What's This All About, Anyway?

Once a year local and national attention is focused on the Annapolis Harbor for a strange but compelling competition, the Slaughter Across the Water "International" Tug of War staged by the Maritime Republic of Eastport. Drawing on the rivalry between Eastport, the neighborhood across Spa Creek from downtown Annapolis, and the city itself, civic pride on both sides has allowed this zany event to improve more than community morale.

Fun With A Purpose

In the past four years, the hilarious fun of the Slaughter Across the Water raised $62,387 for charities, drawing such a crowd that it has been featured on CNN, Fox, Channel 13, and other media outlets, including the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, and the Annapolis Capital.

It is a family and community event of such considerable scale that it literally can't be missed! The Coast Guard allows us to close the Annapolis Harbor for two hours while the teams on either side of the water tug away during the scheduled "heats."

The rope is extended literally across the harbor from Second Street in Eastport to Susan C. Campbell Park at City Dock in Annapolis. The tuggers are not pulled into the water. Instead, the center of the rope is marked with a float and a small helium-filled blimp. Two equidistant points in the water are then marked with floats. The winning side is determined when the center of the rope crosses one of the floats. There will be nine tug "heats." Judges will be aboard a boat close to the rope, closely monitoring the events as radio personalities broadcast live to the world! Close radio contact between Tug officials on both sides of the harbor ensure that tugging starts at the same time and that the teams observe the rules.

While insurance regulations and common sense prevent anyone from being dragged into the water during a tug, there is nothing preventing "volunteers" from the losing side of each heat to "volunteer" to jump into the water as atonement for having lost--in fact, it's required. These people are called Designated Dunkees and every team must have one. Contestants are given points for style and technique in the water entry process.

The Tug transforms Downtown Annapolis and Eastport, with a festival-like atmosphere that includes food vendors, face-painting, clowns, cheering crowds, and all sorts of local color.

Teams consisting of all men, all women, and coed have traditionally been the anchor teams for the tugs, earning the Maritime Republic of Eastport bragging rights for the past four years over its cousins across the Spa Creek, renamed The Gulf of Eastport for the occasion.

Businesses also sponsor teams and get prime recognition from the crowds that gather and the media attention, while local charities benefit from the money raised.

The Maritime Republic of Eastport sponsors theevent as part of its commitment to make our entire community a better place to live; a commitment from private groups that is an outstanding example of how to supplement local, state and federal government activities.

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We Like it This Way. Up the Republic!

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