Things have slowed down in area boatshops, but that’s a good and normal thing. Business seems to be settling down to a comfortable pace. People who bought their boats during the pandemic seem to be keeping them. That said, brokers do report better inventory levels on used boats and delivery times on new boats are gradually becoming more realistic. Supply issues are still around but are isolated and not the major problem that they once were. Workforce issues are still very much on everyone’s mind, so we’ll start this year’s first report with a great success story in that area.
Regular readers of this column will know that a top priority concern of ours has long been the manpower shortage in the marine field. Emily Decker, the Marine Trades Association of Maryland’s (MTAM) workforce development coordinator sends us this reprint of a recent article from the Cecil Whig, a Northern Bay newspaper.
“Cecil College celebrated the grand opening of its Marine Service Technician program on October 30 with a ribbon cutting ceremony of the program’s new state of the art shop at Safe Harbor Bohemia Vista Marina. ‘This is more than an educational initiative; this is a commitment to our students, our community, and the marine service industry,’ said Cecil College’s dean of career and community education, Miles Dean. Dean noted that the idea for the Marine Service Technician program began in 2018, when college officials spoke with MTAM who indicated a void between the demand for service and the number of tech personnel in the marine industry.
After both international and local needs for marine technicians were identified, the college put forth a plan to implement a Marine Service Technician program. Safe Harbor Marinas pledged to build a facility at Bohemia Vista for the program.
Along with a $100,000 grant from Upper Shore Regional Council, local businesses like Outstanding Marine, Turner Marine, Argentino Marine Sales, and Chessie Marine all donated valuable engines and parts to the program to allow students to get hands-on experience.
Now, the ‘classroom’ sits in the middle of a marine service shop outfitted with dozens of different engines, lighting fixtures, manifolds, and tools where students are taught how to do everything from tie knots for docking, to buffing, waxing, and how to completely take apart and rebuild engines. ‘The boats and tools we have here are things I wouldn’t have had access to on my own, so it is nice to learn how to use the different stuff and progress my skills,’ said Chad Thomas, a current student in the program. The program curriculum follows that of the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC), a nonprofit that sets the standards for safe maintenance and construction of all boats in the United States. Upon completion of the program, members of the class will receive a certificate from Cecil College as well as a certificate from ABYC acknowledging completion of the course.”
Congratulations to all concerned and a big thanks to MTAM for getting the ball rolling on this important project (we also reported on this program in the October issue of PropTalk when it was first announced—read more at proptalk.com).
We are happy to report that an important piece of nautical history, the Sequoia, has returned to our waters. Martin Hardy, chairman of the board of Richardson Maritime Center in Cambridge, MD, explains the role of the center in this latest effort to restore Sequoia, the 93-year-old former presidential yacht. “Really, all the Maritime Center is doing at this time is to provide space. It’s possible that we’ll get involved while the work is ongoing, but that will have to be worked out with the owner, Michael Cantor. He (Cantor) plans to form a company to contract for restoration and renovation of the 1925 103-foot Mathias Trumpy yacht. We hope to be able to develop some educational activities during that estimated five-year restoration process. We want to continue to provide space for the project, a building or something. We are trying to get some funds together for that, but it’s a little unclear where all this will end up, but it’s mostly going to be a land space rental operation for us.”
Martin explained the short notice timing of the boat’s relocation. “She had been in Belfast, ME, since 2019, awaiting restoration and had to be moved. The five-day tow on a barge had to be scheduled after hurricane season and before the winter northeasters set in. So here she is.” As an aside Martin explained that Sequoia has a historical connection with the City of Cambridge. “There is some local history with that boat. FDR arrived here on her twice; once to dedicate the opening of the old swing bridge over the river (Sequoia was the first vessel to pass through the then-new bridge), and again to dedicate the long wharf in Cambridge.”
We will continue to follow the story of Sequoia’s restoration and bring our readers regular updates.
It has been a while since we checked in with backyard boat builder extraordinaire Richard Hawse and his 46-foot sportfish My Way in Pasadena, MD. He reports that he has finished the bridge, the cockpit is mostly in fairing compound, and the electric steering system has been ordered and should arrive by the end of the week. He has sent the rudder shafts to the machine shop to have the keyways cut out and is in the process of waterproofing the aft deck. Then he has a tremendous amount of paint work to do. All of this activity is in step with his plan. “I plan to finish up making the back of the boat watertight and then I’ll move into the engine room in January, right on time,” he explained. “There is still a lot to do in the engine room before I install the engines in late January or early spring. All on schedule and according to plan.”
Richard is also the proprietor of Maryland Marine Electronics and has been providing sales, installation, and repairs on all brands and types of electronics for 25 years. He reports a busy winter ahead for a small shop. “We have another Omni system we are about to put on a 46 Viking. A 23 Correct Craft needs a rewiring of the center console, and a 30-foot catamaran coming up from South Carolina needs to be rewired. We are going down to North Carolina next week to put an FY fifty in a Blue Liner for Island Boat Works. Orders keep coming in all jumbled together this time of year, but we’ll get it sorted out and have everything done by May,” he said and laughed.
Joe Reid of Mast and Mallet in Edgewater, MD, sends us this update on his plans for a busy winter in his shop. “In the shop this winter is a boat built by Mast and Mallet in 2009. I will be replacing a starboard engine stringer and various spots of soft wood. Fresh paint and maintenance will have her ready for spring. I also have a 22-foot version of this crab boat nearing completion that is built with an outboard well. It’s looking for an owner. Also in the shop is a 1962 Chris-Craft. I’m building new seats, an engine box, and refinishing the deck stripes and varnish all over. We’re also building a new teak swim platform for a 46-foot Jones constructed pleasure boat.”
Andy Dize sends us the following report. “Roudebush Yacht and Engine Works, in Dundalk, MD, recently completed the fiberglass transom repair and reinstallation of the outboard motor bracket of a 20-foot Proline. As reported last month, he says, “We are continuing with another transom replacement project for a Grady White 25. Our winter work is looking to include the fabrication of a hard salon enclosure of a Sabre 34 Express motor yacht. The project consists of the installation of new windows, a new access door, and the construction of enclosure bulkheads. In addition to our boat repair projects, we are also upgrading our marina facilities with floating docks to accommodate 60 boats as well as performing annual maintenance on our travelift and other yard heavy equipment. Roudebush Yacht and Engine Works is a full-service yacht repair facility, supplying new construction, fiberglass repair, and painting, mechanical, electrical, and electronics installation and repair. Reach out to Andy Dize to discuss your future project or repair needs.”
Boatshop Reports wishes all our contributors and readers a happy and prosperous New Year. Be careful and safe on the water, and we will see you next month.
By Capt. Rick Franke