Oystermen of Chesapeake Bay

Oystermen of Chesapeake Bay

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Around the turn of the 20th century, the skipjack was the vessel of choice for oystermen who made their living on the Chesapeake Bay. However, today only a handful of the sailboats are used for commercial dredging during Maryland's oyster season, which runs November through March.

The owner of one is Capt. David Whitelock, who says commercial fishing runs deep in his family. Two members aboard his skipjack, a 109-year-old sailboat named Hilda M. Willing, are cousins. And only after buying the vessel from another family of watermen did Whitelock discover that it once belonged to his great-great grandfather.

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