Wooden Cradles

Equipment we used:

Wooden Cradles:

Donald Thurlow's lobster boat, Scarborough, 1943

The boat rests on a wooden cradle and has been hauled up to the summer parking lot for the winter.

In the off-season, boats were hauled from the water and stored on wooden cradles. Come spring, boats in their cradles were hauled onto the shore, usually by Jack Conroy’s tow truck, and floated out of their cradles at high tide. The cradles were weighted down with sandbags before the tide came in. To release a boat from its cradle men would push from the boat with oars or poles. It was much harder to put a boat into a cradle in the fall. During the summer cradles were anchored on the marsh behind Bayley’s Lobster Pound and, although somewhat waterlogged, sandbags were needed to help sink the cradles when boats were hauled. For many years, there were wooden pilings up river from the pier near the channel where some men used the pilings to hold cradles in place while running boats onto them. Often it took more than one attempt! At low tide, Jack Conroy would use his wrecker to winch the boat and cradle up to the Co-Op gravel parking lot. Because of the weight difference in the fall, Conroy often had to attach an oil truck to the front of his wrecker to keep it from dipping back. There was a tremendous strain on the two steel cables of the wrecker’s winch. Each year, everyone was afraid they would snap! Yet, each boat was brought to the parking lot for the winter. It was common for powerboats to be hauled in their cradles to the fisherman’s house, where he would have easy access to repair and paint his boat the next spring.

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