Mailboat Harbor replaced Steamboat Harbor in the 1930's as the age of steamboats came to a close. The harbor was first dredged in 1922, from the Eastern side. In 1967, the harbor was dredged through to the Western side of the island. This was a controversial undertaking. While it would save watermen up to an hour of valuable time in getting home, many argued it would increase erosion of the western side of the island, a prediction that was correct.
In 1989, a stone breakwater costing $3,500,000and requiring a 400% tax increase was built, but has proved insufficient. In 1996, the US Congress approved a second jetty, but this project has never been funded.
In 1915 Tangier licensed 91 oyster tongers, 62 dredgers, 3 patent tongers, 75 crab netters, 40 crab scrapers, 13 fishermen and 43 pound fishermen, working 152 pound nets.
In 1947 the Tangier oyster fleet was comprised of 34 boats with an average daily harvest of 25 bushels/boat; crabbers caught 6,500 barrels of crabs and 15,000 dozen soft shell crabs.
Soft shell crabs must be checked every two hours around the clock. In the past, soft shell crabs were raised in floating pens. Today, modern crab shacks fill the harbor, but remain susceptible to high winds and hurricanes.
In 2007 only 35 boats remained active in the crab fleet; 20 boats comprised the oyster fleet.