A Deadrise crab scrape is a traditional Chesapeake workboat that was used in the shallow waters off Tangier and Smith Islands to harvesting the soft shell blue crab. These open boats featured 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. This model is of a Deadrise crab scrape; It is built to 1:16 scale and is L-23” x W-8” x H-9”. The model and everything in it are handmade and built to as close to the 1:16 scale as possible.
The Chesapeake Bay Deadrise, official boat of the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the modern fishing boat used in the Chesapeake Bay. Watermen use these boats year round for harvesting all types of marine life: crabs, oysters, clams, rockfish (striped bass), eels, ect. Traditionally wooden hulled, the Deadrise is characterized by a sharp V bow that quickly becomes a flat V shape moving aft along the bottom of the hull. These boats tend to have a small cabin on the forward of the boat with a large open cockpit and work area. “Deadrise” refers to the line rising upward horizontally from the keel rabbet (the point where the top of the keel connects to the hull) to the chine (or sideboards). It rises on each side of the keel in a straight line, or “dead rise,” creating the flat V shape of the bottom of the hull. The bottom of the hull is planked in a herring bone pattern with planks running diagonally from keel to chine. The sides are planked longitudinally. As a result it is both useful in shallows and very forgiving when the Bay turns rough. Typically, the hull is 35-45 feet long. Originally equipped with extremely small marine motors, their propulsion systems were replaced with more powerful automobile engines and finally with large, high-torque producing diesel engines. Nowadays, you’d have a difficult time finding a deadrise commercially built the old way. Most of the boats are fiberglass, a few are cold-molded wood and fewer still are aluminum.
I currently have three different types of Deadrise boat models, however all are built to the same 1:16 scale.
This square stern Deadrise model is L-31” x W-8.5” x H-19”. The square stern Deadrise was traditionally used to harvest crabs during the summer months.
This round stern Deadrise is the same size as the square stern but, unlike the other two Deadrise models, it is very basic with no extra details. Most Deadrise boats were adjusted depending on the season and primary harvest.
This round square Deadrise model is built to the same 1:16 scale but is larger than the other two. The round stern Deadrise was traditionally used to harvest oysters during the winter months. The detailing on this model is immense, from the extrensive rigging in the pulling system and the full oyster bushels to the cabin window and door that open and close.