“I started in the shipyard 50 years ago with pick on the end of a broom stick cleaning up,” recalls Raymond Viguerie, before adding, “Later the old man taught me how to do fitting.”
These days, Raymond is still at his Intracoastal Iron Works yard full time, but his son Peter is doing a lot of the day-to-day management. With three boats under construction in March there was plenty to keep them both busy. The yard has recently added a new 165-ton ladder boom crane and two 35 ton cherry pickers. Business is good.
One of the new boats nearing completion in mid-March was the Boo Sonier for LeBeouf Brothers Towing. This will be the eleventh boat built at Intracoastal for the LeBeouf fleet. At the same time a similar boat with the same 72 by 30-foot hull and superstructure is nearly ready for the engines. The owner, D & S Marine Services, requested a modification to extend the house aft over the steering gear to create a workshop or storage space. All three vessels building at Intracoastal have the same mechanical Tier II compliant Cunnins K38 (M) propulsion engines each delivering 1000 HP.
A third vessel’s hull was taking shape. This towboat would be the first new vessel for the owner R. C. Creppel. “The owner’s son runs their current boat and he happened to pull up alongside of a Lebeouf boat,” Raymond explains, “He checked out that boat and fell in love with it and then came to see me to order one the same.”
Raymond is justly proud of being able to build yet another boat for a large fleet like LeBeouf at the same time as he builds the first new boat for another father-son team. “These are good boats for pushing two 300-foot barges up and down the ‘ditch’”, he says, adding that they can build up to four boats at a time, “but if I had to cut my quality to build more, I’d quit building. I build a 40-year boat. I built the Sr Picou and it has been 33 years on the job.”
A towboat of the class being built at the yard would cost about $2.65 million he explains allowing for some difference depending on modifications. While the 72-footers work out into the Mississippi, there has been some interest in a little more size and Raymond is considering a 78 by 34-foot push boat.