An annual day of fun (and some debauchery) in Chesapeake City, Md.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Received this from the USCG

Direct from an e-mail I received:
Now that this year's event is over we're already planning for the next one...there is however, one item I'd like to pass to all prospective Canal Days 2009 attendees in order to get out in front of any rumors that may start up relating to 09's event...

There were a lot of bad rumors flying in the local papers regarding the Coast Guard and our patrol intentions. .... For now, allow me to dispel them:

1. First off, there was never any "magic number" that the Coast Guard established for max capacity of the basin. It's a judgment call made by the Coast Guard personnel on-scene. In talking with many of the boaters, I kept hearing 150, etc...The reality is you cannot quantify basin capacity - when we decided to finally close the basin, we factored in the number and size of boats already rafted, swimmers, forecasted weather, medical response capability, search and rescue response capability, and the overall "behavior" of the crowd, and a couple other factors.

2. Unfortunately, the other half of this rumor I heard while chatting with some of the early arrivals was the claim that the "Coast Guard was going to stop and board every boat entering the basin to look for and confiscate alcohol and drugs." When I heard that, I nearly fell to the deck laughing...Here's the deal - drugs are a no-brainer - illegal - and there are the obvious repercussions for possession, distribution, etc. long as you're not operating (driving, navigating or otherwise responsible for the vessel's operation) under the influence (.08 BAC - just like a vehicle), it's no problem for passengers to drink and it certainly isn't illegal to transport alcohol in a recreational vessel...the other funny twist to this rumor is the sheer amount of resources it would take to actually board every vessel coming into the basin...we'd have to bring in 300 additional Coasties, work around the clock, and we still might not get it done in time for Canal Days. Besides, having all those boats stacked up in the Canal is a disaster waiting to happen (think about it - a 700ft commercial vessel bearing down on a cluster of 200 get my point). advice for next year...unless the information is coming from someone wearing a blue Coast Guard uniform, I would consider the information suspect. Just like this year, I will make myself available to answer any question the boating public may have...Why? These rumors actually make my job and the job of my crew harder. The Coast Guard crews (Active Duty, Reserves AND Auxiliary), the Maryland National Guard 32nd CST, the various Fire Company boats, Cecil County Sheriffs, and Maryland Natural Resource Police worked around the clock to ensure the safety of all waterborne attendees - a daunting task without the "assistance" of bad information.

So again - Next year, if anyone has any questions regarding the basin Canal Days spin-off festivities, do not hesitate to contact Coast Guard Sector Baltimore and ask for me by name.

In the meantime, on behalf of the entire multi-agency Maritime Safety & Security Detachment - Chesapeake City, it was a privilege to once again serve during this year's event...and the crews already looking forward to next year!

LT Joshua Blocker, USCG
CG Sector Baltimore

Find out more about the USCG Sector Baltimore here.

Today's headline

It seems that the problems aren't with the boaters on the water. Instead of more Coast Guard watching boaters -- and they did a good job of keeping things orderly while still allowing some fun -- perhaps there should have been more police watching the unruly crowds coming and going at the Chesapeake Inn.
I like sitting outside at the Inn having a beer and brick oven pizza as much as the next person, but on Canal Day, it's a different place -- especially at night after the official town Canal Day is over. The Inn does do a good job on security and 10 arrests for something that big isn't bad, true ... but I seriously doubt it was the boaters or vendors or shoppers who were causing the trouble and getting arrested. I'd bet it was a rowdier, younger night crowd that came in after the parking fee ended. And let's not let those bad apples ruin it and spark the kind of "end Canal Day" talk that came out after last year.

If you have constructive suggestions for changes, leave them in the comments section. I'm sure the organizers would love to hear what you think.

Read The News Journal article here.

See The News Journal photo gallery here.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Rafting 'em up

The basin is filling in an orderly fashion this year. This is a shot from early this morning. There's still plenty of room if you're thinking about heading in today. The boats are in good lines with clear travel lanes thanks to the early arrival of the Coast Guard. They are doing a good job of keeping things safe while still letting people have the fun that Canal Day is known for.

Here's today's Canal Day story in The News Journal.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Don't even think about it

View Larger Map

The boat ramp at the Corps of Engineers in Back Creek Basin has been blocked for the past couple of days as is usual before Canal Day. If you are a Canal Day newbie and were planning on saving on gas and just putting in at the basin -- you can forget that idea.

Share your photos

Do you have any good photos from past Canal Days you'd like to share with the world?
Do you want to share the ones you plan on taking at this year's event once it's over?

Send them my way and share them right here. Click on the link to e-mail me or just type in my e-mail address:

Over 50,000 hits to this site and climbing by the hundreds each day as people search for photos you may have taken......

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

NSFW video

UPDATED: The video is now embedded.

Download the video from here.
The password is: beads

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The News Journal weighs in

Canal Day is a GO
With an eye on safety, Chesapeake City plans a festival that won’t go overboard

The News Journal

There’s something about Canal Day in Chesapeake City, Md., that brings out the best and worst in people.
In recent years, the event, which began small and sedate in 1975 as an arts festival to raise funds for the Chesapeake City District Civic Association, has gotten big – no, huge – and wild and crazy.
Last year’s festivities brought an estimated 400 boats and 10,000 visitors to a town that boasts fewer than 1,000 residents.

Read the rest of the article here.

Friday, June 6, 2008

A picture's worth a thousand words

Looking for some photos of the boats in the basin during Canal Day? There are plenty from the 2007 Canal Day on John Bowen's site,

If you're looking for the Not Safe for Work Canal Day photos -- and who hasn't at some point -- check this previous post for a link to some photos. I've taken the NSFW video down for now but will upload it again if there are any requests. Just leave it in the comments.

As always, keep checking back for more Canal Day updates and links.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Every cloud has a silver lining

A commenter in the previous post mentioned the Noreaster Magazine article on Canal Day and the possibility of a 24-hour rule being enforced on boats in the basin. If your boat is occupied, I don't see that happening but you can always check with the town or Coast Guard when you pull in to moor.

Here's a link to the Nor'easter article.

I think the town is trying its best to let the water side of the event maintain its sense of fun and tradition while not letting the land side be inundated with the spillover of the boat owners' friends and hangers-on wandering around peeing on every porch and bush as they make their way to and from the basin and Inn.

Instead of letting a few ignoramuses ruin it for everyone, the town seems to be searching for balance.