Chesapeake Bay Buyboat
Eastern Shore

What is a Buyboat Anyway?

Chesapeake Bay Buyboat
Chesapeake Bay Buyboat – The P. E. Pruitt


The Chesapeake Bay Buy Boat Reunion was held this year (August 3-4, 2012) at Somers Cove Marina in Crisfield, Maryland. What’s a Buy Boat or Buyboat? It’s a boat whose captain would buy a waterman’s catch directly off that waterman’s boat, and then take the catch to one of the large Chesapeake markets such as Crisfield, Norfolk or Baltimore. The Buyboat captain was the middle-man, and offered waterman the opportunity to spend more time harvest fish and oysters from the Chesapeake Bay.

According to Chesapeake Bay Buyboats by Larry Chowning, buyboats “range in size from 40-100 feet …have frame-built hulls, some are log built and most are dedrise …the distinguishing characteristics …are that ther is a mast and boom configuration forward of the hold, the pilot house or house is aft of the hold, and the hull is decked over.”  <– thank you to the Captain of the F. D. Crockett and the Deltaville Maritime Museum for that excellent excerpt.

They were called “buy” boats because they bought the catch from smaller boats.  When they weren’t buying from waterman, Buyboats also had crews that tonged for oysters, crabbed and even hauled freight.   The Buyboat Reunion in Crisfield allowed visitors to see and board restored Buyboats and chat with their captains about the history of the boat and the process of restoration.

This 1:37 video shows photo images of the 15 Buyboats docked in Crisfield for this event.

CRISFIELD -Dubbed the Seafood Capital of the World

Crisfield is a small town in Somerset County that lies at the southern-most point of the state of Maryland.  It’s situated relatively close to the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, and at one time was one of the major seafood markets in the Atlantic.  Buyboats were a common site at this port.  This Buyboat Reunion is only one of many events held in Crisfield each year.  Other events include the National Hard Crab Derby, the J. Millard Tawes Crab and Clambake, The Softshell Spring Fair and Freedomfest.

Miss Crustacean 2011
Miss Crustacean 2011 at the Buyboat Reunion


*** Miss Crustacean welcomes visitors to the Buyboat Reunion.  A local Crisfield young lady is crowned every year at the National Hard Crab Derby.  It’s a life-long honor.


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