5 Cool Facts About the Chesapeake Bay


Even folks from outside of the Old Line State are familiar with that beautiful bay of ours. It's one of the most iconic natural features of Maryland, and we're awfully proud of it. But there are some things that even some Marylanders might not know about our favorite body of water. How many of these facts did you just learn today?

1. The Chesapeake Bay is actually pretty shallow!

According to Sea Grant Maryland, the bay could actually hold a lot more water. Its average depth is only about 21 feet. A figure that's often given is that a six-foot-tall person could walk through most of the bay without getting their hat wet! Of course, there are areas of the bay that are much deeper. The deepest spot is just beyond Bloody Point off Kent Island, fittingly called The Hole. It's 174 feet below sea level! 

2. We share the bay with our neighbors to the south

Virginia and Maryland can both lay claim to the Chesapeake Bay. The state border cuts through Smith Island, and that means you've gotta come through Virginia territory before you can get inside the estuary. (Yes, Maryland loves to claim Smith Island -- especially the cakes -- but technically, it's double-dipping in two states.)

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3. You might spot a shark!

Don't be surprised if you spot a fin while you're looking out over the Chesapeake Bay's waters! According to the National Aquarium, there are 12 species of shark that regularly inhabit the bay, including sandbar, bull and sand tiger sharks. The bay is a great place for them to find food, just like us, and for them to have their babies. Imagine how many steamed crabs they could eat in one sitting...

4. We can thank glaciers for the existence of the bay

18,000 years ago, glaciers covered what's now the east coast, and those glaciers began to melt.  As they melted, they shifted, and all of that shifting carved out a big hole, as well as a lot of the rivers that now feed into the bay. Sea levels rose, and water filled the hole. Ta-da! You've got yourself a bay.  

5. Want to help the bay? Head to the MVA

If you order the 'Protect the Chesapeake' background license plate, you'll be contributing to the Chesapeake Bay Trust, an organization devoted to giving money to causes that contribute to the health and well-being of the bay. You've probably seen plenty of these plates as you drive to Ocean City or around the Beltway -- and there's something to be said for joining the crowd on this one. 

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