Menemsha teemed with visitors Thursday evening, lured to the Dutcher Dock by the third annual Meet the Fleet hosted by the Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Preservation Trust. The event showcases the Vineyard’s longstanding commercial fishing community.

Net mending competition was also demonstration of key skill for fishermen at sea. — Ray Ewing

Working boats were tied up to the dock and open for visitors to explore, including the Little Lady, Kingfisher and Freedom.

No Regrets, owned by the late Luke Gurney who died in an accident at sea last year, was also there, now captained by John Black.

“That’s huge that it’s back,” said preservation trust president John Keene.

Crowds climbed aboard the 1947 classic dragger Roann, once a familiar member of the Vineyard fishing fleet and now berthed at Mystic, Conn.

A new addition was the 63-foot stern trawler Tradition, captained by Aaron Williams out of Point Judith, R.I. Mr. Williams’s father Tom was the last owner of the Roann before her move to Mystic.

“We used to pull in here when I was a kid on the Roann and tie up for the night, to fish west of Gay Head. We do the same with this boat,” he said.

His nephew Andrew Williams, the fourth generation in the family business, works alongside him on Tradition, hauling in squid and groundfish from the depths of the Atlantic. The younger Mr. Williams entertained visitors onboard with tales of ink-filled decks from squid hauls.

“I started fishing when I was 12 years old. I fell in love with it. Just like the name of the boat, it’s a family tradition. I have a great sense of pride being able to do what my family has done forever,” he said.

It was all hands on (Dutcher) dock at third annual Meet the Fleet. — Ray Ewing

Maintaining such legacies is critical to the mission of the Vineyard fishermen’s trust, executive director Shelley Edmundson said. “Family fishermen are where the future is,” she said.

“Offering help to get fishermen to that next step so that they can get their businesses going is what we have to do to keep our generational fishing heritage alive and going.”

Following the lead of the Cape Cod Fishermen’s Trust, the Vineyard trust has been working to building a permit bank for fishermen and wants to set up a revolving loan fund to assist young fishermen with start-up costs.

On Thursday, Wes Brighton’s lobster boat Martha Elizabeth doubled as a stage for the band Good Night Louise. The festive music provided the soundtrack to all kinds of merriment.

Kids attempted to coax mostly uninterested crabs into races along a wooden track with pieces of squid. “I think it’s tired,” one pint-sized onlooker offered by way of explanation. The crabs were eventually swapped out for livelier replacements, though they retained the same names, written in marker in each of the lanes: Shelly, Ted, Allie and Ella.

Fishermen had their own competitions — net mending and sea scallop shucking. Captain Williams won the net mending race. “I had way too much practice. We tore up a few times this spring,” he said.

Trust is working to ensure future fleet through permit bank and revolving loans for young fishermen. — Ray Ewing

Nick Wilbur of the Dixie IV won the sea scallop shucking competition. The fishermen deftly shucked the bivalves in seconds flat. As they threw the shells onto the ground, those gathered to watch inevitably got sprayed.

Scales flew as kids tried their hand at cleaning fish. A crowd gathered to watch Noah Mayrand of Menemsha Fish House carefully filet a 20-pound striped bass. He fielded questions from the audience that touched on every step in the process from the water (“Are they hard to reel in?” “They put up a good fight.”) to the plate.

State Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matt Beaton was also on hand, and he praised the work of the trust.

Two boats owned by state environmental police — a 52-foot offshore patrol boat and 27-foot quick response vessel — were tied up alongside the Coast Guard’s 47-foot motor life boat.

At 7 p.m. the boat sounded its horn and pulled away from Dutcher Dock to cheers from the crowd, making the short trek home to Station Menemsha.

More photos from Meet the Fleet.