Northwest Harbor is the gateway to Baltimores Inner Harbor, fells Point and Canton - the most active boating and tourism areas in Baltimore. The opening of Northwest Harbor is also home to Fort McHenry, where Francis Scott Key was anchored off when he wrote the Star Spangled Banner.
Fort McHenry's history began in 1776 during the Revolutionary War. The people of Baltimore feared an attack by the British and wanted to build a fort for protection. Anticipating an attack at any time, a fort of earthen mounds was constructed quickly. Originally, it was called Fort Whetstone, because of its location on Whetstone Point.
Fort McHenry became famous when the British tried to attack Baltimore during the War of 1812. When the bombardment began on September 13, 1814, there were 1,000 soldiers defending the fort. Some were federal soldiers who were stationed at Fort McHenry all the time. Many were volunteers from the city of Baltimore. Their commanding officer was Major George Armistead. For 25 hours, the British bombarded Fort McHenry, but the fort's artillery fire kept the British away. Baltimore was saved.
Use NOAA Chart 12218 and 12278.
Baltimore is a bustling commercial port, and as such, a close watch for tugs, tugs with tows and large freighters is always warranted.
Brewerton and Craghill channels lead the way into Baltimore. Brewerton Channel breaks off from the main Chesapeake Bay Channel near Tolchester on the Eastern Shore, and Craighill Channel leads up from the south, starting at Baltimore light off of the Magothy River, just north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
The two channels converge at the North Point Shoal to become Bewerton Channel, which leads in toward the Francis Scott Key Bridge (fixed vertical clearance 185 feet). Once clear of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, the Fort McHenry Channel bends to the northwest into Northwest Harbor, and then to Baltimores Inner Harbor.