Shipyard fire spares yacht builder

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The Midcoast Maine town of East Boothbay is recovering from the July 11 fire that destroyed the Washburn & Doughty shipyard and threatened Hodgdon Yachts next door. The first truckload of debris was removed on July 22 and debris removal was completed within a week. The yard said that some of the laid-off workers have been recalled and are already laying keels for two new hulls outside while a new building is being constructed. In spite of the fire, the venerable shipyard was able to deliver the articulated tug barge (ATB) Linda Moran (completed just before the fire) with only minor delays.

Maine Governor John Baldacci and U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe have pledged their support to get the business up and running again as soon as possible. The surrounding community has also come together to provide assistance to employees and their families.

Fortunately, neighboring Hodgdon Yachts was unaffected by the blaze. Hodgdon’s custom yacht representative Ted Smith said that when the fire broke out Hodgdon evacuated its employees. None of the company’s buildings or docks were damaged. Given the proximity of the two yards, Hodgdon Yachts was lucky no burning materials found its way to the yacht builder’s buildings. Smith said that his company has hired some of the laid-off Washburn & Doughty workers and is also building tug components in its own metal fabrication shop. Hodgdon has built and is continuing to build wheelhouse structures for Washburn & Doughty tugs.

By Ocean Navigator