The 128’ schooner Levin J. Marvel foundered in Herring Bay in southern Anne Arundel County on August 12, 1955. The three-masted ship was a carrier converted to a passenger cruiser. The captain was returning to Annapolis from an Eastern Shore cruise with 23 passengers and 4 crew aboard when he encountered the wind field of Hurricane Connie. With no auxiliary power and no canvas aloft, the captain made the decision to run before the wind to anchor off of Fairhaven.
The old ship was in poor condition to begin with and the wind and waves of the storm proved fatal to it. There was no lifeboat so 27 people fought for their lives after being swept from the vessel about a mile offshore. They struggled for several hours, finally, the fist survivor raised the alarm in North Beach. The community set into motion a dramatic and daring rescue response. In the end, over half were killed in the wreck.
The incident was shocking. An inexperienced captain took a decrepit ship filled with unwitting passengers into a hurricane. Manslaughter charges against the captain were soon filed. Coast Guard and Capitol Hill speedily drafted the legislation that regulates small passenger vessels to this day.
This presentation features dramatic slides outlining the story, the heroism and the aftermath of the tragedy.
Presenter: Kathy Bergren Smith | Author & Photo-Journalist
About the Presenter: Kathy Bergren Smith spent nearly two decades covering maritime industrial topics as a photo-journalist for WorkBoat Magazine, National Fisherman and the Port of Baltimore. She lives in Galesville.
About the Series:
The Annapolis Maritime Museum holds its annual Winter Lecture Series over eight consecutive Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. from mid-January through early March. You will be challenged to question and to learn by engaging speakers on diverse topics including maritime history, local history, science and maritime art.
The 2023 series will be held in person at the Museum Campus (723 Second Street Annapolis, MD 21403). Registration fee of $10 per person at the door – first come, first served. No pre-registration available, space is limited. Free admission for First Mate ($150) and above.