Lobster Pot Bouys?

What do you do when you find loose floating lobster Pot Bouys. I found one a floater in Wellfleet on Cape Cod and gave it to the harbor master, who thanked me. Yesterday, off the west side of Mount Desert Island, I counted no less than 30 on the islands between Bartlett landing and Seal Cove. One island looked like a trash heap.

Leave them alone
Technically it is a crime to move them. It is a courtesy to notify the nearest Harbor Master.

Its common for them to be washed up on shore. Maine Island Trail Association monitors some islands, collects debris and puts in a central collection point.

Its looks like crud I agree but its not new. You may notice black spruce adorned with lobster pot buoys. A poor mans Christmas tree.

If they’re in good condition…
I bring them home and sometimes paint them and hang them around the dock or give them away.

Hang em from a tree at your house.
Further from the ocean your house the more points you get. When I get my oceanside cottage I’m going to decorate it with a fence made of old downhill skis. When I get my mountain house, lobster buoys for decoration. lolz. Usually I leave stray lobster bouys but on occasion I will take a nice one home. Only picked them from the beach never a floater.

In the florida Keys, they are washed up
on every off shore Key.

They sell them in all the gift shops.

Each year I hang a string of five of them off the front of our travel trailer, and then in the spring just before heading north, I give them to some small kid.

The numbers on them are given out when the owner gets his commercial license, and the lower the number is the older the license is.

The numbers stay in one family for years and years, and are passed down from one generation to the next.

I have friends that collect old ones and are always on the look out for any with less than three digits.

Like Kim says above: it is illegal to take them, but taking them is like going 2 MPH over the speed limit, and it is not enforced.

Are the ones up north still the old wooden ones, or are they the foam balls like down south?

jack L

The Keyzee Look…
…or sort of leaning toward toward the fishcamp look when they decorate your property.

This sort of angst the snowbirds from those well manicured community associations in the N.E.

I occasionally do cleanups with
the Maine Island Trail Association and we take buoys ( and sometimes pots!) to a central location where fishermen can reclaim them

For a while styrofoam was used. The lifetime of those was not long and bits and pieces were on the islands… No use to anyone

And the plastic pollution from styrofoam beads was a problem

Now PVC is used. They cost about $13 each… Not sure if losing one is a big deal to a fisherman… worth the hunt…

But PVC or styrofoam decor accessory? Bleah.

HOA’s are pretty uncommon around the NE

We in Maine specialize in yard art… you know… discarded whatevers… old cars old stuff You never know when you will need a whatszit.

Yard art includes stacks of lobster traps.The fishermen dont leave equipment floats out all winter.

Keep Them
As a souvenir. I have three in my shed.


– Last Updated: Aug-19-16 11:27 AM EST –

The biggest complaints come from Long Island..
Sorry to condemn all of the N.E. because of L.I.

I guess they don't see float art in the Hamptons...

Please leave them be.
I understand it’s tempting to “clean-up” the shoreline, and I absolutely encourage folks to take all the trash you can with you to keep the islands natural. But please don’t violate the federal rule about molesting fishing gear. Kayakers taking lobster buoys as souvenirs really hurts our relationship with fishermen. Those buoys belong to someone, and when they see you paddle into the harbor with their stuff on the deck of your kayak, they could justfiably get upset.

If you want to help clean up fishing gear, there are many events organized by MITA, MCHT, IHT, and other conservation groups around the state.

Thanks, Nate

Yes and no !
that might be good for the wide open beaches up north, but in the Florida Keys, there is no way the crab fisherman can get to the them when they are up in the mangroves and if small boaters didn’t bring them back, there would be thousands of them littering the various off shore keys.

There are various times through out the year where some of the responsible outfitters will organize shore line cleanups and along with all the other flotsam they are picked up and end up in a dump.

If you walked through the various RV parks or residences in the Keys, and see them hanging up for decorations, you might want to qualify your statement.

Jack L

The subject was lobster buoys
and Nate is correct. You can have your own opinion but what he wrote is not opinion; its law.

We too do organized cleanups.

I keep mine…
In an undisclosed location…

I don’t know how things go in Florida. My request was just for Maine, and specifically for eastern Maine. If some kayakers do things that understandably annoy fishermen (crossing channels in a long disorganized line, paddling randomly across open water instead of hopping island to island, getting in trouble in conditions that they are grossly unprepared for, or coming back to the put-in with colorful lobster buoys on deck) that negatively impacts how lobstermen view ALL kayakers. They see us all as one group, and it makes our lives harder up here if kayakers annoy the lobstermen.

Another thing not to do…
Show up assuming it is no big deal to launch kayaks from a working dock. It is a problem, and often a very large one for the fishermen. All waterfront towns in Maine have a prescribed public launch somewhere, the ones without stacks of lobster pots on them.

I have encountered two people from more southern states who tried and were put out when the fishermen said no. Happily I found it easy not to paddle with them after I heard that.

I’d add go to peek up close
when they are working… The pots are on long strings of multiple pots… a set. The fishermen are on their time not yours so don’t get in the way

Commercial (working) boats always have the right of way over kayakers.

Just got to the pound and buy a lobster like everyone else.

My husband should have known better. Snooping in Friendship Harbor he was close to an equipment float where a lobster boat had pulled up. It was a calm day and hubby had no spray skirt… Lobster boat backed and did a nice 90 degree turn and filled my husbands cockpit with Atlantic…Touche!

Friendship is tight
Especially the eastern mouth of the harbor.

That is my home area in Maine. By now I get more friendly waves than glares, though heaven help I ever show up with a boat that is not red or orange decked. No one would recognize me.

But even trying my best, I have hit crowded times where I have to be closer to the line than I would prefer. Happened off of Black just west of the channel this year. Two boats were puling pots and I was sitting well off them, until three more came thru the channel heading right where I was sitting to avoid the first two. I couldn’t go sit in the channel and until they started pulling pots I couldn’t tell the best path to get thru them. Bright sunny day and so forget being able to read the pots on the boats at the sighting distance.

I reluctantly ended up more like 70 feet from the nearest boat at one point rather than the 200 ft I prefer. None of them had to alter course for me so it was OK. But in really dense lobster pot areas like Muscongus it takes more attention to be courteous.

Lobster boat.
Well, we are drifting (see what I did there) but I had an interesting experience with a lobster boat and fog today.

After being distracted by the seals, I had to do a dash sprint from Bunker Ledge to the cliffs around Seal Harbor because I saw fog forming 3 miles to the east.

When I started, the channel was clear. But sure enough a lobster boat with black exhaust pops up in the east.

I am doing my best to avoid a this lobster boat, but every time I feel satisfied it’s on my Stern it changes course and puts itself to my bow.

So I just stop in the “Eastern way” (channel) . (I was crossing the channel perpendicularly)

Turns out both of us were headed to the red bell at Seal Harbor.

I often go out just to pick up trash, I figure it is the time to give back to the natural world for giving me so much. Sometimes I even tow my second boat when going out just to handle big stuff. Contact the Harbor Master before hand so they know you are going to be brining in so much. ALSO, you can contact the county of the place you are going to pick up trash in, and let them know, ask them if they can pick up the pile you bring in. Our county happily picks up the piles we leave, relieving us from the dump fees and them from the cost of paying a crew to clean up