My First Boat Trip as First Mate and Our Month in Rock Hall

first mate boat trip

My first time stepping in as first mate for our boat trip to Rock Hall followed by  a fun month long visit [includes video]

We keep our boat on the Sassafras River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. All summer long, we spend our weekends on the boat. Often we take the boat across the river and drop anchor near the shore, where we spend the day swimming.

Our boat has a generator, so we can have electricity on the boat when we want to make lunch or coffee, or run the air conditioner on really hot days. One summer though, our generator stopped working. My Dad tried to fix it a couple of times, and he got it working again for a little while, but he finally realized that there was a serious problem that needed to be fixed. He usually fixes things himself, but this time he decided we needed a professional mechanic.

boat trip rock hallSo my Dad made plans to take the boat down to Rock Hall Maryland where they have good mechanics that know how to fix our generator, and also happens to be one of our favorite places to visit on the boat!

My Mom and sister drove the car down to meet us there, since the boat would have to stay there for a few weeks while they fixed it. So during our boat trip, I was the First Mate!

The first mate’s duties include handling the dock lines on the bow (the front) of the boat, and keeping watch with the Captain while we’re under way. Usually this is my Mom’s job, but like I said before, she was driving the car with my sister.

For this trip it was just me and my dad! The trip started out fine but the water got rough the further down the bay we went. Luckily, we got there safely but some stuff fell out of the cabinets down in the cabin! 

While we were at Rock Hall, we swam in the marina pool, which has a fun swim jet that shoots water out extraordinarily fast to help with your swimming strength.

marina pool

We also swam at this cute little beach on the edge of the bay – until we saw a jellyfish washed up on the shore. The marina has a big playground with lots of things to do; corn hole and a giant chess set are just two examples.

marina giant chess

After several weekends of fun, we found out that the generator was fixed, so we had one last weekend at Rock Hall. The tide was extremely high all weekend; enough that it overflowed into the parking lot and the playground. My sister and I waded through the shallow water in the playground and we found a little jellyfish! We also heard a warning that the extra high tide was going to wash debris into the water, and that boaters should be careful not to hit any debris floating in the bay.

marina high tide

Again, my dad and I ran the boat back up to the Sassafras river. It was a nice day and we had a smooth ride; way nicer than the past trip. While we were cruising, I noticed that land far off in the distance seemed to be floating above the water. My dad said it was an optical illusion, like when you think you see puddles on a hot road. 

When we got about half way back, we started seeing sticks, seaweed and big logs floating in the bay. Me and my dad stood up and kept a careful watch to make sure we didn’t hit anything. Once we turned into the Sassafras river, we saw less debris and it started to feel safer to sit back down and enjoy the breeze. When we finally made it back to our marina, we found that my sister and my mom were waiting for us at the dock. It was a great adventure to experience on the Chesapeake bay! 

family boat trip

Watch the Video of our Boat Trip

Here’s a video with highlights from our boat trip to Rock Hall (including me as first mate!)


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Emma Seltzer

View posts by Emma Seltzer
Emma (aka "the Boat Girl") has been a boater since she was 2 weeks old and practically learned how to walk on the boat. She is the inspiration for the book The Amazing Adventures of Boat Girl and enjoys spending her summers boating with family on the Chesapeake Bay.
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