Dory Boats and Dorymen
The Story of the Pacific City Dory
For more than a century, boats have gone to sea from this sandy beach and shelter of Cape Kiwanda. There is no other harbor, port, or fishing fleet anywhere in the world exactly like this. It is truly unique how we evolved.
The dory's origins came from the turn of the 20th century surf dories and Nestucca River gill net boats that sold their fish to the salmon cannery established in 1887 near the mouth of the river.
After 1927 commercial fishing was only allowed in the open ocean. Since the Nestucca had a shallow dangerous bar accessible only at flood tide, a new larger surf boat was need to be launched in the lee of Cape Kiwanda.
This larger dory was called a "double ender" because it was pointed at both ends. It had two sets of oars, able to be rowed through the Pacific surf and out to sea. Later double enders had a motor well near the stern. There, small outboard motors were installed after negotiating the surf, for fishing during the day and then removed when rowing back to the beach.
Once outboard motors because powerful enough and more reliable, the modern "square stern" dory was born. The modern Pacific City dory is open hulled and flat bottomed and is pushed or rowed into the Pacific surf until deep enough do drop the outdrive or outboard motor and then powered through the surf into the open ocean. Even with modern motors, many dorymen still row through the surf just as their fathers and grandfathers did before using their motors.
When ocean conditions allow, Pacific City dories fish the waters off of Cape Kiwanda, launching from and sliding back up on the beach in the lee of the Cape. Many dorymen trailers these rugged marine plywood and fiberglass dories to Oregon ports from Brookings to Astoria fishing for Chinook and Coho salmon, Dungeness crab, Albacore tuna and various rock fish.
The dory fleet is renowned for its incredible safety record. Dorymen are often the first responders to distress calls and other marine emergencies. In 100+ years only 6 know dorymen have lost their lives at sea, making the Pacific City dory and the men and women who sail them some of the safest mariners in the marine environment. The success of the Pacific City dory belongs to the stalwart and visionary dorymen and women who recognized how versatile it could become.
In 1996, a Dorymen/s Association was founded. It's a non-profit organization with the primary mission to preserve and protect the historic traditions given to us by the pioneers of our fleet. The Association supports Oregon's public beach laws and regulations and work with local, state, and federal agencies.
The Pacific City Dorymen's Association welcomes you to the home of the Dory Fleet. To all who come this way, may you find enjoyment here.
The 'wall' in the picture above is a tribute to the past and current dorymen and dorywomen of Pacific City, Oregon. The wall also displays the story of the Pacific City Dory.
What are dory boats?
Flat bottom boats designed and built in Oregon that takes off straight into the waves from the beach off Cape Kawanda. They are mostly used for fishing but you can also find locals that will take visitors out to get a close look at Kiwanda Rock. Watch out when you hear their big horns off shore, because that means they are racing back to the beach and you do not want to be in their path.
Dory Boat Launch
See a Dory boat launch into the Pacific Ocean from the beach in Pacific City.
Blessing of the Dory Fleet
Pacific City has an annual Blessing of the Dory fleet. Go here for information and pictures.
Dory Days Parade
Pacific City also has Dory Days Parade every year. Learn more here.
Historical Dory photos
Here you will find historical Dory photos from Pacific City
The Dory Fleet of Pacific City With its smooth, sandy beach, the quiet coastal town of Pacific City, on the coast of Oregon's Tillamook County, is the perfect home for a unique group of boats. The Pacific City dory fleet has a proud history spanning more than 100 years. Nestled in the natural shelter provided by Cape Kiwanda, the fleet lives on today as one of the most interesting fishing fleets in the world. The small flat-bottomed boats dare the ocean as they crash through the surf headed for the plentiful waters of the Pacific. At day's end, they ride the waves back to shore and slide onto the beach. The original design of the dory allows it to launch from and land on the shore. Through the inherent dangers of ocean fishing, governmental restriction, international fishing competition, and, most recently, the influx of surfers and civilization, the dedicated fishermen have held on to tradition.