New England Lobster Buoys

Here are some commonly asked questions about buoys and lobstering in general

What type of paint is used?

Most of the non-fluorescent paint is either a marine enamel or liquid PVC (plastic).

The fluorescent colors are a marine alkyd enamel, and sometimes coated with a UV protectant.

Can I hang these outdoors?

I sure hope so! They're made to last several years in the ocean, so hanging outdoors is no issue. I have many that date back to the mid-seventies that are still hanging on my barn.

Can people still use wooden buoys?

No, it is illegal to fish with wooden buoys. One of the big problems with them is that they sit very low in the water, making them difficult to see (and cause a lot of damage to boats when hit).

What is a toggle?

The tides in Maine range from eight to twelve feet, which means at low tide, there can be a lot of rope on the bottom, just waiting to get stuck between rocks. A toggle is a small float that is tied about 5 fathoms up from the trap, which is designed to keep the rope clear of rocks during low tide.

Do people lobster year round?

Some do, while others decide not to brave the elements in the winter. For people who lobster the entire year, the traps must be pulled out and dried for one month during the year.

What is the difference between a soft shell lobster and a hard shell lobster?

When lobsters grow, they shed their shell to make room for a bigger one. The new shell takes time to harden, and before it does is incredibly soft and brittle. So much that many boats have a separate holding take for these lobsters as they would otherwise be crushed. During molting season, the lobsters come close to shore.

So close, in fact, that at low tide, you sometimes see the lobster traps right out of the water! If you look carefully at the photo to the right, you can see the trap. This was taken at mid-tide, so the water still is several feet deep.