Keep romance afloat with a date on the water

There's no better way to revive the romance in your relationship than spending time together on the water, and Maryland provides plenty of opportunities.

Chris and Meghan Farrell discovered this past June, that spending time together on the water is something truly special. The couple, from Lancaster, Pa., celebrated Meghan's birthday with a sunset sail and "boat and breakfast" overnight on the Schooner Woodwind, which sails from Annapolis.

"Being on Woodwind, having cocktails, learning about the area and seeing the sunset was amazing," Meghan says. "Then, as an added bonus, sleeping on the boat and waking up for breakfast on the deck, overlooking the Chesapeake, was just beautiful."

With its many on-the-water activities, the Chesapeake region has a maritime date for every couple, from history buffs and sports enthusiasts to those who just want to spend a relaxing few hours in each other's company. Here are some of our favorite dates for seafaring sweethearts.

WaterDateWoodwindWSailing date

As Chris and Meghan Farrell discovered, sailing on the Schooner Woodwind is a lovely way to see the Chesapeake Bay and spend time together. Even if you don't have time for an overnight, the Woodwind offers plenty of two-hour sailing options.

"What I love about it as a date is that you're doing something adventurous and so memorable," says Captain Jennifer Kaye.

Woodwind sails also allow guests to engage as much as they'd like. The more involved you get, the more exciting the experience can be, Kaye says.

"Do you help with the sails? Take a turn sailing the boat? It's really special," she says.

Port: Annapolis Marriott Waterfront Hotel, 80 Compromise St., Annapolis
Departures: Two-hour public sails at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. between May 9 and Aug. 30; and at 12:30 and 3 p.m. from April 18-May 8, Sept. 28-Oct. 4 and Oct. 21-31.
Fare: Tickets range from $27 to $44. The Boat & Breakfast package is $305 per cabin.
schoonerwoodwind.com, 410-263-7837

Fishing together

One of the few things better than spending time on the water with the one you love is spending time on the water and coming home with a rockfish or two to show for it.

Hiring a private charter can be a fun and bountiful way to pass a morning or afternoon, according to Captain Steve Murray, operator of the My Girl, a 35-foot Crusader fishing boat.

"It's very private because it's a charter boat – and it's just fun to do!" he says. "Being on the outdoors, on the water, seeing the fish and the birds and the rays. And you can see the lighthouses and the Bay bridge."

Port: Anchor Yacht Basin Marina, 1048 Turkey Point Rd., Edgewater
Fare: Charters available by reservation at $450 for a half-day (five hours) and $600 for a full day (eight hours).
mygirlcharters.com, 410-570-1125

Cruising the ChesapeakeWaterDateWatermarkSunset Cruise Miss AnneW

The crews who work on Watermark Cruise's boats, which leave from Baltimore and Annapolis harbors, are no strangers to romance.

"We have a lot of proposals," laughs Katie Redmiles, Watermark's marketing specialist.

The company offers tours of the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding areas and has a cruise to suit every couple. Options include upbeat Wednesday Night Races happy hour cruises to low-key tours of Annapolis's creeks.

The Spa Creek cruise on the Princess Anne is especially popular, Redmiles says.

"It's an intimate setting — only 22 people can fit — and a unique experience, low to the water and local," she says. "You go around Spa Creek and see the beautiful homes."

Port: Annapolis and Baltimore harbors
Departures: Between March and October, cruises are frequent throughout the day; in November they are weather-dependent.
Fare: Rates vary from $15 for adults and $6 for ages 3-11 (under 3 are free) for a 40-minute Annapolis cruise to $75 for adults and $68 for children for a full-day cruise on the bay.
watermarkcruises.com, 410-268-7601

WaterDateSUP2WStand-up paddleboarding

Active couples will get a kick out of an early morning stand-up paddleboard (SUP) session in or around Annapolis. The sport is great exercise but also calm and quiet enough for conversation and sightseeing.

"The neat thing about stand-up is there are so many aspects. You can go for a leisurely paddle, go for a hard workout, take it to the beach in small waves, do yoga. It's really versatile," says Mark Bandy, co-owner of East of Maui Surf Shop, which rents SUPs and provides lessons for newbies.

Bandy advises sticking to early morning hours, when boat traffic is quieter. It's both more enjoyable and safer, he says.

Port: 2303 Forest Dr., Suite E, Annapolis
Fare: Rentals range from $50 per day to $250 per week; lessons, which last 1 ½ to 2 hours, are $65 per person.
eastofmauiboardshop.com; 410-934-4220

Exploring history on a skipjack

Couples who love the maritime life, history and oysters, will enjoy a sail on the Nathan of Dorchester out of Cambridge. The skipjack is open for public sails, charters and special events from April through November.

As a skipjack, the Nathan is a functional dredging boat; two-hour sails include dredging demonstrations. "Dredging for oysters is a new experience for most," explains Dana McGrath, one of the volunteers who manages the boat. "Hard work is part of the waterman's life."

But don't worry – a trip on the Nathan doesn't mean too much work for the guests. "Our crew does all the work, so just sit back and enjoy," McGrath says.

Port: Long Warf, at the end of High Street in Cambridge
Departure: Public two-hour sails are 1 to 3 p.m. Saturdays from May through October. One-hour sails are scheduled one Sunday a month from 1 to 2 p.m. June through September.
Fare: Two-hour sails are $30 for adults, $10 for ages 6-12 and free for children under 6. One-hour sails are $15 for adults and $7 for ages 6-12.
skipjack-nathan.org, 410-228-7141

By Kit Waskom Pollard