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Group aims to preserve traditional boat crafting


Staff writer

The Patuxent Small Craft Guild recently finished building a crabbing skiff at the Calvert Marine Museum.

The traditional, 16-foot cedar-planked crabbing skiff was built from the memory of its designer and retired boat builder David Lawrence, said PSCG Boatwright George Surgent.

“They never put any of their plans on paper,” Surgent said of boat builders.

He said that is what PSCG is trying to preserve: traditional boat builders.

The PSCG, comprised of museum volunteers, maintains the museum’s fleet of small watercraft under the direction of Surgent. The volunteers build, restore, sail and row traditional craft indigenous to the region.

“It makes other people aware of the whole boat building tradition of Southern Maryland,” Surgent said.

The crab skiff was completed in about a year, Surgent said, explaining that the PSCG only meets on Tuesdays and Saturdays and had other projects going simultaneously.

He said there are about 12 active volunteers with PSCG.

“A majority of them, from time to time, have worked on the skiff,” he said.

He explained the skiff was sold to keep the boat building going, but the public has the opportunity to see other PSCG-built boats at the museum, including the traditional-style sailboat on the museum’s lawn.