Chesapeake Bay Buyboats

Buyboat is the most familiar term for a particular style of traditional Chesapeake workboat, but it suggests only one of many jobs done by these versatile craft. As buyboats, they bought seafood from watermen working small boats, then transported and sold the catch to packing houses or city merchants. As run boats or runners, they were the company-owned vessels that transferred the catch to the company docks. As freight boats or bay freighters, they hauled many things from here to therewatermelons, lumber, coal, canning suppliesoften doing the work that would later be taken over by trucks. As packet boats, they carried mail, supplies, and passengers between the mainland and the bays island communities. They served under the U.S. Coast Guard in World War II, at least one was officially a school boat, and an untold number of them may have run rum in the days of Prohibition. If those were not enough names, their builders called them deck boats, because the hulls were decked over to create cargo holds, allowing the boats to work in many bay fisheries. In Chesapeake Bay Buyboats, Larry S. Chowning has produced a marvelous record of these boats. He introduces the builders, the owners, the captains, and the families and extended families of all. Much of the text is told through interviews with the men who built the boats and the men and women who workedand sometimes playedaboard them. The illustrations are an eclectic selection. The authors photographs, spanning his twenty-year career as a newspaper reporter living and working in the heart of buyboat country, are supplemented by the contributions of many individuals who were directly connected to the boats.