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The Crab Boat

Taken from The Humber, A. Watts, 1980...

Although an import from Cromer and Sheringham and, therefore, not strictly a 'Humber Type' the Crab Boat was widely used on the lower Humber by professional fishermen and, in 1908 it was recorded that there were 17 of them 'on the wire' outside the small lockpit at the Fish Dock at Grimsby. Average size was between 16'0" and 19.0" overall length, and from 6'3" to 7'0" beam with exceptionally boats of 21'0" x 8'0". Oars, 12'0" big, were leaded near the hand to balance them and were used through rowlock holes in the top strake.

The boats were clench built of 3/8" planking on bent joggled ribs closely spaced amidships but wider apart near the ends; the top strake is of heavier section, there being no inwale. Floorboards were only fitted aft to provide a working platform for the fisherman when hauling pot5. Three well braced thwarts were usual, the forward one carrying the mast and rig dipping lug-sail. Although lightly built and usually unballasted, they were, nevertheless, good sea boats and particularly good to weather in a blow.

The Crab Boat

Visitor Comments

Posted by rob at 21/11/2007 08:32
there is humber crab boat at eyemouth museum
Posted by Mike Potter at 07/09/2010 20:53
I think there's only one operating traditional crab boat in Cromer now. All the rest are fibre-glass and of a different design. Only a few years ago they were nearly all traditional (with inboard motors, of course).
Posted by geraldine green at 18/09/2015 15:32
INTERESTED IN THE CRAB BOATS. I volunteer at RESCUEWOODENBOATS in norfolk. Do any remain in Goole or is there any history of them?
Posted by Corby Bunting at 19/09/2015 18:39
A very interesting addition to the collection of craft appearing in this page. however anyone attempting to find crabs around Goole would, I believe go hungry.
In 1949 I commenced my 6 year apprenticeship as boat builder at Smith Bros. Bridge St on Clinker built craft. Then at the timber Pond on Carvel Craft.The open boats were 19/12 ft Keel boats. 15ft. Jolly boats. 18ft Ships lifeboats.all craft built using a half mould amidships.
The lifeboats had to meet stringent board of Trade ruling.
I recall Eel boats being used on the river Which were ex Keel boats but with a foward stowage locker for the catch. some of these craft returned with more valuable cargo!
The method of propulsion was by standing up and facing the way the craft was going long oars with spade type handles.
The oars would be crossed. So the right hand would apply pressure to the left blade and vice versa. I have tried to find if this method was uique to the area. without success .
I left Goole in 1956 and carried on working in my trade along the South coast from Littlehampton to Lymington until my retirement in 1999
This may be of interest for readers interested in dying out craft
In 1967 I was working for one of the largest Yacht builders in the South Moody's of Swanwick. There were craft there that had been abandoned or forgotten. It was the policy of the yard if the craft had gone too far for resale to burn it and redeem some of the storage owed from Scrap Copper and Bronze
I had recognised the craft as a Humber Yawl.After notifying a member of the family that it had value on Humberside as a restorable classic. This gentleman after looking into it had it restored and sailed it hmself for many years

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