(WILMINGTON, Del.) – For nearly two decades, Lewes was an annual summer destination for
Kalmar Nyckel, The Tall Ship of Delaware. It was a highlight of the sailing season for the ship’s
crew and local fans.
Unfortunately, the ship is unable to visit Lewes in 2019 due to the high level of silt at the Lewes Ferry Terminal finger pier dock. It is the second consecutive year that Delaware’s Tall Ship could not berth and sail from the same dock due to high silt levels.
“This decision comes with much remorse, as Lewes, Delaware, is an amazing summer
destination and has always been one of Kalmar Nyckel’s favorite ports. The ship used to spend
a month of the sailing season at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry serving summer visitors,” explains
Cathy Parsells, Executive Director of the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation.
“We have explored many options, but the silt build-up has made it too shallow for the ship to dock much less sail.”
The Kalmar Nyckel Foundation and the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) have been
working together in an attempt to find a solution that would bring the ship back to Lewes.
However, the cost to remedy the situation for three years is nearly $3 million. Neither DRBA
nor the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation have funding for a project of this magnitude.
“We have been working with DRBA to determine if funding and permits could be secured for
dredging the dock for a return this year,” says Parsells. “As much as we would like to be there,
the cost of dredging is prohibitive.”
“Our engineering department performed due-diligence on the parameters and costs associated
with dredging the finger pier dock at the Lewes Terminal,” notes Delaware River and Bay
Authority Executive Director Tom Cook. “We have so many other infrastructure obligations at
the Bridge and Ferry that have to come first.
While the Kalmar Nyckel is a wonderful attraction that is popular with maritime enthusiasts and history buffs and we’ll miss hosting her at the Lewes Terminal, we simply can’t justify spending that amount of money.”
Kalmar Nyckel Not Returning to Lewes in 2019.
The Kalmar Nyckel will continue to offer public sails in Wilmington and Historic New Castle in
2019 as well as onboard crew training programs this spring and summer.
The Kalmar Nyckel Foundation is a non-profit educational organization with the mission of
preserving and promoting the cultural and maritime heritage of Delaware and The Delaware
Valley for the education and enrichment of all. The Foundation is a volunteer-based
organization that built, owns and operates Kalmar Nyckel. The Tall Ship of Delaware is a
present-day reproduction of the flagship from the 1638 expedition that founded the colony of
Launched in 1997, Kalmar Nyckel serves as a floating classroom and an inspirational platform
that offers people of all ages a variety of sea- and land-based recreational and educational
experiences. The Foundation also serves as a catalyst for social and economic development and
outreach in and beyond the state of Delaware. For more information on Kalmar Nyckel sails,
tours, charters, educational programs, volunteer opportunities and its home berth at the
Tatiana and Gerret Copeland Maritime Center, visit www.kalmarnyckel.org, call (302) 429-7447
and follow us on Facebook. Online tickets for sails can be purchased at
The DRBA, a bi-state governmental agency created by Compact in 1962, owns and operates the Delaware Memorial Bridge, the Cape May- Lewes Ferry, and the Forts Ferry Crossing. The DRBA also manages corporate and aviation properties through its economic development powers - two airports in New Jersey (Millville Airport and Cape May Airport) and three in Delaware (New Castle Airport, Civil Air Terminal and Delaware Airpark). All DRBA operating revenues are generated through the bridge, ferry and airport facilities. For more information, please visit www.drba.net.