NOT TOO LONG AGO, IT WASN’T UNCOMMON TO SEE BOATS BEING BUILT IN BACKYARDS OF JUST ABOUT EVERY COASTAL COMMUNITY… WHILE THERE ARE SOME SUCCESS STORIES, THAT’S SLOWLY BECOMING A THING OF THE PAST
":I like to work with my hands.":
TOM MORRIS STARTED BUILDING BOATS 36 YEARS AGO.
":I had a shop out behind the house and I hired one person to help me finish the first two.":
MORRIS YACHTS GREW FROM THAT SMALL BACK YARD OPERATION TO A COMPANY KNOWN AROUND THE WORLD. TODAY, IT EMPLOYS MORE THAN 130 PEOPLE. TOM’S SON CUYLER IS THE SECOND GENERATION.
":I’m a good boat builder. Cuyler is a much better business man and manager.":
":I put on my own pressure to make sure that the company continued to charge forth.":
":The family business has plusses and minuses. I would say mostly plusses.":
INGRID WILBUR KACHMAR KNOWS ALL ABOUT THAT. HER PARENTS FOUNDED WILBUR YACHTS 35 YEARS AGO. INGRID AND HER BROTHER GREW UP IN THE INDUSTRY.
":As soon as we could help out we were here scraping bottom paint and sorting screws. We were definitely entrenched in the family business.":
INGRID AND HER HUSBAND JOHN HAVE TAKEN OVER THE COMPANY.
":We want to continue what was started here and we want to add to it and build upon it. We’ve had the yard for almost seven years now and I think we’ve made some really good changes. We’re kind of taking it into the next century if you will with changes in technology and the way we do things.":
MANY SMALL BUILDERS HAVE DISAPPEARED OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS.
":It’s definitely a global market now and you really have to figure out where your customer is. It’s no longer just a local pool of people who are your customers.":
":There are people around the world who appreciate American craftsmanship and you know with the advent of the internet and more jet travel the world is getting smaller.":
BOAT BUILDERS SAY IT’S NOT JUST THE MARKETING THAT’S CHANGED.
":I think the pressure is on even more today. You can not be flogging the same old. There has to be something unique and different about offerings today.":
":It’s a new generation and a new way of doing things from computer software to just new techniques we are using.":
THERE IS ANOTHER MORE SUBTLE CHANGE. MORE WOMEN ARE ENTERING THIS MALE DOMINATED INDUSTRY.
":There have always been a few that worked here at the yard. You know I think they were hard workers. They were good at what they did and they were respected by the guys.":
":Women are very conscious and if they have a good work ethic they put out a really good product so we would love to have more women coming into this industry. I think they’d be a benefit to everybody.":
THOSE WHO BUILD RECREATIONAL BOATS SEEM TO BE LESS AFFECTED BY THE HIGH COST OF FUEL AND OTHER EXPENSES.
IT’S A VERY DIFFERENT STORY FOR THOSE WHO BUILD FISHING BOATS.
TOMORROW NIGHT, WE’LL TAKE A LOOK AT THAT SIDE OF THE INDUSTRY, SOME CHALLENGES FACING ALL BOAT BUILDERS AND WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS.