week. If you’re a boater, whether or not you know a Midshipman graduating, you and a few thousand of your closest friends want to watch the Blue Angels fly, as they will Tuesday, May 23 from 11 to 1 p.m. (practice show) and Wednesday, May 24 at 2 p.m. (the real show).
Especially on a sunny day, this special air show draws so many boats to town that you feel as if you could walk across the harbor on their decks. Some tips for safe anchoring in a crowd: “There’s a restricted zone around the Naval Academy seawall,” says Chuck Newman at the Annapolis Harbormaster’s office. “The Coast Guard, DNR police, and Harbormaster’s vessels will be there to make sure you stay clear of it.” If other boats are not anchored in a spot, there may be a reason for it. Pay attention.
PropTalk contributor and tour boat captain, Rick Franke, recommends, “When anchoring, remember to let out enough line (scope) to ensure your anchor will hold. Dragging anchor through the spectator fleet will definitely make you unpopular! Also try not to anchor too close to other boats.” Some suggest a three-boat-length distance from other boats.
Kids and poor swimmers should wear lifejackets at all times. VHF channels 13 and 17 broadcast general safety messages including weather forecasts. In the event of an emergency, boaters can communicate with authorities on radio VHF 16.
Note that the maximum speed in an event area is six knots. Franke says, “Give commercial vessels, such as water taxis and tour boats, room to maneuver. They are often larger and can be unwieldy in close quarters. Use common sense and courtesy. Remember that you have a responsibility to avoid a collision, regardless of who has the right of way.”
For more about USNA Commissioning Week, visit usna.edu/commissioningweek
For more information about road and bridge closures, water restrictions, and Blue Angels show times, click to blue-angels.info
South River Fun
The South River, which is guarded by Thomas Point Light and well-traveled by boaters, offers many reasons to spend an afternoon or a weekend. Two popular destinations, Mike’s Crab House and the former Coconut Joes, now the Pier Oyster Bay, beckon those who seek good food and a fun atmosphere.
A friend of PropTalk recently gave us two thumbs up on the Pier Oyster Bar for good vibes and a playground for the kids (including a pirate ship) to keep them busy while you sip a Big Kahuna, the signature cocktail, on the deck. He didn’t even mention the availability of deep-water slips! (The website is still coconutjoesusa.com
If you have so much fun at the Pier that you don’t want to go home, you can sneak around the corner to Warehouse creek, which is protected and tree-lined.
Harness Creek, on the other side of the river closer to Quiet Waters Park, is protected enough to be known as a hurricane hole for area boaters. On any given summer weekend, you’ll find a mixed assortment of boaters of all ages with floating toys, kayakers, paddleboarders, canoe paddlers, jetskiers, swimmers, sometimes bikini-clad dancers on deck, and more. It may be a better creek on a Saturday for those who like to make new friends than those who prefer silence.
Other South River creeks to explore: Aberdeen Creek (deep, less protected, but good anchor holding), Glebe Creek (tucked away, fairly protected), Church Creek (protected, tree lined, good paddling), and Beards Creek (near Mike’s Crab House, protected, great paddling).