Buoys, quintessentially Maine. They dot the Maine landscape on houses, fences, and lobster traps. They are decorative and yet utilitarian. We take them for granted. they are seen, but seldom heard from.....they are just there. These are the buoys of Summer.
Buoys are flotation devices that lobstermen use to identify location of lobster traps.
According to Maine State Law, Title 12, Section 6434, It is unlawful for anyone except the licensed owner, or a Marine Patrol Officer to raise, lift, transfer, possess, or in any manner molest any lobster trap, warp, buoy, or lobster car. This includes all gear that has washed ashore and is seemingly abandoned.
Early lobster buoys were made from empty glass bottles. However, it became hard to tell which buoys belonged to which lobsterman. The bottle/glass buoys were not sturdy for the rough north Atlantic waters. During the 1800's lobstermen would carve buoys out of wood logs and painted them to identify the lobster traps. This evolved into a New England folk art which is still popular today.
Buoys are so popular and beloved in Maine, that people play a game of buoy baseball on Ogunquit beach. Buoy bats are made from authentic lobster buoys and hardwood handles. These products are produced in the neighboring town of South Berwick, and sold locally and on-line. http://www.buoysports.com/. No two Buoy Bats are alike because lobster buoys are made for fishing. There are blemishes and unique markings on these foam buoys, which truly makes this a unique sport product!