20-foot Crab Scrape

The Patuxent Small Craft Guild is building a modified Smith Island Crab Scrape as its winter project. This traditional Chesapeake workboat is found in the shallow waters off Tangier and Smith Islands, harvesting the soft shell blue crab. The open boat features a low freeboard, a broad beam, and a shallow V-bottom, characteristics suited to harvesting crabs using a crab scrape, a type of dredge. A sharply rising bow and a box transom help handle the bay’s choppy waters.
Like the building of the typical crab scrape, Darlene, construction follows a traditional method of first establishing a framework that includes keel, chines, and bulkheads on an inverted structure.  Next, the sides and bottom are fixed to the frame.

Crab Scrape Darlene at Smith Island

CMM 3709

Model of full-size boat

The hull form will retain the distinctive shape of the crab scrape.  However, the bottom and sides will not be planked but constructed of marine plywood.

Second Model Showing Completed Hull Form

Sometimes, boatbuilders make a model to help visualize the full-size boat.  In a departure from traditional crab scrapes, this version will have an electric motor for propulsion.

The Process of Building a 20-foot Crab Scrape

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