Legacy isn't built in a day
Virginia boatbuilding brothers pay tribute to a long oystering tradition
By Larry Chowning
In 2006 David and Mark Moore started building an oyster boat. This July — six years later — the 30-foot Legacy went into the water at Deep Creek Landing in Newport News, Va.
It’s not that the Moore brothers are slow boatbuilders; it’s just that other things got in the way. “The reason it took so long for us to build it was because we had to build it around our lives,” says David, who owns the boat.
“We both work other jobs, so we worked on the boat mostly during holidays or at nights. But sometimes we would knock off and it was months before either of us could get back to it. It nearly drove me crazy because I love building boats, but finding the time was very difficult.”
To be sure, the Moore family has been tied to boatbuilding and the lucrative James River oyster fishery for a long time. Their father, Billy Moore, who was involved in a documentary and a book on how to build wooden deadrise boats, along with other boatbuilders in the Deep Creek area, taught David and Mark boatbuilding.
The oystering connection goes back to the 1920s when their great-grandfather leased oyster grounds on the James and Warwick rivers. He also owned an oyster buy boat.
For years, Billy, David and Mark built boats primarily for their own use, but they didn’t always get to keep them, especially in the 1980s and ’90s when the market for deadrise oyster boats was strong along the James River. “Every time we got one built, someone would come along wanting to go oystering, usually around Thanksgiving, and offer us a crazy price for it. We would sell it and start another one,” David remembers.
He can reel off a list of those boats. “We built one in 1973, 1976, 1978, 1980, two in 1982, one in 1983, one in 1985, one in 1986, one in 1991 and the last one, besides this one we have just completed, was built in 1993.
“We were pretty busy building boats for a while, but Mark got into commercial contracting and I got into the metal fabrication business, and we just didn’t have time to build boats.”
National Fisherman Live: 9/23/14
In this episode:
'Injection' plan to save fall run salmon
Proposed fishing rule to protect seabirds
Council, White House talk monument expansion
Louisiana shrimpers hurt by price drop
Maine and New Hampshire fish numbers down
The Golden Gate Salmon Association will host its 4th Annual Marin County Dinner at Marin Catholic High School, 675 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Kentfield on Friday, Oct 10, with doors opening at 5:30 p.m.
The Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative is introducing its Chef Ambassador Program. Created to inspire and educate chefs and home cooks across the country about the unique qualities of lobster from Maine, the program showcases how it can be incorporated into a range of inspired culinary dishes.