More than 300 kayakers paddled the 5-mile round trip from Canton Waterfront Park to Inner Harbor on Saturday to show their support for a clean, accessible and recreational waterway.

The annual event, known as the Baltimore Floatilla, was first held in 2016 by the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore and its Healthy Harbor initiative.

The band Thrillkiller led paddlers in the world’s first kayak-based performance of Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” complete with paddle thumping in sync with the famous song.

Their stage? None other than the famous Mr. Trash Wheel.

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Hal Ashman, head of Ultimate Watersports, the company that provided kayak rentals for the day, noted that many people still have perceptions of Inner Harbor, once lined with industry, as a polluted waterway and not for recreational activities.

“A big part of what we’re doing here is proving to people that both of those things are inaccurate,” he said. “The harbor is getting cleaner every year, and we have the data to back it.”

Ashman also discussed the coming positive impact of Baltimore Blueway, a network of water-based trails for paddlers dotted with public access points and connected by water to historical, cultural and environmental sites.

“As we have seen the cleaner and cleaner water on the Inner Harbor, we will continue to move in that direction. Along with that, of course, comes better and more exciting recreational opportunities to be on the harbor,” Ashman said.

This year’s Floatilla raised more than $15,000 for the support of a clean harbor.

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A kayaker on the Inner Harbor. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)
Paddlers make the five mile round trip journey from Canton Waterfront Park to the Inner Harbor during the annual Floatilla on June 10, 2023.
Kayakers on the Inner Harbor. (Kaitlin Newman)
Paddlers make the 5-mile round-trip journey from Canton Waterfront Park to the Inner Harbor during the annual Baltimore Floatilla. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)
Kayakers on the Inner Harbor. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)
Paddlers make the 5-mile round-trip journey from Canton Waterfront Park to the Inner Harbor during the annual Baltimore Floatilla. (Kaitlin Newman)
A paddler gives the "rock on" hand sign during the annual Floatilla on June 10, 2023.
A paddler gives a “rock on” hand sign. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)
Kayakers on the Inner Harbor. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)
Kayakers on the Inner Harbor. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)
Kayakers paddle on the Inner Harbor. (Kaitlin Newman)

Kaitlin Newman is a photojournalist specializing in multimedia coverage. Her main areas of focus are politics, conflict, feature and breaking news. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Professional Writing from Towson University, which is where she is also the professor of photojournalism.

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