In the early spring, watermen on Smith Island are getting their boats ready in anticipation for the forthcoming crabbing season. Routine maintenance generally consists of cleaning the bottom and putting fresh coats of paint on. While some boats do not require a lot, others do - this is especially the case for older wooden boats. The ice and low tides that we had in early January 2018 did substantial damage to some boats.
Billy Reed's crab scraping boat is over 30 years old and was in dire need of work before the start of the season - he had two pumps running nearly full time to keep the barcat from sinking. Water had saturated some of the wood planks and expanded during the freeze. The result of the water expanding was gaps in between some of the planks and leaking, making the boat unsafe for working. He brought her to Chris Marshall's railway in Rhodes Point for repair, in hopes to get a few more years of work out of her.