The Chesapeake Bay’s historic buyboats are coming to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md. August 11 through August 14 as part of the 12th annual Chesapeake Bay Buyboat Reunion. The reunion tour kicks off at Tangier Island on August 3 and continues through August 16 at various ports along the Chesapeake Bay.
Early registrants for the St. Michaels leg of the reunion tour include the buyboats 55th Virginia, East Hampton, F. D. Crockett, Iva W., Muriel Eileen, Nellie Crockett, Peggy, PropWash, Thomas J., along with CBMM’s Old Point and Winnie Estelle.
During the buyboats’ stay in St. Michaels, museum guests can see the collection of buyboats along the waterfront, talk with their owners, and climb on board for dockside tours during museum hours. Guests can also get on the water aboard the museum’s 1920 buyboat Winnie Estelle, with scenic river cruises departing on the hour from the 1879 Hooper Strait Lighthouse from noon to 3:00 p.m. from Thursday to Saturday.
The event is hosted annually by the Chesapeake Bay Buyboat Association, which is made up of Northern and Southern Fleets spanning from New Jersey to Florida. The Northern Fleet is commanded by Captain Kevin Flynn with the Southern Fleet under the command of Captain John England.
Buyboats were used to haul seafood and cargo along Chesapeake Bay waterways before many of the Bay’s peninsulas were connected by bridges. As the seafood harvest declined and highways became the mode of travel, the large graceful buyboats faded from local waters, leaving no more than 30 of the oyster buyboats remaining on the Bay.
“It’s a big deal to have these boats coming to St. Michaels,” commented CBMM Boatshop Manager Michael Gorman, who is organizing the St. Michaels leg of this year’s trip. “The Buyboat Reunion hasn’t been to St. Michaels since 2008, so we’re pretty excited to have these historic boats back on our docks this August.”
On Sunday, August 14, the Buyboat Reunion will be combined with Watermen’s Appreciation Day at CBMM, which will feature a boat docking contest, celebrity appearances, steamed crabs and other foods, live music, beer, and more.
Buyboats will offer dockside tours at Watermen’s Day, which is a joint fundraiser for CBMM and the Talbot Watermen’s Association. Tickets will be available at the gate the day of the event, and are $18 for adults, and $8 for children ages 6-17, with all children under six years of age admitted free. Museum members along with licensed watermen and their families get discounted admission at $10 per adult, and $6 per children ages 6-17. Boat rides, steamed crabs, beer, and additional food and beverages will be available for purchase.
CBMM is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with general admission for non-festival Buyboat Reunion dates good for two days and priced at $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and students, and $6 for children ages 6-17. Museum members and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge. All admission rates include access to CBMM 12 exhibition buildings and historic structures, including the 1879 Hooper Strait Lighthouse.