Contact: John Ford
Skipjack under sail on Chesapeake Bay, Maryland. Photo by Marion E. Warren (Marion E. Warren Collection, MSA SC1890-BP7506, Maryland State Archives).
In November 1999, the Maryland Commission for Celebration 2000 formed the Save Our Skipjacks Task Force. The Task Force considered ways to increase safety and minimize weather-related risks for commercial vessels. The Task Force also addressed the repair and maintenance of the fleet, and the availability of insurance coverage for the vessels and their crews.
Initial recommendations were made by the Task Force on April 17, 2000. Those recommendations brought relaxation of Department of Natural Resources regulations on the use of power for dredging; establishment of a loan program to repair and equip skipjacks (administered by the Maryland Historical Trust); and formation of a skipjack restoration center and educational program at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels (funded in part by the Maryland Historical Trust). The Task Force is still considering matters relating to the availability of affordable hull and liability insurance; sustained funding for the Museum restoration program; formal incorporation of the skipjack fleet into the State's tourism industry; and greater access to oysters for the skipjacks.
The Chesapeake Bay Skipjack Fleet has been recognized as a national treasure in danger of extinction. On June 6, 2002, the Fleet was named to the 2002 list of America's Eleven Most Endangered Historic Places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The Task Force has been inactive since September 2003.
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