Fletcher’s has been around for more than 150 years, but its future has been uncertain since the Fletcher brothers sold the concession to the National Park Service a few years back, which in turn let the contract to Guest Services Inc. The cove the boathouse sits on is almost silted in—the result of manmade “improvements” over the years—and the overall condition of its fleet of 14-foot wooden skiffs has likewise suffered. The boats are working Chesapeake Bay skiffs of the sort turned out by legendary builder Johnny Beall, who made more than 10,000 of them over a 40-year career. Generations of Fletcher’s boaters and anglers have loved these sturdy, no-nonsense craft. They’ve got three seats and are stable, maneuverable, unlovely things. There’s nothing fancy about them. Every part—rails, chines, stem, transom, and framing—is made from AA marine-grade fir plywood or yellow pine. But, boy, do they excel at their job.