Patuxent River & Vicinity
The Patuxent River & Vicinity

Click on chart to view at higher resolutionMy home port for most of my time on the Chesapeake Bay has been the Patuxent River.  On any given weekend (spring, summer and fall) I would normally be anchored in one of its creeks or working on Sarah at her berth in Town Creek, across the river from Solomons.  Solomons, MD is one of the major yachting centers on the Bay, and certainly the largest south of Annapolis.  For the past 30 years the nearly constant expansion of the Patuxent River Naval Air Station on the south side of the River's mouth has fueled a tremendous influx of people and boats to the area.  Today the summer boat congestion at the mouth of the River is starting to rival that off the Severn River and Annapolis.

Still we only have to sail a few miles north of the Thomas Johnson Bridge to encounter a peaceful cruising ground with many secure anchorages.

Pictures and descriptions of some of the possible cruising destinations on the Patuxent River can be accessed via the menu selections on the left or by clicking on the hot spots on the chart.

Below are pictures of the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay near the mouth of the Patuxent.

Cove Point
The Cover Pt. Lighthouse marks the entrance to the Patuxent River from the north.
In this picture you can see the natural gas tank farm associated with the LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) Terminal just north of Cove Point.
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Cove Pt Lighthouse
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Cove Pt. Lighthouse
Another picture of the Cove Pt. Lighthouse.
In this view of the lighthouse you can see the Calvert Cliffs.  The cliffs are 100' or more tall sandstone bluffs that stretch from Cove Pt north to Chesapeake Beach.  This is one of the few places on the Chesapeake Bay with a high shoreline.  Most of the land along the Bay is low-lying. Click on picture to view at full resolution
Cove Pt. Lighthouse and Calvert Cliffs
Cove Pt. LNG Terminal
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Cove Pt. LNG Terminal
A few miles north of Cove Pt. and more than a mile off the western shore is the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Terminal.
The construction of this terminal was completed in the late 1970s, but it was several decades before it was put into full service.
The first delay was the completion of the Thomas Johnson Bridge across the Patuxent River.  If the Natural Gas tank farm ever caught on fire the residents of Lusby and Solomons, MD would have no escape route without the bridge.

So the terminal could not be put into operation until the bridge construction was completed in 1977.
Then (I was told) the Algerians (the principal source of this Natural Gas) tripled their price.
At that price the gas companies determined they could not compete with domestic Natural Gas and all of the terminals on the east coast were shut down.
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Cove Pt. LNG Terminal
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LNG Tanker Berthed at the LNG Terminal
In the early 1980s I was living and working in Newport, RI, and each day I could see the tankers specifically built for LNG in storage in a local boatyard.  Eventually all of these vessels were sold or scrapped.
For the next 25 years the Cove Pt. Terminal was maintained in an idle state waiting for the cost to come down or the domestic price to go up. 
Around 2000 one or both of those changes must have taken place.  On a trip back from the Choptank River I took this picture of an LNG tanker tied up to the terminal.
When these tankers are transiting the Bay or tied to the terminal very stringent security measures are in place.  Other vessels are not allowed to approach within a specified distance.
Security vessels accompany the tankers for the entire time they are on the Bay.
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LNG Tanker Berthed at Cove Pt. Terminal
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LNG Tanker and Tugs
Even when no tanker is tied to the Terminal, only authorized vessels are allowed within the marked security zone around the terminal.

In 2016 I read that the terminal is being modified to become a LNG export terminal.