Chesapeake Bay Work Boats

Ship/Tug Photo index

Digital images reproduced from 35mm black and white negatives.
Images taken in 1974 in Annapolis, MD

On Maryland's Eastern Shore, the skipjack originated in the 1890s. It was better known as a small "two-sail bateau" with a V-hull. The craft evolved into a larger, hearty skipjack, powerful in light winds. Ranging in length from 25 to 50 feet, these boats have a shallow draft with centerboard and carry a single mast, two-sail sloop rig.

Skipjacks are the last working boats under sail in the United States. In winter, fleets of skipjacks used to dredge oysters from the floor of Chesapeake Bay. "Drudgin," as watermen called this process, was hard, cold, dirty, sometimes dangerous work.

© Copyright June 17, 2004 Maryland State Archives

City dock, Annapolis, MD

work boats
Skipjacks - "Ida May" and "Lady Katie"

work boats
Skipjack - "Bernice J"

work boats
Skipjack - "Kathryn"

work boats
Skipjack - "Martha Lewis"

work boats
Skipjacks - "Lady Katie" and "Ida May"

work boats
An oyster "buy boat"

work boats

work boats
Chesapeake Bay "Bugeye"

work boats
Skipjack under sail

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