My First Boat Burning Party

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Before this weekend I had never heard of a boat burning. And even after I did hear the term, I had no idea what it would it be — was it an actual boat being burned? a bonfire at the marine piled in the shape of a boat? Some slang term for something different altogether?

I’d planned to spend part of the weekend in Southern Maryland with a friend and the Tall Timbers Marina boat burning was on the schedule. We showed up early and discovered the marina is a sprawling property with many picturesque docks and a good ole country feel.

Tall Timber Marina Boat Burning Keri


The Marina Bar had a delicious smelling BBQ buffet on offer for dinner and the live band was playing music on the screened porch.  We decided to head to the “beach” instead though to check out the boat burning and take pictures of the sunset.

Tall Timber Marina Boat Burning sunset

And it turns out they would be burning an actual boat! Apparently several times a year they take a boat that has outlived it’s usefulness and set it on fire.Tall Timber Marina Boat Burning Shawna Keri

And they also move the marina bar to a wooden boat nearby so folks can imbibe while taking in the flames.

Tall Timbers Marina boat bar

I was surprised at the heat and speed with which the boat burned.

Tall Timber Marina Boat Burning lighting

Within 10 minutes of lighting, the whole thing was ablaze. The heat was tremendous. We were sitting quite a ways back from the fire, and for awhile it was nearly too hot.

Tall Timbers Marina Keri watching fire

Tall Timber Marina Boat Burning full flame

Within an hour though, most of the boat was gone. Once that happened, folks gathered around to bask in the warmth, catch some of the modest fireworks, and watch a performer working with flaming batons.

I’d never experienced a “bonfire on the beach” and I suddenly understand the appeal. The cool salt wind is offset by heat of the fire. The crackle of the flames and the sound of the waves, etc etc.

While the audience was primarily locals, folks were friendly and we felt welcome. I definitely see another boat burning in my future at some point.

Was anyone else already aware of these kinds of events?


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