My First Boat Burning Party

By  | 

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?


What did you think of this post? Give us a +1 above or leave a comment! And don’t miss out on any of Jeanne & Keri’s adventures and tips. Follow us:
rss icon (50x50) 256px-Email_Shiny_Icon (49x50) twitter icon (50x50) facebook icon (50x50)

Full Disclosure: I may receive affiliate credit from links in this post or on this site which will help fund my travels. Thank you for your support!

Related Posts:

Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world. www.twitter.com/klatravel


  1. Kirk Esco

    May 26, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Thank you for the Wonderful Review, Keri! I like it so much I would like to print it in the next edition of our Tall Timbers Marina Newsletter.
    Please e-mail me at info@talltimbersmarinasomd.com if that is ok.
    We had a GREAT time this weekend and I’m very glad you did, too!

  2. Tyler

    May 26, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Burning boats is extremely harmful to the enviroment- imagine all the chemicals from the engine, paint, etc washing into the beach and water. I would highly recommend not sponsoring these activities in the future.

    • fam

      May 26, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      It may be harmful to the environment, but nowadays what is not? It is truly unfortunate these boats do reach the point of no return in regards to its usefulness, but indeed at some point this does in fact happen. As these boats lay dormant and in disrepair there are not many options. Yes, of course, scrapping the material is an option, and most certainly all those boats that do in fact make it to the burn pile are harvested for hardware and machinery–including gas tanks, generators, engines, etc etc etc–you may be right about the paint, however some way or another the contaminants will inevitably make it back into the environment unless contained into some capsule isolated from the environmental systems as we know them today. But what would be the fun in that?

      Sometimes we need to put aside our fear of the “inconvenient truths” for a little tradition and celebration, which is not only to celebrate our national holidays and all they support, but to also celebrate those things that once supported one’s subsistence or pleasures in life in reflection of the those vessels that meet their final days silhouetted by the ravishing sunsets of the Lower Potomac River on the beach at Tall Timbers Marina.

  3. Tyler

    May 26, 2014 at 4:21 pm


    What would be the fun in doing the responsible thing and scrapping it? The fun would be to not damage the beaches further. World travelers can now see the damage people are doing to our beaches- just a few months ago in Bali I was shocked at how much trash and fuel was in the water. Your mentality of ‘what’s the problem if we do just a little harm’ is not valid, because if everyone held that mentality the damaage would skyrocket.

    Cmon, this isn’t rocket science- treat the world well so our kids can have nice beaches.

  4. fam

    May 27, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    I guess it be left on the beach to rot and then all the contamination can go into the ground not the clouds, OR just sent it to the land fill and do it all there. Just don’t roast your weenie over the coals.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *