A grand and gracious lady, Watermark’s iconic Harbor Queen, celebrates her 40th year cruising the waters in and around Annapolis. Harbor Queen is legendary among locals, school children and visitors alike – and with a recent trip to the “spa” to refresh and renew, she is already hosting more of those same memory-making excursions.
“Harbor Queen is iconic,” says Debbie Gosselin, President and owner of Watermark. “She is the centerpiece of our maritime hospitality family. She’s helped educate school children about the Bay and Annapolis, transformed herself for weddings and birthday parties, and helped create precious memories for all who board her – 2.6 million of them over 40 years, in fact!”
Since Harbor Queen (built in 1972) joined Watermark (formerly Chesapeake Marine Tours) in 1973, the 65’ boat has hosted nearly 800,000 fourth graders for history tours of the Chesapeake Bay, Annapolis and Naval Academy, made dreams come true for more than 50 brides and served over 300,000 bags of popcorn on its regular daily excursions.
“I feel very strongly about her,” says Captain Melonie Abernethy (known to guests as Captain “Mel”) about the Harbor Queen. “I have seen so many things just from driving her – weddings, birthdays, school trips, engagements, retirements, graduations, reunions, even people and dog rescues. We’ve seen a lot together –she has brought happiness to a lot of people.”
Harbor Queen daily excursions run annually from March through mid-November. Visitors and school children, mostly fourth graders from as far away as Pennsylvania and Virginia, learn about the history of Annapolis, the state of Maryland, the US Naval Academy and the area’s maritime heritage during the 40-minute tour. From Annapolis to the entrance of the Chesapeake Bay, visitors hear about watermen, estuary life, Eastport and the Annapolis skyline as the tour concludes.
From fireworks on the 4th of July, Blue Angels flyovers to a “yogatta” (a Yoga Regatta) and the strains of live jazz on her deck, Harbor Queen has witnessed a lot of stories as she coursed the waters of the Severn River.
“Her legacy is rich with the memories of cowboy boots on her decks for country and western dances to the pitter-patter of paws during fundraisers for the Animal Legal Defense Fund. We are proud that she has meant so much, to so many, over the years,” says Debbie Gosselin.
Along with her stories of entertaining guests, Harbor Queen comes with a mystery.
“Where is her bell?” asks Ms. Gosselin. “Harbor Queen’s bell disappeared, without a trace, years ago,” she explains. “It is rumored to be in an Annapolis household — maybe this year we will find out!”