Skip to main content

Chesapeake marine icon remembered

Robert P. "Bob" Slaff, a former marine-supply vendor and journalist who wrote widely on Chesapeake Bay maritime and environmental matters, died March 8 from congestive heart failure at CroftonCare and Rehabilitation Center. The Epping Forest resident was 89.

Slaff's lifelong affair with boats and boating began on a family vacation to Harvey's Lake, which is near Wilkes-Barre, when he tried unsuccessfully sailing a Barnaget Bay Pumpkin Seed sailboat, which he immediately rolled over.

In 1958, Mr. Slaff founded Inland Marine in the basement of his Kingston home and became a successful distributor of British Seagull Motors, Avon inflatable boats, Marlow Ropes and other marine equipment.

He earned his Coast Guard captain's license and began a charter boat business, where he took anglers on charters aboard his 30-foot boat, the Inmar, and continued doing so until he was 86.

"Being a charter fishing captain on the Chesapeake Bay is like being aristocracy," Mr. Slaff told The Capital in an interview.

With his large and distinctive white handlebar mustache, dark Greek fishermen's cap and vanity license plates that read "BOATBOB," Slaff was a familiar and welcomed presence for more than three decades along the Annapolis waterfront.

Click here for the full remembrance of a true nautical character in The Baltimore Sun.