Our Skipjack Heritage

In the 19th and early 20th centuries the Chesapeake Bay was the worlds largest single producer of oysters. The decline of oyster populations in the mid 19th century brought about a series of conservation laws limiting the dredging of oysters to mostly sail powered vessels, the most suitable of which was the Skipjack.

Originating on Maryland's Eastern Shore in the late 1800's, the Skipjack was better known as a two-sail bateau with a V-hull.
Ranging in length from 25 to 50 feet, the shallow draft with centerboard, single mast, two-sail sloop rigged vessel once roamed the Chesapeake in the hundreds. Most were built by house carpenters and local watermen who fished for the elusive bivalve, the oyster. Now, some 100 plus years later, only a handful fish the bay, numbering in just the teens.
Skipjack Heritage, Inc. promotes appreciation for the Skipjacks, their owners, captains, crews and families, as well as the seafood industry and the watermen's way of life in general, in order to preserve the social and cultural heritage for current and future generations.
Funded in part by a grant from
The Lower Shore Heritage Area Council

July 15, 2017


Deal Island, MD

NBC interviews Skipjack Heritage Inc.

Ida May (25K)

On a recent visit to Deal Island, NBC News reporters from Washington and New York talked with Robert (Bobby) Shores, Treasurer of SHI, to discuss our local history and heritage.

Topics ranged from the hurricane of 1954 (Hazel), to Deal Island as Devil's Island, and of course to waterman and their beloved boats.

Shores explained the SHI mission: to bring to Life the history and heritage of Deal Island, her harbors, and her famous bateaux, the Skipjacks. Shores pointed out that SHI pays homage to the Waterman's way of life. He stressed SHI's commitment to education and community involvement.

Longtime SHI supporter and resident, Andrew Webster provided interesting background as well.

Down at Scott's Cove, Jack Willing, SHI Executive Director focused on the Skipjack, its impact and its place in Chesapeake Bay history.

This discussion comes as SHI commences to rebuild its 117 year-old Skipjack, the George W. Collier, led by Restoration Committee Chair, John Moscoe and legendary captain Harold (Stoney) Whitelock.


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Skipjack Heritage Inc.

George W. Collier Skipjack Restoration

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