Page 15: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (May 1991)

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ferent boat types ... tugs, oil supply vessels, cruise boats, yachts, crew boats, ferries, and at the same time, trawlers.

It took Bayou La Batre until 1977 to gain recognition as the "Detroit" of the shrimp trawler industry. In 1978, however, a still ongoing change took place when Steiner Shipyard was awarded a contract for self-ele- vating work platforms (jack-up boats) for the oil industry. Until then, the only shipyard engaged in building anything in quantity other than shrimp boats was Off Shore

Trawlers, Inc., owned and operated by John E. Graham and sons, who were building oil supply boats.

The launch by Steiner of the first jack-up boat in 1979 heralded the diversification of the Bayou's ship- yard industry. Since that time

Bayou yards have turned out a wide variety of different type and pur- pose marine vessels and floating equipment. Among them, alumi- num tour boats and oyster boats, special purpose fire control vessels, tug and workboats, to name just a few.

Until 1979, the average shipyard worker in the Bayou had worked almost exclusively on shrimp boats.

With diversification and the subse- quent upgrading of shipyard equip- ment, he was suddenly faced with the challenge of learning new skills in order to remain competitive in the job market. Evidence that he was able to manage this transition can be seen in a $7.9 million, 143- foot luxury yacht, the Sea Falcon, built by Angus Yachts, Inc. She was the center of attention at the 1990

Miami Boat Show. Nothing quite like her had ever been attempted by a Bayou shipyard, yet the workers responsible for its construction were all shrimp boat builders, most of whom had never worked on any- thing else. The shipyard is now engaged in completely restoring the 110-foot steel yacht Fead built in

Holland in 1963.

Construction of the Sea Falcon was quite a feat as this, Angus

Yachts' first boat, is one designed to compete with all other world-class yachts and is a dramatic demon- stration of all local boatbuilding

About the Authors: A sixth generation descen- dant of a founder of Bayou La Batre, Vincent

Bosarge worked for Steiner Shipyard, Inc., as vice president for more than 12 years. Prior to his work at Steiner, Mr. Bosarge served as the assistant vice president with the First National

Bank of Mobile, where he worked for 21 years. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Busi- ness Education from Troy University, Troy, Ala., and studied Mandarin Chinese at Army Language

School, Monterey, Calif., and Army Forces Far

Eastern School of Languages in Osaka, Japan. He served with Military Intelligence at the Eighth U.S.

Army Headquarters and I Corps Headquarters In


Employed at Steiner Shipyard from 1976 to 1988, Harold R. Larimer is a freelance writer who spent most of his adult life in the military. He served two years with the U.S. Navy and 25 years in the U.S. Army, where he saw action in World War

II and the Korean and Vietnam Wars. While attending Lake Sumter Community College, Mr.

Larimer received awards for his poetry and fiction. skills: carpentry, design, metal work, interior finish and the myriad other abilities needed for the construction of such a vessel.

With diversification, the reputa- tion of Bayou boatbuilders is pene- trating every type of vessel construc- tion, and proof that it is moving along smoothly can be found at

Steiner Shipyard, where there is under construction a custom deluxe flagship, Chicago's First Lady. She is being built for Mercury Yacht

Charters, Inc., who were pioneers of

Chicago's sightseeing boat indus- try. The vessel will operate from a dock located in the downtown area of Chicago.

She is a 96-foot, 150-ton vessel designed by Florida marine archi- tect William Preston and styled after the 1920s cruising yachts such as the Presidential yacht Sequoia.

She will be able to accommodate groups ranging from 50 to 250 pas- sengers.

Bob Agra, executive vice presi- dent of Mercury Yacht Charters, when asked what factors influenced his decision to have the vessel built in Bayou La Batre, said, "My deci- (continued)

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Maritime Reporter

First published in 1881 Maritime Reporter is the world's largest audited circulation publication serving the global maritime industry.