Statement of Significance (as of designation - July 31, 2003):
The Rebecca T. Ruark is the oldest vessel in the skipjack oyster dredging fleet, the last commercial fishing sailing fleet in North America. Of the estimated 2,000 skipjacks built on Chesapeake Bay before World War II, only about 16 survive. The Ruark is the only vessel in the oyster fleet with a sloop hull, and is known as one of the best sailing skipjacks in the fleet. After sinking during a gale in 1999, she was subsequently raised and restored to operation.