The Path To Paradise Begins At TrawlerFest-Bay Bridge

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TrawlerFest-Bay Bridge offers five seminars for Bay boaters who want to expand their horizons. We’re talking palm trees, gin-clear waters and warm exotic nights. Our presenters will take the mystery out of getting there and affirm why we should want to go in the first place.

The TrawlerFest seminar series runs Tuesday through Saturday, Sept. 27-Oct. 1 at Bay Bridge Marina, located at the foot of the Cheseapeake Bay Bridge on Kent Island.

Let’s begin at the beginning: “Cruising the ICW with the Caldwells” is a must-attend seminar for any Bay-area cruisers who intend to head south on the Intracoastal Waterway. The Caldwells will outline how to prepare yourselves and your boat for the trip and highlight some of the fun and inexpensive stops from Hampton to New Orleans and beyond. Following their advice almost guarantees that you will enjoy yourself more and save several times the price of admission.


Sometimes you might want to head north so you can go south. That’s what the Great Loop is: the long way to paradise. George and Pat Hospodar, active cruisers authors of Reflections on America’s Great Loop and The Great Loop Experience from Concept to Completion, will guide attendees through the important practical considerations that should be made before even undertaking this trip. These topics include: outfitting your boat, route planning, finances and insurance, health considerations, security, time frame and lifestyle factors, types of locks and lock safety, Canadian and U.S. clearance procedures.

Cuba is waiting to become one of the greatest boating destinations in the world. Americans can now take their boats to Cuba legally. TrawlerFest’s own Peter Swanson makes it part of his business to stay on top of Cuba for PassageMaker and the AIM Marine Group’s other boating magazines. Just back from Havana where he directed AIM Marine’s Rallies to Cuba program, Swanson will help attendees navigate the regulatory waters of travel to the island nation and what you can expect to find once you arrive.

 Casa De La Musica in Havana offers world class entertainment nightly.

Casa De La Musica in Havana offers world class entertainment nightly.

And finally--and uniquely at TrawlerFest--our friends at the Lochner Law Firm of Annapolis have parsed gun laws all along the waterways of the East Coast and the Caribbean to present “Guns & Governments.”

First of all let us say what this seminar is not about. It’s not about advocating for or opposing guns aboard cruising boats. This seminar is for the coastal cruiser who has already decided to carry guns or is leaning toward that decision. The fact is anyone who cruises the East Coast between Canada and the Caribbean will pass through multiple jurisdictions whose gun laws vary wildly. What is legal in Georgia might very well result in serious legal consequences in Massachusetts or Puerto Rico.

This seminar identifies the places that can cause problems for even the most conscientious armed cruiser. Presenters Todd Lochner and Greg Singer, who practice law in Annapolis, specialize in maritime law. Attendees will receive a bridge card-style hand-out, which breaks down the differences in laws in an easy to understand format.

Most PassageMaker fans know that TrawlerFest is more than a seminar series. The event's in-water boat show, runs Thursday, Sept. 29 – Saturday, Oct. 1 . Dozens of power cruisers will be open for inspection on the docks and vendors will be on hand to demonstrate products and services.

Smart money goes for our five-day VIP Page, which costs $499 but can amount to a value of more than $1,100. Here's what it includes:

  • General Admission to all threedays of TrawlerFest’s In-Water Boat Show
  • Unlimited access to seminars (Tuesday-Saturday) (Diesel Engine course and Boat Handling Hands On is NOTavailable as part of the VIP package)
  • Entry for one to Thursday’s Dinner, Raffle & Trivia Night
  • Entry for one to Friday’s Trawlers At Twilight Docktail Party

There is also a three-day VIP package for $399, which provides similar value. For more information, visit and navigate to TrawlerFest>Bay Bridge, or call 443-745-7785.