The Reedville Fishermen’s Museum celebrated the 100th birthday of the buyboat Elva C at its annual Reedville Classic Boat Show earlier this month.
The museum owns and maintains the vessel, which is home-ported in Reedville. Chesapeake Bay buyboats, also called deck boats, were the largest wooden motor-powered deadrise/cross planked workboats built on the Bay. More of these boats were built in the decade of the 1920s than any other period and it is estimated there were as many as 2,000 in existence.
Today, there are an estimated 40 still around. The boats got the name buyboat because the vessels were used as a platform to purchase fish, crabs and oysters from watermen working out on the water. The boats were also called deck boats because they had planked decks with a house/pilothouse build up on the deck and positioned near the stern. The term deck boat is more universally appropriate because not all deck boats were used as buyboats.