The Workboats Book


The Workboats of Core Sound:  Stories and Photographs of a Changing World

Written and photographed by Lawrence S. Earley

Published by the University of North Carolina Press

Publication date:  Mid-October, 2013

Skiff in Atlantic Harbor marsh

Skiff in Atlantic Harbor marsh

In the Core Sound region of eastern North Carolina, boatbuilders built small but beautiful fishing vessels that could negotiate the shallow waters of the sound. Made out of the native woods of the region (juniper, longleaf pine), the boats enabled generations of people to make their living from the sea.

I began to photograph these boats in 1985, and in 2005 I took up the effort again to photograph the last of these workboats. I interviewed dozens of fishermen, boatbuilders and their families and what I found was fascinating: stories that went back generations about individual boats, about long-dead builders and the ways they built their boats, about the unique kind of fishing practiced in Core Sound, and about the reasons so many fishermen have left the water today.

Kimberly L. Smith

Kimberly L. Smith

More than that, perhaps, I discovered webs of decades-old social history associated with the boats. Workboats are critical in maintaining a community’s memories, even its very sense of identity.

Contents of The Workboats of Core Sound: six essays, three portfolios of duotone black and white photographs, and excerpts from interviews.

With more than 100 photos and the voices of the Core Sound people, The Workboats of Core Sound brings to life the world of a threatened fishing culture.


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