One of the uses for buyboats in years past came from the need to get oysters to market quickly. Perhaps as a conservation effort, Virginia and Maryland banned dredging oysters with boats that had an engine, but permitted oyster dredging under sail.
Buyboats, with their powerful engines, would travel to the sailing fleet and “buy” oysters from the sailing vessel captains, and take them to market. This allowed the sailing fleet to stay on the oyster grounds, where they remained productive.
Some surviving buyboats are retired as pleasure boats and have been restored to their former grandeur, which was evident at the “Homecoming of the Buyboats” in Urbanna last weekend.
On August 2-3 more than a dozen of these historic buyboats docked in Urbanna for the fifth time as part of the Chesapeake Bay Buyboat Association rendezvous.