Banks Dory

Drawing of a dory boat

Banks Dory

The Banks dory is a narrow bottomed slab sided dory used for fishing since the sixteenth century. It has been used from Alaska to Maine, but it was fishing off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland that gave this dory its name. Fishermen discovered that fishing for cod was more successful from the smaller, inexpensive Banks dories, so mother ships began stacking them four or five high on their decks for use. As much as 1,500 pounds of cod can be held in a single Banks dory. Banks dories were so popular that one can be seen in the Winslow Homer painting The Fog Warning.

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Fisherman occasionally became separated from the mother ship, but the Banks dories were capable of long voyages. Howard Blackburn survived 5 days in the North Atlantic in the middle of winter in a Banks dory. Banks dories are so durable, that they were often used by the United States Life Saving Service, designed to save shipwrecked mariners and passengers.

A Banks dory make an excellent rowboat, so many recreational boaters have come to love it for its functional yet simplistic design. It can easily hold one or two people and can be built quickly, even by the most novice of boat builders.

Dory Photo