The Mid-Atlantic oyster fishery continues to support and encourage the building of new commercial fishing boats. Delaware Bay Shipbuilding Co. LLC of Leesburg, N. J. is the latest recipient of a new boat build for the Delaware Bay oyster fishery.

The firm is building a 64’ x 20’ x 4’ 5” vessel for Bivalve Packing Company (BPC) out of Port Norris, N.J. BPC was founded in 1946, is home to the East Point Brand oyster, and one of the larger oyster aquaculture firms in New Jersey.

The new boat will be worked on Delaware Bay by BPC to dredge and maintain oyster grounds by moving, cleaning and replanting shell.

The general layout of the vessel that has the pilothouse aft is similar in style to the historical wooden Chesapeake Bay buyboats. These boats were used on Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay for buying oysters and planting and seeding of oyster beds. With the resurgence and growth of recent years in the region’s oyster business, there’s a need for new modern vessels.

The new vessel is an eastern rig/schooner style with the house aft that allows for plenty of workspace forward. The raised pilothouse with nine windows provides good visibility and oversight of the work space for the helmsman. 

The hull is built out of Coreten steel, with foredeck and bulkheads made of stainless steel, and an aluminum pilothouse. The boat will be powered by a Cummins QSM11 rated at 455 h.p.

A Genset 12 KW Phasor generator will run the electrical systems and and a Cummins QSB 4.5-m auxiliary hydraulic pump engine will run three conveyor belts, two tumbler sorters for washing and cleaning farm grown oysters, and two main winches used to tow a 250 lb. oyster dredge. A Simrad Marine electronic package will be installed.

The boat is designed by Farrell and Norton Naval Architects out of New Castle, N. J. The architectural firm specializes in design of commercial workboats and has of late been busy designing commercial fishing boats for mid-Atlantic fisheries.

Farrell and Norton recently designed two combination boats for the Atlantic scallop/bottom trawling fisheries, as reported in National Fisherman in September 2022. Jemison Marine and Shipbuilding in Bayou La Batre, Ala., completed one of those in September and another is scheduled to be delivered in summer of 2023 – both for Atlantic Shellfish Inc. of Cape May, N. J.

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Larry Chowning is a writer for the Southside Sentinel in Urbanna, Va., a regular contributor to National Fisherman, and the author of numerous books.

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