Building Fishing Boats on the Bayou

Monday, November 12, 2001
When one conjures images of a prosperous and healthy marine niche today, it is guaranteed that the fishing boat market is the first, second, or third to come to mind. Plainly put, there are not a lot of fishing boats being built today. A few are built each year, mainly as replacements, in the major fishing areas of New England and the Northwest. The same is basically true in the Gulf south, except for a small dot on the map named Bayou La Batre, Ala. In this bayou town about 20 miles southwest of Mobile, Ala., several shipyards are active building in total as many as 50-60 shrimp trawlers at any one time.

The yards building these boats, while well known in the south, are not the nationally known workboat "biggies" in the industry such as Bender, Conrad, Gladding Hearn, Nichols Brothers, Halter, Bollinger, Atlantic Marine or LEEVAC. Yards such as B&B Boat Builders, Jemison Marine, Master Boat Builders, Ocean Marine, Rodriguez Boat Builders and others are constantly building trawlers in Bayou La Batre for a variety of owners. Other shipyards and a few of those mentioned above are also building offshore oil and gas vessels making Bayou La Batre one very busy boat building center. More work boats (fishing and oil field) come out of Bayou La Batre than any other spot in the U.S.

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