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Why is Baltimore not on your itinerary?

  • Sailing is to get away from the rat race, not closer to it.

    Votes: 5 20.8%
  • Too much risk of crime or theft.

    Votes: 4 16.7%
  • The entertainment and/or dining options don’t interest me.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Transient dockage is too expensive.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Shoreside transportation is too difficult or expensive.

    Votes: 2 8.3%
  • Too few places to anchor and/or securely land a dinghy.

    Votes: 4 16.7%
  • The seawater pollution is unappealing.

    Votes: 1 4.2%
  • Too much commercial vessel traffic.

    Votes: 1 4.2%
  • Too much recreational vessel traffic.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other – mention in comments.

    Votes: 7 29.2%

Poll: Baltimore as a Destination

10554 Views 113 Replies 29 Participants Last post by  Group9
Despite having a lot of shoreside diversions and almost certainly the best concentration of excellent dining options within a quarter mile of the water anywhere on the Chesapeake, Baltimore’s harbor seems to consistently punch below its weight as a cruising destination.

For people who bypass Baltimore, I’m curious what keeps you away and would appreciate if you could respond to the poll with the reason that best aligns with your own feelings. While I don’t have anything personally to gain by seeing Baltimore become more “yachtie,” IMHO there’s no inherent reason why it couldn’t or shouldn’t be on par with Annapolis as a sailing town.
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If a large enough coalition of pleasure boaters took their complaints to city hall, things (theoretically) would change. Part of the problem in making the concerns of visiting boaters more of a priority is the issue of scale. Hundreds of transient boats showing up every weekend would have Rock Hall jumping for joy while in a city of Baltimore’s size it just doesn’t make much of a difference in the overall picture.

The real case for making Baltimore friendlier to pleasure boaters isn’t so much their direct economic impact as much as it’s the potential multiplier effect. If you make things easy and welcoming for boaters it makes it more enticing for people to keep boats here, for marine services businesses to locate here, and for people to see it as a boater’s town and thus start talking it up as a destination. One benefit of this to the city would be that a buzzing, active harbor creates a sense of energy and excitement for the areas adjacent to the water, even for people who’ve never set foot on a boat (which might be good considering that Harborplace and the Inner Harbor have started to fall out of favor as tourist spots compared to Harbor East, which is much less water-oriented). Another benefit is that an increase in visiting boaters could generate more excitement around the city’s maritime attractions (the historic ships, the Seven Foot Knoll light, the Museum of Industry), which would again draw in people who didn’t arrive by boat.
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In the first account the perpetrators were almost certainly drunk and I see no reason this couldn’t just as easily have happened at Annapolis, Rock Hall, Kent Narrows, St. Michaels, Solomons, or any other location that has open docks or bulkheads in close proximity to drinking establishments.

The second account is a little scarier, but it’s as likely that the dudes were again drunks being idiots than that they were acting out of real intent to rob or do harm.

Items being stolen off boats in supposedly secure marinas can and does happen everywhere. Unfortunately more marinas than not – be they urban, rural, or suburban – have had a rash or two of such incidents at some point in their history.

I’m not trying to make excuses, but it’s easy for a few anecdotes to unfairly color perceptions about a place when the fact remains that the vast, vast majority of boaters who come to visit Baltimore will not experience any problems with crime. I was actually pleasantly surprised that, so far, no one has selected the “crime” response on the poll.

As for the Anchorage, its existence as a co-op leads to the unusual situation of the front office having less control over the occupants of slips than would be the case at a rental marina or a yacht club. Also, depending on how one secures a slip, it can be the least expensive marina in the Baltimore harbor. These factors mean it will attract boaters priced out of the nearby places charging twice as much. We've found this has the effect of injecting a quirky character into the place which, for the most part, we've seen as a good thing.
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If you plot the 2015 murders to date out on a map (as you can do here Baltimore Homicides - you'll find that not one of them is an area adjacent to or even all that close to the waterfront.
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The newspaper has a local homicide map that's interactive and regularly updated.... that in itself isn't a good sign. :(

I don't disagree but I also don't get why Baltimore is painted with a broad brush while people are more willing with almost any other large city to make distinctions between areas and neighborhoods. People distinguish between South Central and all of LA, between the South Side and all of Chicago, and between Manhattan and the Bronx - so why is Baltimore just Baltimore? I especially don't get why people from the surrounding suburbs paint with this same broad brush as in the end the more negatively people see the city, the more it reflects badly on the region as a whole.
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