Maryland's State Boat: the Skipjack

Photograph courtesy of the Governor's Press Office, State of Maryland

The Skipjack is a boat designed to harvest oysters in shallow waters. Its nearly flat bottom and retractable centerboard allowed the Skipjack to go almost anywhere. It is also easy to handle. It can make sharp turns needed for making frequent passes over oyster beds.

The Skipjack was named the State Boat in 1985. Skipjacks (named after leaping fish) are the last working boats under sail in the United States. In winter, they dredge (scrape) oysters from the floor of the Chesapeake Bay.

Maryland still has an old law that allows only Skipjacks to dredge for oysters in the Chesapeake Bay, however, the law is no longer enforced. No new Skipjacks are being built because they are too expensive for watermen.

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© Copyright October 16, 1997, Office of the Secretary of State.
Last Modified July 02, 2003 .