Guardians of Community
A few years ago there was a musical written about life on the island of North Haven, Maine. One rollicking song, called “The Joy of Foy,” celebrated the myriad ways that Foy Brown, the operator of the island’s J.O. Brown and Sons yard, keeps the community running. Local boatyards, like Brown’s, are essential to life on our coast. These small operations are often the centers of their community. If it’s broke, someone at the yard can fix it; if it needs to be made, they can make it. Even if it isn’t boat related, the local boatyard is often the “go to” place to get stuff done.
Without any music and dancing, our series of boatyard profiles makes a similar salute to these essential guardians of our coastal communities. In this issue, we visit Atlantic Boat of Brooklin. This yard, long known for its rugged Duffy & Duffy workboats, has stepped up its storage and service work, while also reaching new markets for its new fiberglass boats. Owner Cy Hannon and general manager Al Hutchins have breathed new life into the yard, attracting new tenants, including an upholsterer and, yes, a coffee roaster. The yard is committed to hiring and training a young, upcoming generation of workers, giving them good jobs, doing good work in their community so they don’t have to move away. Previous profiles have featured similar stories of yards, both big and small—Strouts Point Wharf, Dark Harbor Boat, Portland Yacht Services, and the list goes on—that are thriving by finding their niche. (You can find them all on our website, maineboats.com.)
Behind sometimes-quiet facades, boatyards like these along our coast bustle with energy and enthusiasm. It’s evidence of the incredible contribution that the marine community makes to the Maine economy, as well of the “can-do” attitude that makes our state and its people so special.