Historical Hydrography on the St. Mary’s River

An image of NOAA's Bay Hydro II on the water with the Echoboat 240, uncrewed system in the foreground.

By Riley O’Connor

In November 1633, the Ark and the Dove set sail from the Isle of Wight—an island off the south coast of England—carrying English and Irish settlers bound for the new colony of Maryland. By January 1634, both vessels arrived at the Island of Barbados and began heading for the colony of Maryland. These settlers sailed into the Chesapeake Bay, the Potomac River, and eventually, the St. Mary’s River.  They stopped roughly 12 miles (19 km) northwest from Point Lookout, where the Potomac River enters the Chesapeake Bay. This group of settlers would go on to found Maryland’s first European settlement and future provincial capital, St. Mary’s City.

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