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December 29, 2016

Long-time MDI boatbuilder going strong

Boatbuilding across the state is seeing higher customer demand, with many boatbuilders developing new products and innovations.

One such builder is the John Williams Boat Co. in Hall Quarry, on Mount Desert Island, the Mount Desert Islander reported.

Tops among the projects at John Williams Boat is the refinish of "Jolly Boat," a 1890s wooden sailboat owned by a local family. A 30-year-old Stanley 36, the company's flagship model, is undergoing a tuneup. Other, smaller refit projects are underway, as is the usual maintenance performed on the 120 to 130 boats stored every year. The company has 20 employees.

"We've always got something going on," project manager Bill Wright told the paper.

The activity comes in the midst of an industry-wide explosion of demand for workers.

"There's also a geographic component to boatyards, because they're usually on the coast," Maine Department of Labor communications director Julie Rabinowitz told Mainebiz last February. "And there's a lot of competition for workers on the coast because seasonal work gives people more choices."

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