By: Jodi Argo Schroath
Don't you just hate it when the Coast Guard or some other variety of maritime law enforcement comes tearing up to you with lights flashing and megaphone blasting because you have innocently stumbled into some forbidden part of the Bay? Or worse, a U.S. Navy patrol boat comes racing up as a guy in fatigues stands by his stern-mounted machine gun? I really hate when that happens! Which is why I have always given two of the Bay's rivers, the Bush and Gunpowder, a wide berth. On the charts, the two are crisscrossed with thick purple lines and dotted with warning notes such as "Restricted Area" and "Unexploded Ordinance." More than enough to keep this meek mariner way out of their way.
Until this summer, that is, when I was feeling pretty frisky and decided it was high time to give them a try. So in June, I dug out a copy of Coast Pilot 3 and looked up section 334.140, as directed by the chart notes. As I read, I felt my jets cooling with each paragraph, until they nearly froze up. Since the Bush and Gunpowder rivers are largely within the Aberdeen Proving Grounds--the national center for arms testing and a lot of stuff I'd rather not know about, like chemical warfare--there are indeed restrictions. Two pages of restrictions for the waters in the Aberdeen Proving Grounds to be exact. First, there are the hours when the Bush and Gunpowder rivers are generally open to boaters.
Click on the above image to read more.