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Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

5 things to know about Maryland Fleet Week and Flyover Baltimore

By meerna Jun12,2024

With the Port of Baltimore’s federal canal fully reopened, the city is ready to welcome ships June 12-18 during Maryland Fleet Week and Flyover Baltimore.

The biannual event returns for its fourth year to honor the memory of Navy and other service members. Nearly 100,000 people attend the festival, generating millions for the city, said Fleet Week director Chris Rowsom.

From boat trips to cooking crab soup, live music and flights on various planes – there is no shortage of attractions that will give participants a glimpse of life at sea. But you should remember a few rules during your visit.

Here are five things to know about Maryland Fleet Week and Flyover Baltimore.

Fleet Week has a long history

According to the New York Council Navy League, the tradition of Fleet Week dates back to 1898 in New York, when U.S. Navy ships made a ceremonial visit to the city after the Spanish-American War. The official Fleet Weeks took place many years later.

Fleet Week aims to give seafarers the opportunity to step aboard their ships and engage with the community while visiting the city where they dock. For civilians, Fleet Week is a celebration of service and a chance to learn about what’s happening at sea.

Other cities began hosting their own Fleet Weeks, with Baltimore hosting the inaugural event in 2016. According to a 2016 report, Maryland Fleet Week “celebrates the rich maritime tradition of the Chesapeake Bay and honors the contributions of the proud men and women of Maryland who defend the nation.”

Sailors will attend community relations events this year to work on community service projects, Rowsom said, and about 200 of them will also attend Thursday’s Orioles game.

There is an app available for planning boat trips

Ships from the Navy, Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers, as well as traditional sailing ships and work vessels, will begin arriving on Wednesday. The vessels will dock at North Locust Point Marine Terminal Pier 4, Fells Point Broadway Pier and Inner Harbor West Wall and Piers 1-5.

“Army Corps boats are basically working in Baltimore Harbor all the time,” Rowsom said. “They were actually very busy at Key Bridge.”

Free boat tours will be offered to the public Wednesday through Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors can download the Maryland Fleet Week app to view detailed schedules for individual ships. To avoid long wait times, Visit Maryland recommends visiting ships early on Thursday, Friday and Monday.

Notable vessels include USS Marinette, USS Gonzalez and USS Fort Lauderdale, which is the flagship of the Navy’s ships unveiled this year, Rowsom said. There is a purple Charm City Circulator tour that allows visitors to see the USS Gonzalez and USS Fort Lauderdale at North Locust Point.

The flyovers will take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and as they walk along the boardwalk, visitors will be able to listen to updates from the flyover inspection announcer, Rowsom said.

There are classes for everyone

A welcome ceremony at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater on Wednesday from 4-5 p.m. will officially kick off the five-day celebration. Once launched, a packed program of events is planned, including the Fells Point 5K on Thursday, the Kids on the Bay Parade on Saturday and a family fun day on Monday. The festivals will take place from Thursday to Sunday.

Festivals will be held at Fells Point Town Square and Broadway Pier, West Shore Park in the Inner Harbor and Martin State Airport in Baltimore County. There will be many vendors, exhibitors, live music and military displays.

Visitors can also take part in other festival events, such as a competition for the best crab cake in Fell’s Point, training with a sailor and a crab soup cook-off. A new educational tent at the Inner Harbor Festival will encourage children to explore careers in STEM fields.

Naval tourist ships come with certain rules

Rawsom said when touring a Navy ship, visitors should expect it to be similar to airport security. People will have their bags searched and must wear appropriate closed-toe shoes. Crocs and high heels are prohibited. Without proper footwear, visitors may be turned away, Rawsom said. External fluids are also prohibited from passing through the ship’s checkpoint.

The ship’s crew will advise you where you can take photos as you can only take photos in certain areas.

Fleet Week tourism provides an economic boost

Fleet Week is a “significant story for tourism” because it attracts 92% of out-of-town visitors, Visit Baltimore president and CEO Al Hutchinson said in a statement.

In 2022, Hutchinson said, Fleet Week would generate $7.8 billion for the local economy. Restaurants and bars saw $4 million in revenue, while attractions and hotels brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“The success of Fleet Week in 2022 was a testament to the vitality of our maritime community, and this year we have even more reason to come together and recognize the role the Port of Baltimore plays in our nation’s economy, while honoring the lives lost and the brave people working to repair our harbor following the devastating collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge,” Hutchinson said.

By meerna

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