Boatbuilders have been constructing vessels to ply the waterways of the Albemarle region for thousands of years. With many traditions passed along by generations before them, these crafters have shaped the Albemarle region into a diverse maritime haven by connecting communities together. Whether building boats for business or recreation or used as a means to freedom, boatbuilders, along with their vessels and shipyards, have impacted the maritime history of this region.
Boatbuilders of the Albemarle region have constructed renowned vessels for many uses, both work, and pleasure, many by intuition and feeling, the “Rock of the Eye.” Builders pass along knowledge and technique from one generation to the next: each adding their own unique yet innovative and daring style, making boatbuilding imperative to our culture. Boatbuilding has become a respected legacy in northeastern North Carolina by combining traditions with passion, commitment, and technology.
A few still build their own boats in their backyards, working tirelessly to keep traditions alive. Many coming from long-standing fishing traditions, these boatbuilders take pride in their work as they ensure that the art of boatbuilding continues for future generations. To learn more about boatbuilding traditions, please come and view our newest exhibit, Rock of the Eye: Boatbuilding Traditions Around the Albemarle Sound. The exhibit opens on October 10th and features graphics and artifacts that exemplify boatbuilding traditions that tie generations and communities together, showcasing the Albemarle region’s strong, diverse maritime heritage.