Thursday, June 17, 2010


Lobstermen are an individualistic lot. They are independent, self sufficient and sometimes cantankerous. They often feel put upon by government and underappreciated by those ignorant of the amount of work necessary to achieve a season’s catch.

They are also nature lovers, conservationists by instinct and have a work ethic to match any original settler. There isn’t much whimsy in their work. Playfulness can lead to an error and an error can lead to an accident. That same accident can end a season and the livelihood of a fisherman.

There is one exception Lobster buoys. Each color set, each color placement, stripe, polka dot or color block is unique to each fisherman. The buoys are practical, colorful, whimsical and an indication of territory. Local lobstermen know the buoys of other lobstermen in their area and with rate exception respect the fishing territory they mark.

A primary pre-season task is to replace lost buoys from the previous year. Each buoy must be painted with its unique design before it can be used. Think about the labor involved in painting up to a hundred buoys per season with a usual minimum of three colors. Even if you like to paint it is tedious work. Yet the lobstermen take pride in their buoys as the brand of their work. It as iconic to a fisherman as a polo pony is to Ralph Lauren.

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