Schooner Sultana
Chestertown, MD
Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network

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Brief Description: The recently constructed schooner “Sultana” is one of two mobile Chesapeake Bay Gateways. This traditional 18th century ship, based out of Chestertown, Maryland, sails the Bay providing hands-on education in the history and natural environment of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed.

The modern Sultana represents one of the earliest examples of schooner building in North America. The original ship was the smallest schooner ever registered on the British Royal Navy Lists. As a vessel of mixed American and British heritage, Sultana has roots on both sides of the Atlantic and was on the scene when the American colonists took their first steps toward independence.

Today, the Sultana is a floating classroom for learning about colonial maritime history, as well as the rich ecosystems of the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays.

Location / Directions: The Sultana is based out of historic Chestertown, Maryland. Contact the Sultana in advance to find out its current location. To reach the home port of Chestertown:

From the west:: Take Route 50 East across the Chesapeake Bay bridge to Route 301 North to Route 213. Follow Route 213 over the Chester River Bridge into Chestertown. The Sultana docks at the waterfront.

From the south: Take Route 50 West to Route 213 North. Follow Route 213 over the Chester River Bridge into Chestertown. The Sultana docks at the waterfront.

Driving Directions
Physical Address: Schooner Sultana
Cannon Street
Chestertown, MD 21620
Mailing Address: Schooner Sultana
PO Box 524
Chestertown, MD 21620
Visitor Phone: (410) 778-5954
Activities: Sultana offers several types of one-day, under-sail programs that focus on the history and natural environment of the Chesapeake Bay. On one-day programs, participants—students or adults—develop team-building skills and work at various learning stations above and below decks.

Activities on one-day colonial history programs include:

  • Raising and lowering the sails

  • Map studies

  • Reading excerpts from Sultana’s original log books

  • Using traditional 18th-century navigational tools

  • Food sampling

  • Examining a sailor’s personal belongings chest

  • Discussing 18th-century medical practices

  • Laying in crew members’ bunks

  • Learning about Sultana’s armaments

Activities on one-day Chesapeake Bay ecology programs include:

  • Map and chart studies

  • Catching and examining plankton

  • Sampling marine life caught using an "otter trawl" (fishing net)

  • Examining the bottom

  • Water testing for pH, salinity, and dissolved oxygen

  • Determining the turbidity of the water and discussing how this measurement affects the survival rate of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAVs)

  • Building an on-board aquarium

Beginning in the summer of 2002, Sultana will offer live-aboard programming. On these trips, participants will explore the history and environment of the Chesapeake by day—and sleep under the sails and stars at night. Students and adults will learn first-hand what it was like to live in the crew’s quarters, sail the vessel, and navigate using 18th-century tools. The trips—for groups as large as 12 people—will last 2-5 days.

You also can visit the Sultana when the vessel is berthed at Chestertown for open houses. Contact the shipyard for the schedule.

Boat Access Educational Programs Tours / Walking Tours

Fees: There are no fees to view the vessel when it is berthed. Contact the shipyard for fees for the educational programs.
Accessibility: The vessel itself does not enable wheelchairs to board, but the dock is handicapped accessible for visitors to approach and view the schooner.

Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network - Comments or Questions: Call: 1-800-YOUR-BAY