Mallows Bay-Potomac River
National Marine Sanctuary

Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary protects and interprets the remnants of more than 100 World War I-era wooden steamships – known as the "Ghost Fleet" - and other maritime resources and cultural heritage dating back nearly 12,000 years.

Sanctuary News

A group of volunteers and children

Learn what’s happening at the sanctuary.


A kayaker next to a shipwreck
Photo: Matt McIntosh/NOAA

Whether you're walking the shore or paddling through history, the Ghost Fleet is your gateway to recreation and educational opportunities.

Maritime and Cultural Heritage

A native american in a traditional headdress
Photo: Matt McIntosh/NOAA

Beyond the Ghost Fleet, the area’s history includes connections to the Revolutionary and Civil wars, as well as the rich heritage of commercial fishing operations, the Department of Defense, and three tribal nations. Its significance is recognized by the National Register of Historic Places and its listing as a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Get Involved: A Partnership with Community

A group of people pose for a photo holding commemorative paddles
Photo: Kate Thompson /NOAA

Community partnership is a hallmark of every national marine sanctuary. Communities actively participate to inform and evolve sanctuary management objectives and to enable partnerships that benefit sanctuary resources and the community itself. Volunteer networks, citizen science, and advisory councils are among the opportunities available to learn and share information about the sanctuary and promote stewardship of its resources.