Kiptopeke's WWII Breakwater Ships Featured on Science Channel

Ever wondered what makes Virginia’s Kiptopeke State Park stand out? Other than some beautiful Chesapeake Bay scenery, the answer has something to do with lots and lots of concrete.

Photo: Virginia State Parks

Photo: Virginia State Parks

On January 10, viewers can get an up-close look at the massive concrete ships that form the park’s breakwater during an episode of Impossible Engineering on Discovery’s Science Channel.

During the steel shortage brought on by World War II, more than 20 concrete ships were built on orders from the US Maritime Commission. Of the vessels that served during the conflict, nine made their way to Kiptopeke, the 562-acre state park on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

The ships were initially meant to protect the now-closed Little Creek-Cape Charles Ferry terminal. The ferry was rendered unnecessary after the construction of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, which offered drivers an easier way from the shore to Virginia Beach.

These days, the concrete leviathans stand watch as they protect the park’s pier and beach.

Photo: Virginia State Parks

Photo: Virginia State Parks

Visitors are permitted to paddle around the ships during the summer months. For anglers, the park says that “the concrete ships…offer some of Virginia’s finest fishing.”

Impossible Engineering airs this Thursday, January 10, at 9 p.m.

-Laura Adams Boycourt

Photo: Virginia State Parks

Photo: Virginia State Parks

Laura Boycourt