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Watermen’s Appreciation Day & 12th Annual Buyboat Reunion

Watermen’s Appreciation Day & 12th Annual Chesapeake Bay Buyboat Reunion 

Pricing includes the boat docking contest, the Chesapeake Bay Buyboat Reunion, celebrity appearances, live music, children’s and family activities, and much more. Steamed crabs, and other food and drinks are extra cost. This event is a joint fundraiser for the Talbot Watermen Association and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.


$18 Adult
$10 CBMM Member Adult & Licensed Watermen Adult*
$8 Children 6-17
$6 CBMM Member Child & Licensed Watermen Child*
FREE Children 5 & Under
*Must show license

Crabs – sold inside the gate at $25/dozen while they last.

JUST ANNOUNCED! (July 25, 2016): Josh Harris and Casey McManus from Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” will be at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum for Watermen’s Appreciation Day, Sunday August 14, 2016





Tickets for the event and crabs will be available at the gate, the day of the event. Watermen and their immediate family members must show proper identification for discount.

*Absolutely NO CARRY-ON Alcohol is permitted for this event. All alcohol must be purchased on premise with a valid ID.

 crabsThe Talbot Watermen Association is bringing the 7th annual Watermen’s Appreciation Day to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum on Sunday, August 14, with the added attraction of the Chesapeake Buyboat Reunion being held at CBMM during the event. The event features a boat docking contest, celebrity appearances, steamed crabs and other foods, beer, family activities, and more.

This year, Watermen’s Day also offers the public the rare opportunity to see and board a collection of historic buyboats from around the mid-Atlantic region along CBMM’s docks and waterways, as CBMM hosts the 12th Annual Chesapeake Bay Buyboat Association’s reunion.

Celebrity appearances include Josh Harris and Casey McManus from the F/V Cornelia Marie on Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” series.

The festival’s “watermen’s rodeo” boat docking contest returns to the Miles River to its expanded location under the 1879 Hooper Strait Lighthouse. Bleacher seating will be provided for spectators to the contest, with plenty of food, live music, and family activities to round out the festival.

“The boat docking contest is a major draw for this event,” said TWA President Bunky Chance. “Last year we relocated the contest to the Lighthouse, giving spectators a larger, better vantage point while giving our boats more space on the water.”

The event is hosted by TWA in cooperation with CBMM, with proceeds benefiting both organizations.

Beginning at 11:00 a.m., you can watch professionals in the spirited boat docking contest along Navy Point. Starting at noon, the day’s catch of steamed crabs—served by watermen—will be available for $25 per dozen while they last, in addition to beer, water, soda, hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream, and more. Guests can pre-pay for crabs from 10:00 a.m. to noon on August 14th at either of the two crab tents at CBMM.

Also beginning at noon, live music with Bird Dog & the Road Kings playing from the historic Tolchester Beach Bandstand will have people tapping their toes and dancing along CBMM’s waterfront. Children and families can enjoy games and activities and the buyboats that are at CBMM throughout the day.

buyboat reunion 1Buyboats were used to haul seafood and cargo along Chesapeake Bay waterways before many of the Bay’s peninsulas were connected by bridges. As the seafood harvest declined and highways became the mode of travel, the large graceful buyboats faded from local waters, leaving no more than 30 of the oyster buyboats remaining on the Bay.

As part of the annual reunion, the buyboats and their owners will be at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum August 12-14, with dockside tours offered to CBMM guests to stand on the decks, chat with their owners, and understand the boats’ importance in history.

During Watermen’s Day, festival-goers can take part in a silent auction, with Chesapeake-related items available to the highest bidders, including work by noted Chesapeake artist Marc Castelli. The auction takes place in the Small Boat Shed, with bids taken until 4:30 p.m., and all proceeds supporting the Talbot Watermen Association.

Throughout the day, festival-goers can get an up-close view of CBMM’s floating fleet of historic Chesapeake vessels, including the 1889 bugeye Edna E. Lockwood, a registered National Historic Landmark whose log-hull is under restoration now through 2018. During the festival, guests will also have full access to CBMM’s 12 exhibition buildings, including the 1879 Hooper Strait Lighthouse.

“Watermen’s Day is an annual favorite among locals and guests alike,” said CBMM President Kristen Greenaway. “You can meet many of the watermen who work to bring seafood to tables across the region, while having a great time celebrating the Chesapeake in such an incredibly authentic way. And this year, we are honored to welcome the Chesapeake Bay Buyboat Association to CBMM.”

Admission to the 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. event includes the Buyboat reunion, boat docking contest, celebrity appearances, and live music at $18 for adults, and $8 for children 6-17, with all children five years of age and under admitted free. CBMM members along with licensed watermen and their immediate families get discounted admission at $10 per adult, and $6 per children ages 6-17. Admission can be purchased online in advance on this page, with tickets also sold at the door the day of the event. Steamed crabs, beer, and additional food and beverages will be available for purchase.

Event parking will be available at St. Michaels High School, with free shuttle service to CBMM running throughout the day.

For safety reasons, non-service dogs need to be kept home during CBMM festivals, including Watermen’s Appreciation Day. Leashed dogs are only permitted on the museum’s campus during regular operating hours. Carry-on alcohol by boat or land is prohibited.

For more information, call 410-745-2916.

See photos in our Flickr album of 2015’s Watermen’s Day:

Festival: Watermen's Appreciation Day at CBMM