2022 60¢ National Marine Sanctuaries – Mallows Bay-Potomac River Marine Sanctuary at Sunset
Value: 60¢ 1-Ounce First-class Rate (Forever)
Issue Date: August 5, 2022
First Day City: Santa Cruz, CA
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd.
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Pane of 16
Quantity Printed: 38,000,000
Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary is located in Maryland on the Potomac River. The sanctuary is home to the "largest shipwreck fleet in the Western Hemisphere," also known as the "Ghost Fleet."
The sunken ships in Mallows Bay are the remains of over 100 wooden steamships built for the US Emergency Fleet from 1917 and 1919. They were intended for use during World War I, but the war ended before any of them saw combat. Many of the ships were brought to the Potomac River and left there with the intent of salvaging scrap metal, engines, steam boilers, and propellers from them. This was carried out by Western Marine and Salvage Corporation starting in 1922. However, there were instances of ships catching fire (many burning to the waterline) or breaking loose and causing havoc for other mariners. During the Great Depression, Western Marine went out of business. This began a brief period of unauthorized salvage by locals hoping to earn a profit. The government stepped in, and Bethlehem Steel took over official operations from 1942 until the end of World War II.
The ships remaining in Mallows Bay have become habitats for fish, beavers, and birds. The best way to see the wrecks today is by self-guided tour. It's a great way to spend the day and enjoy US history.