Smooth Sailing

Solar-powered pirate ships invade the Inner Harbor.

Jake Smith - August 2018

Smooth Sailing

Solar-powered pirate ships invade the Inner Harbor.

Jake Smith - August 2018

-Matt Roth

It’s a typical summer afternoon at the Inner Harbor, with ambient music emanating from the National Aquarium and pigeons strutting along the Baltimore Waterfront Promenade—but over at the Living Classrooms Foundation dock, a crowd of kids and their parents sway in excitement, mirroring the pint-size pirate ships they’re about to board.

Through November, swashbucklers can live out fantasies of sailing the seven seas with the Pirate Ships of Baltimore, a new 12-ship armada decked out with solar-powered motors, mini crow’s nests, and decorative cannons. The half-hour ride offers panoramic views of local landmarks including the Domino Sugars sign and the starboard side of the Chesapeake.

The fleet, which is owned and operated by Living Classrooms, is the first attraction to open at the Inner Harbor in five years and joins the organization’s iconic Chessie Dragon paddleboats for locals and visitors to explore the city by water. Designed by Baltimore-based manufacturer Premier Rides, the fiberglass ships, which hold six buccaneers each, are powered by lithium-ion batteries that use solar energy to cruise along the water for $25-35 per trip.

During the summer, Living Classrooms’ floating attractions employ more than 50 local teens and young adults, who pick up nautical know-how in addition to business skills. Darius Dickey, who oversees maintenance at the dock and has worked with the organization for the past six years, says it’s the kind of opportunity the city’s youth need during the summer.

“It keeps young people out of trouble,” Dickey says, “keeping them off the streets, having them on the right path. It makes them want to work and strive for something better.” As of late June, more than 700 riders have set sail on the pirate ships since the dock opened. “It’s easy for us to see the water from the city,” says Chris Rowsom, vice president of Heritage Programs for Living Classrooms, “but to see the city from the water is pretty cool.”





You May Also Like


In Good Taste

Chefs Go Beyond the Restaurant For These Outdoor Dinners

Local cooks get outside to host inventive dinners from land to sea.

Health & Wellness

The Glow Up

We talk to expert Rachael Brandt about how sunless tanning has evolved.

The Chatter

Is It Really Just Like Riding a Bike?

How biking made my confidence collapse and then inflate again.


Travel & Outdoors

Ten Wild to Mild Adventures in The Great Outdoors

Fall adventures whether you're a daredevil or just want a relaxing weekend away.

On The Town

Monument City Releases Beers to Benefit Clean Parks and Waterways

Three-part Haven series will support Trash Free Maryland and Blue Water Baltimore.

Food & Drink

John Shields Shares Recipe and Talks New Cookbook

The owner of Gertrude's has a new cookbook and new perspective on life.

-Matt Roth

Connect With Us

Most Read


Are the Orioles and Adam Jones Headed For a Bad Breakup?: Fan favorite benched again last night as forgettable season nears end.

Maryland Film Festival's Jed Dietz to Retire: Dietz shepherded the growth of the festival and the launch of the Parkway Theatre.

Baltimore Police Mounted Unit to Add Horses and State-of-the-Art Stable: City officials broke ground on $2.5 million stable at B&O Railroad Museum.

Gundalow Juice Stops Production to Focus on Catering Services: CEO and founder Dana Sicko discusses the next chapter with Gundalow Gourmet.

Governor Larry Hogan Tops Ben Jealous by 22 Points in New Poll: More than half of likely voters say they support the incumbent Republican governor.