Silting in Lewes ends Kalmar Nyckel visits


Silting in Lewes will bring an end for a nearly two-decade long sailing schedule by Delaware’s tall ship.

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,” says 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.

“Our engineering department performed due-diligence on the parameters and costs associated with dredging the finger pier dock at the Lewes Terminal,” said 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.”

The Kalmar Nyckel will continue to offer public sails in Wilmington and New Castle in 2019 as well as on board 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. The Tall Ship of Delaware is a present-day reproduction of the flagship from the 1638 expedition that founded the colony of New Sweden.

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.

Online tickets for sails can be purchased at

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