People who buy high end recreational boats are more insulated from the effects of rising fuel prices and other expenses and orders are still strong.
But it’s a different story for those who build fishing boats.
":Three years ago, I turned away more work than I took on and that was the norm for a long time, decades. There was more work than people could do but now it’s just dried up.":
STONINGTON BOAT BUILDER PETER BUXTON SAYS RISING EXPENSES AND NEW FISHING REGULATIONS HAVE TAKEN THEIR TOLL ON MORE THAN JUST FISHERMEN. HE SAYS IT’S DECREASED THE DEMAND FOR WORKING BOATS.
":I started out doing lobster boats and then a few lobster yachts for out of state customers, but lobster boats were the mainstay of the business.":
":This year as you can see I’ve got just two sail boats. One fiberglass and one wood.":
THE CHANGE HAS FORCED A NUMBER OF COMPANIES TO CLOSE THEIR DOORS. BUXTON SAYS HE’S HAD TO DIVERSIFY.
":I do wood, sail, fiberglass, power, so that’s kept me going. I also do charters in the summer.":
BUILDERS MAKING FISHING BOATS SAY THEY’LL NEED TO ADAPT TO CHANGES.
":The fuel thing is huge so we might all be looking at more sail boats, maybe more fuel efficient boats. Ones that go through the water a little easier and don’t go as fast.":
BOAT BUILDERS SAY FLUCTUATIONS IN DEMAND AREN’T NEW.
":This isn’t a flat industry. It’s not like you can figure out where your sales need to be and you keep that. It’s very cyclical and you have down years and great years and you need to try to figure out something that will even it out.":
":If they do good lobster boats and they do good work, they might have to do some repair work for a year or two but they will probably be okay.":
BOAT BUILDERS SAY ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES IS RISING PROPERTY TAXES THAT HAVE FORCED SOME TO LEAVE THE WATERFRONT. ANOTHER IS A LACK OF SKILLED WORKERS.
":I feel like we perpetually have help wanted ads out there cause I don’t think there are a whole lot of people coming into the industry.":
":A lot of industrial arts programs have been systematically dismantled.":
":The trades, the training for it, yeah it’s disappeared but it’s coming back. It’s coming back quite strongly in Maine.":
COMPANIES OF EVERY SIZE ARE TRYING TO CHANGE WITH THE TIMES. THEY REMAIN OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE FUTURE.
":It’s shrinking in the number of companies but I think it’s always going to be a very viable business because quite frankly boats built in Maine are some of the best boats in the world and Maine is known for boat building and quality boat building.":
LEARNING TO ADAPT SEEMS TO BE THE KEY TO SUCCESS .
THE GUYS AT MORRIS YACHT TOLD WABI TV5 YOU HAVE TO BE CAREFUL NOT TO GET TOO COMFORTABLE WITH YOUR SUCCESS BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN THE NEXT CHANGE IS COMING.